Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and WBC/WBA/IBO Middleweight Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) are just days away from stepping into the ring for their highly-anticipated rematch on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena.
Ever since the final bell sounded one year ago and the scorecards revealed a highly-disputed draw, fight fans have been waiting for part two.
Regardless of who you thought won the first fight, it’s hard to dispute that each man can improve on their tactics and game plan and do more to solidify a clear win in the rematch.
Read on to find out the three keys to victory for the unified Middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin as he takes on Canelo Alvarez in a high stakes bout.
Both Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez were pretty tentative early on in their first fight–and rightfully so. When you’re facing off against a high-level opponent, you can’t afford to make mistakes.
Canelo has said that he wishes he would have taken advantage of Golovkin’s misses, and we can surely bet that Golovkin wishes he would have taken more advantage of Canelo camping out on the ropes.
Canelo is a masterful counterpuncher, and perhaps that’s why GGG held back, even when he seemed to have the Mexican in a dangerous, stationary position.
Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez has stated that he thinks GGG will earn a late-rounds stoppage in the rematch, somewhere between Rounds 10 and 12. For Golovkin to do that, he’ll have to start fast and lay the leather on Canelo.
Golovkin must force Canelo to exert a lot of energy early on and he’s going to have to let his hands go more–particularly downstairs. Which brings us to the next key!
Work the Body
Although I had Gennady Golovkin winning a close decision the first time around, I was left baffled as to why he did not put in more work downstairs. Upon second, third and fourth watches of the fight (on television as opposed to being in the arena), I realized that Canelo Alvarez’s sharp counterpunching and movement kept Golovkin honest.
In the rematch, working the body may be the biggest key to victory and it’s really building off the first key of starting off fast. To successfully get to Canelo’s body, GGG will have to take chances. After all, what’s a reward worth without taking any risk?
Golovkin has shown murderous one-punch power in the past, and if he hopes to slow the new leaner version of Canelo down on September 15, his offensive recipe better include a heavy dose of body punches.
One thing that may have GGG supporters worried is Abel Sanchez’s stance on why Golovkin didn’t go to the body more in the first fight. Instead of admitting that there is a need to improve and focus downstairs in the second fight, Sanchez recently seemed to get defensive during a media scrum (via Fight Hub TV).
“A lot of times I get asked why didn’t he [Golovkin] throw any body shots,” said Sanchez.” “Well, how many body shots did Canelo throw?”
It’s not about what Canelo does or doesn’t do, and one would hope that Sanchez knows that better than anyone.
Even if Golovkin isn’t able to end the fight with one carefully placed shot downstairs like he did against Matthew Macklin, an early barrage of combination punching to Canelo’s body will lay the necessary groundwork for good things to happen in the later rounds.
One can argue that it’s clear that Canelo has gotten his body into shape for more boxing and moving. Regardless of what Canelo has said in the build up to the rematch, you have to believe he’ll be moving a lot in the ring and using his speed and counterpunching technique to win rounds as opposed to going toe-to-toe and looking for a knockout. After all, that gives him the best chance to win.
Golovkin can’t stalk aimlessly for 12 rounds and expect Canelo to wither from one punch. Constant shots to the body will give Golovkin his best chance of winning.
Jab, Jab, Jab
It might sound cliche, but good things happen when you work behind the jab. Gennady Golovkin only needs to look back a few fights to his shallacking of David Lemieux to see just how powerful and fight-changing his jab can actually be.
It needs to be strong and thrown with purpose both early and often. If GGG throws up any lame, half-assed jabs he can expect to be countered by Canelo Alvarez all night.
But, if he presses forward behind a solid jab before unleashing his combination attacks to the body, Golovkin will have success and could get Canelo against the ropes where he should look to unleash more power punches.
If Golovkin walks forward aimlessly and doesn’t use the jab, it’ll be all Canelo Alvarez on Saturday night.
Header photo by Julio Sanchez/RBRBoxing
Alejandro "Alex" Burgos is a former Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Round By Round Boxing. He is a professional blogger, SEO Consultant and Marketing Director at Capital Practice Consulting in Washington, DC.