After years of anticipation, Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin will finally meet on Saturday, September 16th inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Tickets for the fight sold out months ago and the founder and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar De La Hoya, expects the fight to do at least three million pay-per-view buys. With so much on the line for Canelo, including a middleweight title, this could be one of the biggest fights of his career.
Here are five reasons why I think Canelo will win the fight against GGG:
1. Canelo is in his prime and GGG could be past his.
CREDIT: @canelo / @gggboxing / Instagram
At the tender age of 27, Canelo will enter the ring in the best shape of his life. Delaying the fight was a strategic move for Canelo’s team as they hope that father time will catch up to GGG on the night of the fight. Canelo will take advantage of his youthful energy and stamina to overcome the aging 35-year-old Kazakhstani knockout artist.
2. Canelo is young but far from foolish.
CREDIT: PPV / cloacacarnage via tumblr
Despite his youthful appearance, Canelo has more professional boxing experience than GGG. Canelo has fought a total of 353 rounds, while GGG has only fought 172. You only get better with experience and it’s evident that Canelo has improved over the years since his only defeat against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
3. GGG’s aggression plays into Canelo’s style.
CREDIT: HBO / PPV
Because Canelo has always been an effective counter punch, and GGG’s style of boxing — attack-minded, willing to take shots to go on the offensive — plays into Canelo’s strengths. GGG’s weak defense and lack of head movement will give Canelo the opportunity to land clean punches.
4. Canelo has triumphed as a middleweight before.
CREDIT: HBO / PPV
At 160 pounds, Canelo is not a natural 160-lbs fighter and has only fought at that weight or higher once when he faced a spiritless Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. earlier this year. GGG, on the other hand, has fought at the middleweight division his entire professional career and has been known as a heavy puncher. Going the distance will be critical for Canelo.
5. The odds are in Canelo’s favor.
Canelo is the A-side in this match, which means he has a great deal of political power due to his ability to generate pay-per-view revenue and the popularity of his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya. This advantage will help him if the fight goes the distance and is too close to call. Don’t believe me? Ask Erislandy Lara, who in 2014, lost a close and controversial decision to Canelo. He recently told BoxingScene.com that although he believes that GGG will win, “one thing we know is in Las Vegas you can’t beat Canelo Álvarez on a decision.”
At the end of the day, I think the fight will go the full 12 rounds, with Canelo winning by split decision.
Rudy Mondragón is a PhD student in the UCLA Chicana and Chicano Studies Department. He is a boxing expert whose work has been featured by different media and academic publications.