Canelo vs. GGG 2 fight predictions, odds, expert pick, fight card, date, tale of the tape
The biggest boxing match of 2018 may finally be upon this weekend in Las Vegas
A major boxing pay-per-view in the United States has not been held since the first Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight title bout last September, which is almost inconceivable to think about.
Yet during a calendar year that has produced both the launch and development of various streaming services which have altered the broadcasting landscape, a fight as big as Saturday's rematch at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 8 p.m. ET) demanded the largest platform possible.
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Thanks to a controversial split draw in their first meeting and a pair of failed drug tests from Alvarez, which postponed the original May rematch after the Mexican star was suspended, tensions remain high entering the second helping of a PPV fight that actually succeeded in delivering the kind of action that was promised.
Tale of the tape
|Fighter||Saul Alvarez||Gennady Golovkin|
49-1-2 (34 KOs)
38-0-1 (34 KOs)
WBA, WBC middleweight
Miguel Cotto (UD12, 2015), Erislandy Lara (SD12, 2014), Austin Trout (UD12, 2013)
Daniel Jacobs (UD12, 2017), Kell Brook (TKO5, 2016), Martin Murray (TKO11, 2015)
Floyd Mayweather (MD, 2013)
What's at stake?
Golovkin's decision to keep his May 5 date following Alvarez's withdrawal ultimately cost him his IBF title at 160 pounds after the sanctioning body didn't recognize Vanes Martirosyan as a credible opponent and later stripped GGG for not facing mandatory opponent Sergiy Dereveyanchenko in a timely manner. Still, Golovkin will bring his WBC and WBA titles against Alvarez's lineal crown.
In addition, this pairing between top five pound-for-pound boxers offers the winner, should he do so decisively, an opportunity to claim he's the best in the world. The stakes only go deeper from a personal standpoint for each fighter as Golovkin, given a rare second chance after the controversial scorecards robbed him of a victory,. Not only would Golovkin break Bernard Hopkins' division record with his 21st title defense if he wins, he would finally secure a victory over an A-level opponent in his prime.
For Alvarez, this is more about his reputation. Considering his overt heel turn over the past year after testing positive for the banned substance clenbuterol, blaming it on tainted beef and then initially refusing to undergo random drug testing in the aftermath,considering he's already the biggest PPV star and a betting underdog. But to those who believe he has previously used performance-enhancing drugs, Alvarez has to chance to quiet the narrative with a clear (and clean) win.
Who has the edge?
1. Power: While Alvarez landed the cleaner power shots in the first meeting, Golovkin appeared unfazed thanks to his iron chin and recently compared his opponent's punching power to "slaps." GGG, on the other hand, remains one of the most devastating finishers in the sport with both hands, as evidenced by his two-round dismantling of Martirosyan in May. Edge: Golovkin
2. Speed: As the smaller fighter who moved up from 154 pounds before their first fight, Alvarez proved in September just how wide the gap in hand speed was. He also showed tremendous agility to avoid Golovkin's big right hand for most of the fight by swiveling and sidestepping. GGG is one year older at 36 and has proven himself more plodding with age. Edge: Alvarez
3. Technique: There's no question that both can box at a very elite level and that Golovkin, an Olympic silver medalist for Kazakhstan, wouldn't quite be the destroyer he is without utilizing his amateur pedigree to patiently set up his shots. But if there's one thing Alvarez has done in each of his biggest fights it has been a subtle and steady improvement of his overall game. As a pinpoint counter puncher who goes to the body well and has developed a strong uppercut, Alvarez is operating at the very peak of his powers as a boxer. Edge: Alvarez
4. Defense: In order to become such a voluminous aggressor, Golovkin has needed to sacrifice some of his defense at times to establish himself as the bigger puncher. Even though he tends to get hit a fair amount, however, that doesn't make him an irresponsible defender as GGG is almost never off balance or caught out of position. But as a counter puncher and a small middleweight, Alvarez is forced to rely more on his defense and has become adept at avoiding punches without needing to move his feet. Edge: Alvarez
5. Intangibles: Ahead of their first fight, this category went to Alvarez largely for his reputation of getting the benefit the doubt on the scorecards throughout his career. While that certainly didn't change last September, the public backlash and criticism aimed at both Alvarez and the Nevada commission means we aren't as likely to see that come into play again. In that case, outside of Alvarez's advantage in terms of youth, the key intangible comes down to mindset. Not only is Golovkin the bigger puncher of the two, he has appeared much angrier in recent months than most have ever seen him. Given the scoring in the first fight and GGG's outspoken belief that Alvarez is a dirty fighter, there's reason to believe GGG will try his best to leave no doubt and finish the fight early. That's a dangerous thought. Edge: Golovkin
If there's one thing we learned from their exciting first meeting, it's that both fighters have room to improve the second time around. Golovkin showed too much respect for Alvarez's counter fire and played it safe even when he had his opponent cornered. Alvarez, meanwhile, gassed out in the middle rounds and didn't throw enough punches overall to support his claim that he had done enough to win.
Despite his constant talk of wanting the knockout, Alvarez has looked leaner this week in comparison to last year, which has helped further fuel PED conspirators but also suggests he is intending to box and be elusive. In theory, that remains his best shot at going the distance and securing a deserved win on the scorecards. Not only should Alvarez avoid getting into a toe-to-toe duel with Golovkin at all costs, the more active he is with his jab might lower Golovkin's output and create more opportunities for Alvarez to counter.
One negative for Golovkin is that in his two biggest fights to date, he failed to show much variety in his attack or an ability to make key adjustments to halt his opponent's success. Against Danny Jacobs in 2017, it never cost GGG as he rode an early knockdown and relied on his jab and pressure style late to win a close decision. Against Alvarez, of course, it ultimately did.
What Golovkin needs to remember is that he took Alvarez's best shots cleanly late in the fight and barely broke stride in coming forward. GGG will not only need to channel and fuel his disdain for Alvarez into a more aggressive nature, he will need to take chances and face vulnerability in order to force Alvarez into the kind of skirmishes that can end the fight.
Varying how he sets up his right hands will be key for GGG the second time around as Alvarez was routinely able to see the big punches coming and adjust. While Golovkin's jab and his incredible ability to cut off the ring will still be key, it's imperative this time around that he make Alvarez pay for lingering too long in the corners or against the ropes.
Alvarez certainly possesses enough skill to go the distance and put himself in position to contend for the judges' nod. But the same equation he faced in the first fight rings true again entering the rematch. As long as Golovkin didn't get old over night, if you're offering me a chance to pick the fighter who is bigger, stronger, busier and more desperate to secure the kind of victory his career has lacked, choosing Golovkin makes too much sense. Sprinkle in some spite and you may have yourself a clean finish.
Pick: Golovkin via eighth-round TKO.
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