Gennady Golovkin Canelo Alvarez
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Saturday night’s rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez has the potential to blow their first fight away.

Jason Leach

We’re just hours away from the biggest fight of 2018 as unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) defends his titles against Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) in their long-awaited rematch.

These two fought to a disputed draw last September in which most felt Golovkin won. Their initial rematch date of May 5 was canceled after Alvarez was suspended for six months. He failed two drug tests for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol.


Ever since the failed drug tests, the bad blood and animosity between the two fighters and their teams festered. This is why many feel this fight will be better than the first fight. The animosity has gotten so bad between the two; they couldn’t even pose for pictures following their weigh-in on Friday.

Both fighters come into this fight highly motivated to show — once and for all — that they are the better fighter.

Here are the keys to victory for Alvarez and Golovkin.

Keys for Alvarez

Keep the fight in the middle of the ring

Alvarez is by far the quicker and more elusive of the two fighters, and he can maximize these advantages when the fight is in the middle of the ring. In the first fight Alvarez controlled the action in the middle of the ring and at times made Golovkin miss badly. It was only when Golovkin forced Alvarez to the ropes that Alvarez found himself in trouble.

Alvarez needs to use his leg and box Golovkin in the middle of the ring and to stay off the ropes.

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Throw combinations often

Alvarez showed in the first fight that he can take Golovkin’s punches, so he should feel confident in letting his hands go and not worry about getting countered by Golovkin.

Alvarez’s hand speed is superior to Golovkin’s and if he throws combinations, he can land two or three punches to Golovkin’s one it could influence the judges and help him win close rounds.

Don’t exhaust too much energy early

In the first fight, Alvarez began to fade after round three. This allowed Golovkin to take control of the fight in the middle rounds and become the aggressor. Alvarez must make sure that he paces himself early so that he has enough energy to battle for 12 rounds.

Keys for Golovkin

Get off to a fast start

In the first fight, Golovkin lost two of the first three rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards and lost all three rounds on the other scorecard. Golovkin needs to come out much faster than he did in the first fight so that he doesn’t dig himself a hole, and to see if Alvarez has any ring rust in his first fight in a year.

Attack the body

The biggest surprise in the first fight was Golovkin’s unwillingness to attack Alvarez’s body. Golovkin has a reputation of being one of boxing’s most devastating body punchers. So it was shocking to see him hardly throw any body-punches.

Some feel he was reluctant to attack Alvarez’s body because he was worried about being countered by Alvarez. Golovkin must attack the body Saturday night to slow and wear him down.

Jab, jab, jab

Despite being known as a vicious and powerful attacker, Golovkin’s best and most effective punch is his left jab. In the first fight, he landed 108 out of 361 (30 percent) jabs compared to Alvarez who landed 55 out of 233 (24 percent).

Golovkin needs to jab as often, if not more, in the rematch to force Alvarez to the ropes and to set up his power punches. If his jab can be more effective Saturday night, he’ll win.

Prediction

Just as the case was in the first fight, this will be a highly competitive fight. This time the 28-year-old Alvarez won’t fight off the ropes as much as he did in the first fight, and he’ll use his speed advantages over the 36-year-old Golovkin and eke out a close decision victory. Alvarez by split-decision

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