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Tonight is the night. PPV Superstar Saul Canelo Alverez takes on Gennady Golovkin in a hugely anticipated rematch.
The first fight ended in dramatic circumstances, as it was surrounded in controversy. The reason, many thought the fan favourite from Kazakhstan was robbed on the cards by an unfairly wide score card from world renowned female judge Adelaide Byrd. Byrd’s score card favoured Canelo ten rounds to two, even giving Golovkin's best rounds to the Mexican.
The controversy grew when Canelo failed a drugs test (on both A and B samples) for high levels of clenbuterol, a steroid designed to increase training levels and help fighters cut weight. This was resulting in what Golovkin saw as a slap on the wrist (a six month suspension). To add insult to injury, this suspension, delayed the rematch and ultimately lead to GGG being stripped of one of his World Titles (IBF), a major dint to the heavy hitters drive to unify the division.
With fight night upon us there are many questions to be answered, as it ascertains to the rematch. The general consensus surrounding the initial fight was that Golovkin took and majority of the middle rounds after making an adjustment in the fourth and that the flashy counter punching from Canelo took rounds 1-3 and 11-12.
So, what will differ in the rematch and if the fight takes the same path, would this now be enough for the Khazak to take the fight?
To make a fair assessment we must establish what has changed between the two fighters between the two fights.
First, Golovkin. Gennady is now 36 years old and as the cliche goes, age beats most fighters, the question is does the year make a difference. Looking through GGG’s fights, there certainly has been less and less devastation as time goes on. However, that is not clearly down to age, as the level of opposition has increased with each fight too, such as the closely fought Jacobs fight. But history does not lie and it was only recently that another devastating puncher was arguably robbed, only to be stopped by the fresher Andre Ward in the rematch (Kovalev).
Secondly, the mental state of Golovkin. This smiling assassin has a hard temperament to break down and it has only notable been done once before against Curtis Stevens. GGG physically bullied and broke down Stevens in a ruthless manner and even said to media that he wanted to make him pay. Between the media jabs and controversy sounding these fighters, Golovkin is more angry than ever seen before, so does this mean we will see the GGG from the Stevens fight?
Stylistically, GGG seemed to struggle to hold Canelo to the ropes, allowing him to slide out to his right time and time again. Yet, his best success in the past and this fight was the occasions he pushes his opponent to the ropes. Has Abel Sanchez and Golovkin been able to come up with a game plan to keep Canelo against the ropes and if so, will Canelo adapt?
Onto Saul Alvarez and the factors that have changed for himself. After the initial media storm surround Mrs Byrds dramatic card and even Don Trellas Scoring of the middle rounds, will the judges be afraid to give the swing rounds to the house favourite? Could all of the negative press and pressure on the judges shape the card in GGG’s favour?
On top of this, though Canelo and Oscar De La Hoya’s golden boy promotions have put the failed drug test down to the knownly infected Mexican beef, if in truth the test where something more nefarious, how will Canelo fair. In truth, Saul collapsed shortly after the weigh in due to dehydration, could the lack of a steroids assisted cut have cause the Mexican superstar to have to work harder? Or has the negative media caused an ‘ill show them’ attitude in the young star, that may have also resulted in the collapse.
In the first fight, though Canelo landed the much more eye-catching shots and had good movement throughout. The Mexican seemed to have one game plan and when the Khazak adjusted, he did not. The cards where shaped by a strong start by the Mexican, the adjustment by Gennady and the perceived ‘coast’ to what he believed was a victory. Will Canelo be able to adapt and take charge of the fight this time around?
Finally, what else can each fighter do to win this. Unlike most writers, I believe this will be similar to the first fight and even more tentative as each fighter will not want to take risks and lose the fight and I again see this going to the cards. The first three rounds will tell an important story. However I see another close decision with the possibility of s draw of split decision.
May be better suited to the fighter area.