Each time I consider the tone and tenor of this fight, I see a different outcome. On one side, you have Canelo as the younger, arguably fresher fighter. He’s improved with every fight, his combination punching is second to none, and his defensive skills are no longer a secret. On the other side, you have Golovkin, who despite being the undefeated fighter, has appeared vulnerable in his last two fights. He was hit cleanly and often by Kell Brook, and many observers thought he may not have done enough to beat Daniel Jacobs, in spite of the unanimous decision victory.
There are question marks for both, but it can be argued that the man standing across from each of them when the bell rings will be the most physically imposing challenge of their respective careers.
When I look at a fight for either guy that indicates how this may play out, I keep going back to Golovkin vs. David Lemieux. Golovkin knew he was in tough with Lemieux and fought perhaps his most patient, complete performance to date. Golovkin jabbed Lemieux into submission, and started landing blistering combinations to the head and body as he kept the fight at a distance, before it was mercifully ended in the eighth round.
Then again, Canelo is more of a complete fighter than Lemieux, but expect Golovkin to come out with a similar approach, jabbing patiently and only taking risks when necessary. Canelo will begin to solve the riddle after losing the early rounds, but Golovkin will be far enough ahead at that point to hold out any late rallies as the fight intensifies. Canelo may look the fresher fighter down the stretch, but Golovkin’s early work will have paid dividends, even stealing a couple of rounds down the stretch on the strength of his sheer brute power. Regardless of the final tallies, there will be no real losers.
Golovkin by UD, 115-112, with clamors for a rematch.