After last year’s disputed draw, Gennady Golovkin knows he must go for the knockout if he’s going to defeat Canelo Alvarez.
These two men fought to a draw last September in one of the best fights of 2017. Most ringside observers felt Golovkin earned a close victory including HBO’s unofficial scorer Harold Lederman who scored the fight 116-112 for Golovkin.
Judge Dave Moretti scored the fight 115-113 for Golovkin and judge Don Trella scored the fight 114-114. Both of them knew they just witnessed a competitive fight, and no one had an issue with either one of their scorecards.
But judge Adalaide Byrd inexplicably scored the fight 118-110 for Alvarez, and her scorecard drew much scrutiny after the fight. Many felt she should even be banned from judging another fight.
There’s no way anybody who saw the fight thought Golovkin only won two out of the twelve rounds, and the punch stats illustrate this.
According to Compubox stats Golovkin landed 218 out of 703 punches (31%) compared Alvarez who landed 169 out of 505 punches (33%).
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) August 15, 2018
Byrd’s scorecard led people to believe that this was the results of the political side of boxing, where the more popular and lucrative fighter gets the benefit of favorable scoring.
We’ve seen this way too often in boxing over the last several decades with fights such as Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. where Whitaker clearly outboxed Chavez but came away with a draw, and Oscar De La Hoya decision victory over Felix Sturm, a fight in which everyone but the judges thought Sturm had won.
Recently Showtime’s announcer Jim Gray touched on this very topic in a recent interview and stated the only way for Golovkin to win the rematch would be for him to knockout Alvarez because Alvarez is the bigger name.
— Elie Seckbach (@Seckbach) August 16, 2018
Despite the 36-year-old Golovkin being undefeated and the unified middleweight champion, the 28-year-old Alvarez is the more popular fighter and by far the biggest pay-per-view attraction in boxing. If Alvarez were to lose to Golovkin, it would damage his future earning potential.
Alvarez could fight for the next 8-10 years and still draw big money fights. Golovkin is clearly on the tail end of his career and only has a few more years in the sport.
So Gray’s assessment is spot on, especially after the way the first fight unfolded.
Alvarez controlled the action in the first three rounds with his quicker hands and was outboxing Golovkin. But after round three Golovkin was the clear aggressor of the fight. He was constantly coming forward and putting pressure on Canelo, forcing him to the ropes.
Yet despite being the champion and aggressor Golovkin could not get the victory by decision.
It will be a tall task for Golovkin to knockout Alvarez. Alvarez’s lone defeat came at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr. by majority decision in 2013, and Alvarez has seldom been hurt in the ring.
At one point Golovkin was the best knockout artist in the sport winning 23 consecutive fights by knockout, but none of those were against fighters the caliber of Alvarez. When Golovkin has faced top-tier middleweights such as Alvarez and Danny Jacobs, the fights have gone the full 12 rounds.
So Golovkin and his trainer Abel Sanchez will have to come with a plan to open Alvarez up, so Golovkin can land a devastating blow and knock him out.
If Golovkin can knock Alvarez out it will not only be the biggest win of his career, but he’ll also break his tie with Bernard Hopkins’ record of 20 successful middleweight title defenses.
Should he not knockout Alvarez we could be in for another draw or worse, yet for Golovkin, he may suffer the first loss of his professional career.