A beginner’s guide to Canelo-GGG

thumbnail_CaneloGGGWeighIn_HoganphotosToday, hours before arguably the biggest and best prizefight boxing has seen in some years, a buddy offhandedly asked, as part of a never-ending bullshit session in a group text, for the lowdown on the matchup. It was a tongue-in-cheek question because, well, my friend is a jackass. Although I’m the resident boxing “expert” in this group, we all currently or at one time worked in sports media, so it goes without saying that each of us is convinced there is nothing we don’t know and, furthermore, that our shit doesn’t stink. Asking me to “break down” the matchup was as much a dare to invite brutal derision and “Who gives a shit?” missives as it was a real question.

Naturally, I answered.

If you’re a #casual, what follows is a decent primer for tonight’s Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. You probably aren’t ponying up the 80 bones it’ll cost you to watch it live on HBO pay-per-view, but maybe you’ll hit a Twin Peaks or mooch off a buddy’s broadcast or watch the replay. If you’re a #head, you’ll undoubtedly twist yourself into knots finding ways to pick apart my utterly ham-handed, child-like analysis and, quite possibly, pen a death threat or two. Knock yourself out. Truth is, I just wrote some words, and I figured recycling it on the blog might score me a few cheap clicks. At the very least, it’s a good excuse to show off some gorgeous shots from my guy Tom Hogan (all shots courtesy of Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions). Try to enjoy:

thumbnail_CaneloChavez_Hoganphotos4“You guys might know Canelo: started as a pro really young, but was brought along at an appropriate pace. Became a big name pretty quickly because he’s a) good, b) Mexican and c) somehow, a goddamn ginger. He’s the better boxer in this fight, but not by much.

GGG is a phenomenal talent with destructive power who otherwise didn’t fit the profile of a star. A Kazakh who doesn’t speak English is a tough sell in boxing—especially one who doesn’t fight in the States. By the time he arrived here, he’d built a reputation as an assassin who couldn’t sell tickets, which makes booking fights with credible opponents virtually impossible. Some still consider him unproven, but he’s mowed down all but one fighter—Danny Jacobs, a legit titleholder with a difficult style who … GGG beat on the scorecards anyhow.

GolovkinLemieux_HoganphotosCanelo recently moved up to middleweight, but hadn’t been finishing many guys even before the jump. He has decent one-punch power but generally wears guys down with an accumulation of punches, especially body shots. GGG seems sturdy enough, though there is some uncertainty about his chin because he has scored the KO or inflicted so much damage early in fights that he has avoided having his durability fully tested.

Canelo is a good defensive fighter—moves his head and feet expertly to escape harm and then counter effectively. But GGG is a natural middleweight who has been murdering quality middleweights (albeit no Haglers or Leonards) for a while now. It’s a fairly even fight, but the room for error is almost nil for Canelo. He can’t afford to get hit with anything big and, because he isn’t a massive puncher himself, must routinely land crisp, flush shots against a good boxer without wearing down over 12 rounds in order to win the fight. I don’t see it. GGG wins a unanimous decision.”

As the kids say, don’t @ me.

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