Gennady Golovkin vs Canelo Alvarez Preview, Betting Tips and Odds

It doesn’t get better than this. Gennady Golovkin vs Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to decide the middleweight number one. Two of the best fighters in the sport collide September 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. While Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor might have been the most talked about event in sport, Golovkin-Canelo pits two marvellous boxers close to the peak of their powers against one another. It might just the best match up boxing has seen in years.


Mayweather-McGregor was a spectacle few really expected to see until it was actually signed, featuring as it did two of the biggest names in two entirely different sports. Canelo-Golovkin in contrast was a fight the boxing world, fans, media and other fighters that is, clamoured to see.

Gennady Golovkin rose to prominence with brutal displays of power. He destroyed opposition to win the IBF and WBA middleweight titles, combining ferocity with technical ability to serve up highlight reel knockouts. Recall his finishes of Matthew Macklin, with a hellacious body punch delivered with seeming ease, or flattening Daniel Geale somehow as the Australian himself was landing a punch.

Saul Alvarez has fought his way up from the bottom rung of boxing in Mexico. Known as “Canelo” or Cinnamon because of his ginger hair, he turned professional when he was merely 15 years old and step by step built up a fanatical following as he fought his way to the top. He rose from welterweight, boxed, and lost to, Floyd Mayweather a little too early in his career. Mayweather was too clever for him then but Alvarez developed from it.

In 2015, fighting at a catchweight of only 155lbs, Canelo defeated Miguel Cotto to win the WBC middleweight title. The clamour for a unification fight then reached fever pitch.

The road to this fight

Last year Canelo was not ready to move up to middleweight. He stayed at the 155lbs catchweight to brutally knockout Amir Khan and then took umbrage when the WBC insisted on Golovkin as his mandatory opponent. Alvarez returned to super-welterweight for one more fight, to win another world title, the WBO belt from Liam Smith. Golovkin inherited the WBC title, yet while he now had three major middleweight world belts he was frustrated. Canelo was eluding him.

Golovkin remained undefeated, coming to London to batter Kell Brook, a career welterweight, and then took on and outpointed one of the best possible challengers at 160lbs, Danny Jacobs.

Alvarez continued to dictate the terms of their meeting. He moved up to 164lbs to hammer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, allowing himself to grow into middleweight. In 2017 the two rivals signed on the line to make this fight a reality for 2017.

What they say

I know what I have in front of me. I know he’s a strong fighter. He is the most dangerous opponent of my career, but I’m ready for him and what’s next to come. That’s why we prepared, and to give the fans a beautiful fight. This fight’s for you; this fight’s for all the fans who have been asking for it. We know that in fights, it takes two to tango. I’m ready, and you know what you’ll get from me. Let’s just hope he brings it as well. I’m excited and happy that the fight is almost here. I’ve been focused like always with my training this camp. I’m gonna do and use whatever I need to be one step ahead of Gennady in the ring. Without a doubt, our fight on September 16 will be one of the great fights in the history of boxing. Golovkin will bring out the best in me.

Canelo Alvarez

This is a fight boxing can be proud of. It is boxing’s biggest fight. It is a fight for history. It is a real Mexican fight. Everyone will remember this fight. Canelo is No. 1 in Mexico, a country known for great fighters. He is very special. Canelo has looked good and looked strong in his last few fights. That is why we have worked so hard in training camp. We have worked on new things. This is my biggest fight. I worked hard to become of champion of the world. I worked hard with Abel [Sanchez] to stay champion of the world.

Gennady Golovkin

What makes this fight so good

Even though Alvarez’s dispute with the WBC rumbles on (he is not challenging Golovkin for that particular belt, although Golovkin will be bringing all three of his titles to the ring), make no mistake this is a battle for supremacy in the middleweight division and will probably decide who the best fighter in the sport might actually be.

By refusing to rush in to boxing “GGG,” Canelo has continued to mature, grow into the weight and develop his own abilities. Increasingly the Mexican is looking the complete package and his offence is almost as explosive as the Kazakh’s. Gennady Golovkin looked near enough indestructible as he chewed through middleweight contenders. But hints of vulnerability have emerged. Kell Brook was undersized and outgunned compared to Golovkin but over the five rounds he lasted managed to compete and land more punches than anticipated. Similarly Danny Jacobs gave Golovkin a tricky contest. While Golovkin is technically superb and is tough, his defence can breached. And Canelo has real power.

So who will win?

That is the big question. This is a proper 50-50 fight and a convincing case can be made for either man. Golovkin’s jab is excellent, he can dismantle foes on the end of it, as he did with dangerous puncher David Lemieux. The Kazakh is effective at long range and devastating at mid-range where he blasts away opposition with almighty hooks.

The way to beat him is to stride through that storm and attack him on the inside. Golovkin can be caught by uppercuts and tight shots in close. And that is exactly where Canelo excels. If Alvarez can get in close he has the power and the hand speed to trouble Golovkin. Few manage to cope with the terrible pressure “GGG” puts on his opposition, always moving forward. Alvarez needs to actually drive him backwards, and potentially he has the capacity to do that.

My hunch is that the Kazakh however can prevail. With focus on his jab, Golovkin might be able to keep Alvarez on the outside, and away from the danger zone. One weakness in the Mexican’s game is his footwork. Even though Golovkin is older and nearing the end of his career, his mobility and ring generalship might prove better. Golovkin might be able to better control the flow of the fight and, possibly, win on points.

But given that Canelo has a rematch clause, expect this rivalry to run and run. 

About John Dennen

John Dennen is a respected sports writer for Boxing News, the oldest boxing publication in the world. Established in 1909, Boxing News’ reputation as the market authority comes from over 100 years of experience in the hardest game.