By Greg Cirillo | Brooklyn, NY | September 14, 2018

Early fight prediction from The Notorious Boxing Club

After a year of excitement, accusations, and negotiations, it’s finally here: Canelo Alvarez vs GGG II. In the first fight, I scored the bout a draw, giving the first three rounds and last three rounds in favor of Alvarez. I’ve watched the fight over thirty times since (not kidding) and I still scored the fight the same way: a draw.

I could fish for a round here or there but (6-6) is how I scored the fight. However, I felt that Alvarez was comfortable the entire fight. So much so that when he was in the danger zone (hanging on the ropes against Golovkin) there was no sense of urgency to hold or come off, but to stay for a while and counter punch in between Golovkin with hard, but predictable shots.

Alvarez was never hurt and never allowed multiple punches to land in succession. Golovkin was clearly uncomfortable with power punches coming from a counter artist. His jab became his most reliant weapon as he never hurt or found it easy to land a thudding blow against the Mexican. He outworked Alvarez in the middle rounds and yes both men have incredible chins; but in the center of the ring, the fight was a different story.

Contrary to popular belief Golovkin doesn’t trade, his seek and destroy ideology is predicated on coming forward and forcing his opponents to fight off their back foot. In the past when fighters held their ground in the center of the ring and got off first (ala Daniel Jacobs and Kell Brook), Golovkin found it very hard and at times and didn’t have an answer. Yet his power, resilience, and tenacity for using his strength and toughness is what always remains the equalizer and the pressure necessary to make his opponents feel uncomfortable, whether punching or not.

In their rematch, you will see Alvarez be first more. He will not allow Golovkin to get a head full of steam. Therefore, he will keep the fight in the center of the ring, emulating what took place in the first fight, where he had the most success. Watching most of Canelo’s other top level bouts, he always finds a point during the fight to languish on the ropes (Angulo, Kirkland, Cotto, Chavez Jr, etc.) where he displays his shifty waist and upper body movement, coupled with this “qien es mas macho” mentality. He is comfortable and composed at every point in the ring and its clear Golovkin needs less space to make his offense be at its best.

Keys to victory for GGG:

  1. Let go and fire: By disrupting Alavarez’ timing, he can take away his best asset with his counter punching ability.
  2. Use faints and punch off of them: By inducing offense from the counter puncher with a faint, GGG has a better chance of having Alvarez run into a big shot.
  3. Trade: As the harder puncher and the more durable fighter, trading with the smaller fighter should be a major key for GGG. It will ensure that he’ll have his opponent in a position to where he can sit down on his shots and implement his vaunted power that so many opponents couldn’t handle.
  4. Go to the body/use what got you here: GGG, who typically breaks his opponents to the body, was very non committed to body work. Golovkin must find Alvarez to the body during this fight, the same way he has utilized this strategy to secure his previous victories.
  5. Mexican Style: If Alvarez is laying on the ropes, do what you do best. The casual fan, including GGG, said Alvarez ran the last fight. Not sure exactly what fight they were watching. None the less. Alvarez spent plenty of time on the ropes. If GGG truly wants to fight “Mexican Style” he must work there. What better opportunity then when your opponent is on the ropes to go to the body? If GGG can in fact take away the counter like he needs to, he must take advantage of Alvarez when he’s on the ropes. Faint and go. Every second wasted is a second that allows Alvarez to get comfortable and adapt his defense to GGG’s attack.
  6. Throw a wide right hand: Alvarez exits to his left upon vacating the pocket. If GGG can throw a long right hand towards the end of his combos or his offensive advances, he can catch Alvarez walking right into it as he looks to leave the pocket and reset to get back to work in the center of the ring.
  7. Mix up your combinations: GGG throws the same combos and that led to Alvarez being more comfortable because he could see and anticipate the punch that was coming. By mixing up his combos and doubling his hook, he can disrupt Alvarez’ defensive flow and sight.
  8. Take advantage of Alvarez’ flat footed lulls: Alvarez has shown that he fights in spurts as most natural counter punchers do. GGG took advantage of that last fight with his work rate. If GGG is going to get the clear cut victory it is imperative that his work rate and his aggression is more effective the second time around.

Keys for Canelo Alvarez:

  1. Keep the fight in the center of the ring: Even though Alvarez fights off the ropes quite well, the judges (and the fans) won’t see his effectiveness due to the toughness and resilience of GGG. He needs to use his feet and movement in the center of the ring and get more space for his offensive rhythm. Oddly enough, the center of the ring just happens to be GGG’s least place to work.
  2. Use your speed: Alvarez has the speed advantage whether by hands or feet. Again GGG has had issues with speedier guys.
  3. Be first: By being first and being faster Canelo has the advantage to lead the offense and take advantage of GGG reluctance when it comes to trading. By coupling his counter punching with leading from time to time, he can disrupt the onslaught that is GGG, and keep his feet moving backwards.
  4. Keep your hands up: I believe GGG is going to set up shots and create opportunities for Alvarez to run into something. Alvarez, while slippery at points, has a habit of dropping his hands when he flexes his waist, slipping and ducking. If GGG doubles up on some shots and steps in to bridge his offensive sequences, Alvarez could find himself in trouble. With GGG, you usually don’t get second chances.
  5. Change direction and keep turning: GGG likes to attack in a 180 degree direction. He likes s to go straight down the line. If Alvarez changes direction while moving, he can force GGG to pick up his feet and therefore not be able to set up his power shots.
  6. Fight your fight: Without getting into the outside the technical aspects and posturing (whole other story), Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez has done everything in his power to convince and make Alvarez fight the way necessary for GGG to have the most success. Alavarez must remain steadfast in his ways. He must improve upon the success he had last fight. Standing dead in front of a bonafide puncher like GGG is idiotic. Canelo has an arsenal and is too dynamic to do that.

My final Prediction: Canelo will win by Decision

A more aggressive Canelo who will continue his counter punching ideology, coupled with being first. I feel at this point he’s more capable of making changes and has the ability to use some of the attributes of the other fighters that have given GGG trouble.

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