Fight of the Decade: Golovkin vs. Alvarez

The most eagerly-awaited boxing match in years will take place tomorrow night, when Saul “Canelo” Alvarez challenges Gennady (GGG) Golovkin for the undisputed middleweight title of the world in Las Vegas. Golovkin (37-0) has never been beaten and has never been knocked down. Alvarez (49-1-1) has lost only once, to Floyd Mayweather.

Golovkin is from Kazakhstan, where he started fighting as a child. He boxed extensively as an amateur, compiling a record of 345-5. He turned professional in 2006. GGG is a devastating puncher and has recorded a higher knockout percentage than any middleweight in history. Golovkin doesn’t seem to mind being hit. He attacks aggressively, generally willing to take a punch in order to land a punch.

There are many YouTube videos of Golovkin, mostly of low quality. This one isn’t bad:

Alvarez is called “Canelo,” which means cinnamon in Spanish, because of his red hair. From Mexico, he is one of seven brothers who all have been professional fighters. Canelo turned professional at 15. A counterpuncher, Alvarez has beaten notable opponents including Miguel Cotto, Amir Kahn, Shane Mosley and others, and is a three-time world champion at light middleweight and middleweight. He is probably the most popular person in Mexico. This video includes some highlights:

GGG is the betting favorite, albeit narrowly. He is slightly taller than Alvarez, but Canelo is eight years younger at 27. Which is why I think Canelo will probably win. Golovkin is my favorite fighter and I will be rooting for him, but I am afraid he may be past his prime. In his last few fights, he has not shown the devastating power that has been the hallmark of his career. Not that he has fought poorly: in his most recent fight, he decisioned Danny Jacobs, who is a superb boxer. But it was the first time since 2008 that GGG has failed to knock out an opponent.

Most observers will continue favoring GGG until someone finally beats him. I think that day likely will come tomorrow. Canelo Alvarez, just entering his prime, is too good to trade punches with. But regardless of the outcome, Golovkin-Alvarez is almost guaranteed to be a close, exciting fight. I agree with Alvarez:

“He has a very aggressive style. He comes to search and destroy and he comes in search of a knockout,” Alvarez said. “You know me, I don’t back down. I’m a counter puncher and I like to fight. It has all the ingredients to be one of the best fights ever.”

If you buy the fight on HBO pay per view, you won’t be disappointed.