The clock is now ticking within the combat sports realm as two of the world’s best boxers meet in a middleweight battle Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In one of the best matchups the sweet science has seen in some time, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin finally meet in the contest that not only could solidify the face of the sport, but shape boxing’s entire landscape in the coming years.
With the unified middleweight titles on the line, Alvarez and “GGG” bring much more than just gold to this contest. Boasting destructive punching power, fan-friendly styles and unyielding fortitude, both athletes showcase plenty of examples as to why they will have their hand raised.
Let’s scout what each fighter brings to the bout:
Canelo Alvarez (plus-130)
Blessed with the power, size and athleticism few middleweights have possessed, Alvarez (49-1- 1) has become the top draw in the world of the squared circle. Since being thrown to the fire early with his career’s lone loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Alvarez has risen to megastar status. Backed by the sport’s most die-hard fan base, the 27-year-old from Guadalajara has proven he is primed and ready to take the next step in his career by facing Golovkin.
A knockout artist with counterpunching prowess, Alvarez incorporates body shots and left hooks to pummel his opposition in close exchanges inside the pocket. While Alvarez often lets his opponents advance, he aggressively engages them in a game extremely difficult for them to win; using his advantage in size and strength with a constantly evolving punching skillset to break down his opponents.
A fighter who holds the drawing power, mass appeal and resume of Alvarez usually doesn’t have much to prove. But a win over Golovkin would undoubtedly be Canelo’s greatest achievement and arguably the most impressive middleweight feat in decades.
Gennady Golovkin (-145)
An unrelenting pressure fighter with one of the best chins the modern sport has seen, Golovkin (37-0) uses calculated punching combinations to compliment his swarming style.
A fighter who is not only undefeated, but never has been knocked down, the 35-year-old Kazakhstani-born pugilist took the boxing realm by storm from his days as an amateur and Olympic silver medalist. With 33 of his 37 victories coming by way of stoppage, Golovkin holds the highest knockout percentage (89.8) in middleweight championship history.
Yet Golovkin’s arsenal is far more versatile than his hard-hitting style may suggest. While tenaciously walking down opponents, Golovkin also demonstrates great technical skills and punching accuracy. Utilizing a snapping jab and brutal overhand right, Golovkin dishes out as much damage with his precise combinations as he does with his aggression as an in-fighter.
While Golovkin has proven thus far he cannot be stopped, he is not considered a traditionally large middleweight. His adversary on Saturday is the complete opposite.
Pick: Golovkin by TKO (10th Round)
Alvarez is one of the best boxers on the planet and is the right man to be the face of the fight game, but he is not the better fighter at this point in time.
Golovkin stalks Canelo throughout the bout and outduels him in the pocket. While Canelo’s size, resiliency and counter punches will make it challenging for Golovkin to find the finish, its GGG’s sustained pressure and punching volume that damage Alvarez enough to lead to the stoppage, but not before Golovkin’s chin is put to the ultimate test. In the process, both combatants give fight fans the show they have long anticipated and gives boxing the violent, exciting boost in the arm many have been wanting for so long.
(Odds posted at South Point sports book)
Will go 11.5 rounds -110
Won’t go 11.5 rounds -110
Alvarez to win by KO 5-1
Alvarez to win by decision 9-5
Golovkin to win by KO 8-5
Golovkin to win by decision plus-325
(KO includes TKO and disqualification)