“Either Way It Will Be Violent”: Writers Split in Their Canelo-GGG Picks


Eric Raskin Canelo W12

Of all the fight picks I've ever made with limited conviction, this one might be the most conviction-less. I could see any scenario, from an early GGG knockout to either fighter getting stopped late, but in the end, I lean toward the fight going the distance, being nip and tuck all the way, and Canelo coming out ahead on the cards.


Carlos Acevedo: Canelo W12

Golovkin-Alvarez is not only a legitimate blockbuster, but it is also a nightmare fight to handicap. It may or may not have been his sluggish performance against Daniel Jacobs that finally brought Golovkin the marquee spotlight he has craved for years. But the blueprint Jacobs provided cannot be duplicated by Alvarez down to its smallest details for the simple fact that Alvarez does not switch stances. It will be much harder for him to confuse the relentless Golovkin than it was for Jacobs. Even so, Alvarez will enter the ring against Golovkin on Saturday night as the better fighter overall: he is slightly faster, more agile, better defensively, and a more fluid combination puncher. These attributes, however, can be extinguished in a nanosecond by Golovkin, whose crippling power may be augmented by the fact that Alvarez has limited experience as a middleweight. This is a fight that may start off sotto voce and end fortissimo. For Alvarez, hearing the final bell translates into a narrow points win. The question is whether Alvarez has the endurance to make the judges relevant.  The guess here, without much confidence, which is an indicator of just competitive this matchup appears to be on paper, is that Alvarez guts out a decision in a suspenseful fight. 


Nat Gottlieb: Golovkin TKO.

After 23 straight knockouts, Golovkin could not KO a blown-up Danny Jacobs, who was a light heavyweight or bigger when they got in the ring. Some wondered if Golovkin’s skills were eroding. Against Canelo, GGG will not only show his skills haven’t diminished, but he will begin a new knockout streak.


Hamilton Nolan: Golovkin

Golovkin is a more complete and fluid fighter and a bigger puncher. He will win. Canelo is a little tank so I don't know if he can be knocked out or not. Either way it will be violent. 


Wallace Matthews: Golovkin TKO9

I'm going to gamble that Golovkin just had an off-night against Jacobs, in which case his size, power and pressure should prove to be too much for Canelo, who often is less aggressive than a fighter with his style ought to be and whose punching power I am beginning to suspect is not as great as we originally thought. I'll say Golovkin by TKO in 9. 


Frank Della Femina: Canelo KO

I won't go so far as to predict a round, but I'm confident in guessing that Canelo will settle for nothing less than a KO. GGG has shown some vulnerabilities in recent fights, whether by design or not, and just closed out his first long-distance trip in nearly a decade. While Canelo similarly went to the cards in his 12-round PPV sparring session against the punching bag Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., he could do so knowing JCC would never tag him with anything damaging. That's not the case with GGG and, in turn, he can't afford to drag the ordeal out. 

I can see Golovkin coming forward and cutting off the ring, a tactic he's no stranger to, but I also see this playing perfectly into Canelo's style and ability to fight off the ropes. So does this mean GGG goes into the fight knowing this, as he may have hinted in saying he has a solid game plan? I wonder. But if he does walk his opponent down, it's only a matter of time before Canelo rears back and catches GGG with something he's never tasted before. And if that doesn't do the trick on the spot, then the assault off the ropes surely will.


Evan Rutkowski: GGG KO

GGG will win in 8 or 9 rounds. While GGG has been fighting the best competition out there and learning to adapt stylistically during a fight, Canelo has not fought anyone to prepare him for a fighter of GGG's style. It may be close early, but GGG will win going away perhaps even by late stoppage.


Kieran Mulvaney: Golovkin W12

This is a far tougher call than it would have been a year or so ago, partly because Canelo appears to be improving all the time, and partly because there's a possibility that GGG is slipping. What makes this such an intriguing and difficult-to-predict fight is the way each man plays to the other's strengths: Canelo likes opponents who come to him, as GGG will do; GGG likes foes who aren't especially elusive and who have little option but to let him come on to them, which is what he's likely to find in Canelo. But if he hasn't slipped, I think Golovkin has more tools at his disposal and is better with the ones that he and Canelo share. It will be a hard, tough fight, but for all the talk of power right hands, the Golovkin jab will be the key weapon in a close but clear decision win.


Gordon Marino: Golovkin KO

Canelo has to try and back Gennady up. He has to stay in the pocket with his man.  In which case, I think GGG's power and timing will be Canelo's undoing. I predict a knockout victory for GGG before the 10th


Springs Toledo: Golovkin

Don't be suprised if Canelo is the physically stronger fighter against Golovkin. Even so, that won't matter because it is Golovkin's dynamic offense that is going to get him a late stoppage or a decision win. Canelo is durable but he is going to be distracted and disciplined by the power. If, however, GGG cannot land enough power shots -- if his timing is not what it was (which is, I think, what Golden Boy Promotions is banking on), then he will be there for Canelo's counters and that could change the narrative of the fight.


Diego Morilla: Canelo W12

A lot of people see anything between an uphill battle and a long-deserved comeuppance for the freckled boy wonder, but a finer analysis shows a rather glaring light at the end of the very dark tunnel of being locked up in a ring with a cold-blooded killer like Golovkin. For one, Canelo’s defense has improved dramatically (his fight against Miguel Cotto is a great example), especially as far as avoiding punches is concerned (not just blocking them). And there is nothing a puncher hates more than missing his target with those big bombs, since it takes away a lot of energy that they may need later. It will be a rough ride for the Mexican pride, but if he can avoid GGG’s big punches and return fire with the accuracy of a Kell Brook and the power of a Daniel Jacobs, he definitely has a chance to win this by a close but clear unanimous decision.


Oliver Goldstein: Golovkin SD 12

GGG comes into this one off the back of two fights where his straight-up bruising has found itself temporarily frustrated, first by Kell Brook, and then lastingly neutered, by Danny Jacobs. Canelo Alvarez lacks Jacobs’s hand and footspeed, but, like the New Yorker, he’s a cerebral, deliberate, and thoughtful fighter. And what he may miss in speed he more than makes up for with power. Such a combination makes this, rightly, the most talked about fight this year: Canelo should be just slow enough to let GGG close to him, and more than competent and hard enough to hurt him from that range. It’s a pick’em, but I’ll take Golovkin over twelve quietly thrilling rounds.


Matt Draper: Golovkin KO

In the weeks leading up to Saturday’s megafight, both fan and media polls have been pretty much aligned that it will end in either a Golovkin knockout or Canelo decision victory. These certainly seem like the top two outcomes, and the beginning of the fight will likely indicate the ultimate direction. Will GGG, like so many times before, cut off the ring from the jump, work the jab and punish his opponent with Kazakh Thunder? Will Canelo let his opponent come to him while working the body and rifling off combos? While Canelo has age on his side and continues to grow as a boxer, it’s hard to envision Golovkin taking his first career loss  -- in his first fight in Vegas -- on the biggest stage.


Michael Gluckstadt: Golovkin KO 10

Canelo is one of the best fighters in the game. But this is not game. This is box. Canelo has never been hit by anything resembling Gennady’s power – few have – and there’s no telling how he’ll react to it. I don’t think Canelo will yield to the pressure mentally, but a cracking late-round body shot could take the decision out of his hands.