We are now one week removed from last Saturday’s Middleweight showdown between The Ring Middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs).
The bout, which was often labeled as the best fight boxing had to offer, lived up the expectations that had been set for it. After 12 grueling rounds of non-stop action, it was not only clear that Canelo and GGG represent two of the best fighters in the sport today, but it was also clear that they had both left everything they had in the ring.
But while the action certainly didn’t disappoint, the decision sure did. Despite the fact that the fight was a closely contested affair, many felt as if Golovkin clearly did enough to win. However, the bout was ruled a split-draw, with one judge, Adelaide Byrd, controversially scoring the fight 118-110 for Alvarez.
Despite the decision failing to impress the masses, it likely also set the stage for a much-needed rematch between the two champions, which could very well take place Cinco de Mayo weekend next May if the two sides can come to an agreement.
Assuming a rematch is indeed booked, let’s take a look at what each fighter can improve on in order to score a more convincing victory.
Although many had felt as if Golovkin was the clear victor, Canelo certainly had his moments of success, and he started out very strong. In fact, he won the first three rounds on one scorecard, and two of the first three rounds on the two other cards.
As the fight dragged on into the middle rounds, however, the tides began to change. As Golovkin began to take control, Alvarez began to noticeably fatigue, which we aren’t too used to seeing from him. As GGG increased his pressure, Canelo was repeatedly pressed against the ropes and it appeared as if he became less active in the middle rounds.
To his credit, however, the Mexican gained a second wind as the fight drew near a close, as he won the final three rounds on all three scorecards. In those rounds, Alvarez landed some big shots of his own, and he even appeared to stun Golovkin.
Clearly, Canelo deserved to be in the ring with GGG, but there are some changes and improvements he needs to make in order to win a rematch, with the most glaring being an improvement in his conditioning.
It’s important to note that Golovkin is known for wearing down his opponents, but if Canelo could’ve performed for 12 rounds how he did in the opening and closing rounds of the bout, he likely would’ve won.
Alvarez should also look to be more active with his combinations in a rematch, which will give him the chance to control the fight and land big shots on Golovkin at a higher rate.
While many thought Golovkin clearly won the fight, he too can make some changes and improvements ahead of a rematch.
First off, GGG will need to get off to a better start than he did in the first meeting last weekend. If he had seen more success in the opening rounds, the decision would’ve been his.
Given that he was so successful in putting Alvarez up against the ropes and picking him apart, GGG would be smart to put the pressure on and inflict a high pace as soon as the opening bell sounds.
Also, the Kazakh slugger shied away from his lethal body attack against Alvarez. This may have been because he was being cautious of Canelo’s devastating counter punches, but attacking the body may be a strategy that Golovkin could focus on in a second fight. Digging into Alvarez’s body would also help to drain the Mexican’s gas tank at a faster rate.
Similarly to Canelo, GGG will also need to put on a stronger performance over the course of 12 rounds. Although I’m unsure if issues with conditioning led to Golovkin’s trouble in the closing rounds, it’s clear that his performance in the rounds leading up to the final bell didn’t help him sway over the judges.
Header photo by Julio Sanchez/RBRBoxing