Canelo Alvarez (black trunks) and Gennady Golovkin (white trunks) box in the middleweight world championship boxing match at T-Mobile Arena. Alvarez won via majority decision. Pic: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
|Canelo vs GGG||Preview|
|Where||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|When||September 17, 11pm ET|
Time for the trilogy
Two of boxing’s biggest names collide for the third time in what will undoubtedly be one of the richest and most anticipated fights of 2022.
Having already shared 24 completed rounds over two epic encounters, the rivalry between Alvarez and Golovkin will go down as one of the finest of its generation, but each man will be determined to stamp their authority on the trilogy here with a win more decisive than anything seen in their previous battles.
After much mind games, delay, and out-of-the-ring politics, the pair first met in September 2017 - almost five years to the day before this third fight - in a gargantuan middleweight main event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It proved to be an instant classic. A display of boxing at its very highest level was, however, eventually declared as a split draw, ratified by a set of scorecards perhaps best remembered for judge Adalaide Byrd’s absurd 118-110 tally - or 10-2 in rounds - in favor of the Mexican. While the other two scorecards were far more palatable - a 114-114 tie and 115-113 in favor of Golovkin - the overwhelming public opinion was that the Kazakh had done enough. A blockbuster rematch was, at once, inevitable.
Canelo and GGG have gone to war over 24 rounds, but we're still no closer to settling the debate of who's better. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The second fight a year later - delayed after Canelo failed a drugs test in February 2018 - was another outstanding nip-and-tuck affair but a majority decision for Alvarez was, this time, something much closer to the correct result.
The trilogy bout will take place at super-middleweight - eight pounds north of a division in which Golovkin has campaigned for his entire career - and, at the age of 40, he will come into the fight a firm underdog. Current odds have the popular GGG hovering around a three-to-one shot (+333), but a credible win last time out on the road in Japan against Ryota Murata will see him in confident mood, particularly with Canelo’s recent loss, albeit up at light-heavyweight where he was testing his physical limits.
Underdog backers would be forgiven for raising an eyebrow at the move. While the move up in weight is no doubt a consideration here, as is Golovkin’s age - and it is certainly feasible that, come Sunday morning and with the benefit of hindsight, either, or both of those factors were of critical importance - the fact remains that Golovkin has only ever lost once, which was to Canelo, and in a fight that many felt should’ve been a second victory for him over the Mexican.
Indeed, since that razor-thin points loss, Golovkin has regrouped well and should be in confident mood coming into Saturday night. Now on a run of four straight wins, the popular GGG notched a very credible win last time out on the road in Japan against Ryota Murata, with a close victory over the solid Sergiy Derevyanchenko before that, together with demolitions of Steve Rolls and Kamil Szeremeta, proving that Golovkin remains a fearsome contender even into his fifth decade. The question, then, of whether a +400 quote (an implied win probability of just 20%) represents good value is a pertinent one, particularly given that Golovkin was favored in both previous fights and could well have won with a different set of judges.
Super middle Saul
It is at 168lb, however, that Alvarez - who weighed in at 139lb for his professional debut as a 15-year-old in 2005, and has campaigned in six weight classes since - might have found his best form. At super-middle, the Mexican is the undisputed champion - holding all four major belts simultaneously - and it is tough to pick against him settling the score once and for all.
Some further intrigue was added to this bout following Canelo’s second flirtation with light-heavyweight in May, in which a combination of pushing himself to his physical limits and being matched with an elite 175lb operator in Dmitrii Bivol saw him thoroughly outboxed on the way to a lopsided decision loss. While one loss - only his second official career defeat - in a weight division clearly one step too far for him shouldn’t cast many doubts over his credentials at super-middle, how he deals with the setback is a point of interest, particularly given that he is stepping straight back in with his old nemesis Golovkin once more.
Early openers of -400 and -450, suggesting an 80% and 82% win chance respectively, were quickly eaten up, and the weight of money has all been with the Mexican. Odds of -500 (83% implied) are now the very best that can be found across the industry on the favorite, with some firms even more cautious of the 32-year-old and offering -700 (88%). It is a notable move on the favorite, particularly in a fight of such magnitude.
Method of victory
Looking at the method of victory prop, the obvious conclusion, given their first two wars, would be that a decision for either man is again most likely. Indeed, it is a second successive points nod for Canelo (+110, 48%) that is the slimmest price, and while it is difficult to argue with that, especially alongside his history of favorable decisions in Las Vegas, it should be noted that he has proven himself to be a finisher at 168lb, with Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, and an overmatched Avni Yildirim all dismantled inside the distance. The top price for a Canelo stoppage - which would, remarkably, be the 40th of his career - is +170, or an implied 37% chance.
For Golovkin, the layers are torn as to how he gets the job done here. At an industry best price of +750, a decision is considered a 12% shot and, if the first two fights are a useful guide, could give its backers a run for their money. It’s +900 that GGG blasts his way to a 38th career KO - and a fourth in his last five - but, given Canelo’s famously tough chin, is rightfully the longshot in this market.
Canelo vs GGG 3 free betting pick:
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez by decision (+110)
|Canelo||Tale of the tape||GGG|
|57-2, 39KOs||Record||42-1-1, 37KOs|
'It’s always been very personal with him. That will never go away. After we finished the two fights, it still feels the same [very personal]. He [Golovkin] has never stopped talking about me.
'If you see, I never mentioned his name. I’ve always been in his mouth, he’s always talked about me, and that makes it even more personal.
'The fact that there is this rivalry puts an extra element there. It makes me train harder. I try harder. Personally, I sometimes feel better that it exists.'
Photo credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Boxing fans can stream Canelo's next fight against GGG live on DAZN. The event will be broadcast in over 200 countries around the world and is available to stream on smartphone, desktop and Amazon Fire Stick.
'I don't think that my rivalry with Canelo Alvarez is the only thing that characterizes my career.
'Just to point out a few things: I am the record-holder for the number of defenses—21 defenses. I have the biggest number of knockouts. And I think there are people who will remember me by that.
'There are people to whom it would matter more.'
Pic Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports