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Middleweight Supremacy: Saúl Álvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Preview

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After almost two years of negotiations, on Saturday, the biggest middleweight title fight of a generation will take place between Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin at the T-Mobile Arena in the legendary boxing city of Las Vegas.

In what has been a very good year so far for the sport in terms of making the big fights, this contest promises to be perhaps the best of the lot, with the bout featuring two of the very finest boxers the world has to offer.

In recent years, Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) has laid waste to many good opponents in the middleweight division, although in his last two fights, he has not quite looked so stellar. In last September’s fight against Kell Brook, the Brit had his fair share of success, and this March, Golovkin only barely emerged from Madison Square Garden with his titles after scraping past Daniel Jacobs. Still, Brook is a welterweight who perhaps did not command Golovkin’s full respect given the size difference, and it has to be said that Jacobs turned in a career-best performance, utilising his supreme athleticism to frustrate Golovkin.

Álvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has been fighting elite level operators for many years now, and is firmly established as one of the biggest stars in the sport. He has generally looked quite convincing of late, although his last three opponents Amir Khan, Liam Smith and Julio César Chávez Jr were always unlikely to upset the apple-cart.

As two of the best fighters in the sport, both have excellent skill-sets which will take some figuring out on both sides. Golovkin not only has great power, but has one of the very best jabs in the sport, which can not only serve as a weapon in its own right, but also lead to very effective and unpredictable combinations, from a variety of different angles and to both body and head. Golovkin should look to

Golovkin should look to bank to the body especially during this fight, as Álvarez has shown some stamina issues in the past. Álvarez also has relatively slow footwork, landing to the body should mean that he slows down even further and becomes that bit easier to hit.

However, ‘Canelo’ is a very wily operator, having proven throughout his career to be very difficult to catch cleanly, because of his superb head movement. He is also very adept at making his opponents pay for their mistakes by landing fast, accurate counter shots.

The Mexican is good on the front foot too, also setting shots up very well with his own excellent jab. Whichever way Álvarez wants to approach the fight, I believe he should look to force Golovkin back with a sustained period of pressure when he does land. The Kazakh puncher has displayed a leaky defence at times, and is far less effective on the back foot than when he is the one coming forward forcing the pace of the fight.

What makes this fight even more intriguing is that both fighters have question marks over their heads. Are Golovkin’s recent struggles evidence of an irreversible decline for the 35-year-old, or were they just off-days? How will Álvarez deal with a murderous puncher at a higher weight class than what he is accustomed to? Will moving up in weight in fact help him in the stamina department? A year ago, I would have made Golovkin a sizeable favourite for this fight, but at this stage, now that Golovkin has shown some vulnerabilities, it is a much more even match-up in my opinion.

The undercard is solid, if not spectacular. American featherweight hope Joseph Diaz (24-0, 13 KOs) faces fellow undefeated fighter Jorge Lara (29-0-2, 21 KOs). It is a small step up in class for Diaz, who, should he come out on top, will surely be fighting for world titles sooner rather than later.

There will also be a rather famous name in action on the card, in super-bantamweight Diego De La Hoya (19-0, 9 KOs), cousin of boxing legend and promoter Oscar. He faces former IBF bantamweight champion Randy Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs) in what is a very good step up for the 23-year-old.

Team GB’s most successful amateur boxer ever, Nicola Adams, will also make an appearance, fighting in her 3rd professional outing, against Hungarian Alexandra Vlajk (11-6, 2 KOs) at super-flyweight. The fight should be a fairly straightforward one for Leeds’ Adams, who will be making her US bow in Vegas, as she hunts a world title in the not too distant future.

Watch GGG versus Canelo live on BoxNation box office in the UK and Ireland

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