There’s no doubt; for boxing-purists, ‘Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin’ is the most highly anticipated match up of 2017. Opinion is not in short-demand; a quick internet-search will provide you with a myriad of justifications why either fighter might prevail. Popular- consensus swings the way of Golovkin, and more importantly those with most to lose (the bookies) say he is their man. It’s a small margin; but not since stepping into the ring with Mayweather has Canelo been the underdog. So, the question remains; what can Canelo incorporate into his game plan to overcome the odds?
The check-hook counter
Very-few fighters in history have been able to square the ring off like Golovkin. Effortlessly, he can make 20sqft of boxing ring look smaller than Harry Potter’s bedroom. At some point Canelo will find himself on the ropes, it’s inevitable, but the time spent there must be kept to a minimum. A solid check-hook, will allow Canelo to laterally-deflect Golovkin’s forward- momentum. Whilst Golovkin’s footwork is exceptional, his head movement is non-existent, when hit; he covers up tight and stays planted. If exploited properly, this flaw will allow Canelo to turn-out of dangerous situations.
The overarm-right; not the jab
Many may say Canelo must use the jab to distance himself from Golovkin’s heavy-hands, a war of jabs will do Canelo no favours. Whilst their reach is similar, Golovkin utilises his jab as a power shot, which stuns his opponents and leaves them vulnerable.
For comparison think ‘Mayweather vs Pacquiao’. Mayweather showed Pacquiao the speed of his right-straight in the early rounds, and it was enough to plant the seeds of doubt. Admittedly, Pacquiao had previous with Marquez, but in the opening-rounds when Golovkin seeks to impose, Canelo must establish a firm base of power, by using his leaning-jab not as a deterrent; but as a rangefinder for his crushing overarm-right. This will create hesitation, and allow him to compete in the centre of the ring.
Fight like a Mexican
Some of Canelo’s fights are reminiscent of watching Miguel Cotto under Pedro Diaz; it wasn’t ‘him.’ Freddie Roach rightly states that fighters should always exploit that which comes natural to them. When Roach took over from Diaz; his first port of call was to unleash Cotto’s thunderous-left to the body, which Diaz had tried to change. Eddy and Chepo Reynoso are loyal trainers, but there is a line to be drawn between refining a fighter, and altering their predisposition. They frequently fall dangerously close to the latter. To be blunt, Julio César Chávez Jr should have been dispatched before the bell of the twelfth, a similar performance against Golovkin will not fly.
Prior to Kell Brook’s eye-injury, we saw the type of tactics which might not just beat Golovkin; but rather stop him. Loose-free flowing combinations, had Golovkin covering up, and highlighted his defensive-shortcomings. His dismissal of Brook after the fight cemented what everyone thought, Kell Brook’s hand speed and skill; shook him early on. Whilst being an exceptional boxer; Kell Brook does not possess the raw power of Canelo, if he did we might have seen a very different outcome.
The Canelo needed to beat Golovkin is the one who stepped into the ring to face Kirkland and Trout. In those fights Canelo showcased a masterclass of: aggressive-counter punching, sublime combination-speed, and the ability to switch levels. Eddy and Chepo, must be prepared to let their fighter off the lead, and open up. Golovkin will come forwards, it lies in the hands of Canelo and his Camp how they meet him.