Canelo vs. GGG 2: Musings, Potshots, and Pinpricks

By Paul Magno on September 16, 2018
Canelo vs. GGG 2: Musings, Potshots, and Pinpricks
Golovkin never got in the ring with a live body until he was nearly 35. (Ed Mulholland)

At the end of the day, the fight was a good, competitive scrap with everything boxing fans claim to want from a main stage prizefight…

In the wake of Saturday’s big Canelo-Golovkin rematch at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, here are some random thoughts from my jaded, jaded mind:

—Canelo-GGG 2 was a draw on my scorecard, but 115-113 either way was in keeping with the realities of the fight. I saw some insane scores float through my Facebook timeline Saturday night—most from delusional Golovkinites—but anything beyond 115-113 for this fight should be an indication that maybe someone was scoring more on hopes and dreams than hits and misses.

—Is there even a “maybe” to be issued at this point when it comes to Gennady Golovkin being overrated, piggybacking on a wave of hype? When lobbed softballs to hit out of the park, he is, indeed, the monster of Golovkinite dreams. However, throw a bit of complexity into the mix and the Kazakh KO machine gets brought into the non-fairy tale world.

Whether one agrees with the two Canelo decisions or not, Canelo has been extremely competitive with the “beast” who many fans and members of the media were listing as an all-time great and comparing, with a straight face, to Marvin Hagler. Canelo is most definitely NOT anywhere near ATG level as a 160 lb. fighter, nor is he in possession of elite-level skills or physical gifts in that division, either—yet he fought GGG twice to a close decision.

Golovkin simply is what he is—A very good offensive fighter who was top dog at 160 during a down time in the division, but someone who never showed himself to be a “next-level” fighter and never dominated a challenger he wasn’t supposed to dominate. That assessment could change, depending on what he does from this point forward for the rest of his career, but that’s what the black and white facts tell us right now.

—And please spare me the “he could only fight those who were willing to fight him” baloney. There’ve been plenty of “avoided” fighters throughout history who’ve found ways to challenge themselves. Having a couple of guys pass on you because of the high-risk/low-reward factor does NOT entitle you to a lifetime of soft touches.

—Was Golovkin “getting old” the reason behind recent not-so-beastly performances, as some fans and media members like to assert? That’s impossible to tell because he never got in the ring with a live body until he was nearly 35. It is funny, though, that he looked “like the Golovkin of old” this past May when he was allowed a soft touch gimme as a Canelo replacement. I think some slowing down at his age is a fact, but being put against opposition with the skill and ability to actually fight back has even more to do with Golovkin not looking like Golovkin these last three fights. He’s 36, but, remember, this is a guy who has barely broken a sweat through the first 37 fights of his professional career. This isn’t 1959—high-end fighters competing well into their late 30’s and even early 40’s is not all that out of the ordinary anymore.

—The one thing I truly feel good about when it comes to Golovkin losing, is that Bernard Hopkins’ middleweight title defense record was not broken by a truly BS title run.

—As for Canelo. He accounted well for himself and definitely won points from an increasingly skeptical fan base for coming out aggressive and taking the fight to Golovkin.

However, Canelo once again took his foot off the gas, this time around the seventh round, let up from a strategy that was having great success, and let Golovkin back into the fight. And I say “let” him get back into the fight because Golovkin did nothing to actually turn the tide. Rather, when Canelo stopped pushing so hard, Golovkin stepped into that void to start winning rounds. Golovkin’s effectiveness on offense, however, seemed to be limited by having taken a shellacking to the body early in the fight and, while he scored and managed to open up a long cut over Canelo’s left eye, he could never really present any sort of sustained offensive surge. One has to wonder whether Alvarez gassed out, as he has been known to do, or if he pulled back to prevent gassing out and found it difficult to pick up where he left off.

—Kudos to Canelo for the victory and for having to wade through some really sludgy waters to get from the failed drug tests in February to the biggest win of his career in September. But, in terms of skill and overall ability, I still don’t view the Mexican star as an elite-level middleweight.

—The HBO contracts of both Alvarez and Golovkin ended with this PPV bout. If HBO wants to stay in the boxing business, they will use a lucrative third bout as leverage in attempts to re-sign both fighters. If HBO Boxing is done, we may see Canelo-GGG 3 on Showtime PPV in May of 2019.

—Personally, I hope these two take a break from one another and fight someone else next. I’d love to see Canelo against the winner of Saunders-Andrade and Golovkin against Jermall Charlo.

—All in all, while the main event turned out to be entertaining, the promotion was absolutely awful. It was way too bogged down in negativity—over clenbuterol, judging, hand wraps, gloves, favoritism, etc.— instead of maintaining focus on the actual fight. When you essentially have one side of a contest making the case AGAINST the main event’s legitimacy over and over again in the press, that’s not exactly going to be helpful in driving sales.

GBP/HBO/K2 was also pretty bad at what should’ve been the easiest aspect of the promotion—having fans know just when the damn show started. The PPV card started an hour earlier than usual and TONS of fans ended up tuning in late, missing two of the undercard fights, because the promotion failed to get the word out on the early start. Yeah, maybe fans should’ve checked out the start time on their own, but you would think that a change from the normal scheduling would prod organizers into actually working overtime to get this crucial bit of info to the buying public. As it turned out, many fans, for their 85 bucks, only got a three-round Jaime Munguia blowout of Brandon Cook and an hour of downtime before the main event.

—But, having said all of the above, at the end of the day, the fight was a good, competitive scrap with everything boxing fans claim to want from a main stage prizefight and both fighters performed to the best of their abilities.

As expected, however, the glow and appreciation of an entertaining affair was drowned out by post-fight griping, gloating, and vows to quit watching boxing for good “this time.”

The problem may be that so many people these days aren’t really fans of boxing as much as they are fans of “their” guys. People get so caught up in “winning” that they lose sight on how, when both sides do well, we all win. There’s a lot of that going around these days, especially in politics. Don’t get me started on politics…

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  1. Lucas McCain 10:39am, 09/18/2018

    Chico,  I met Cosell only once when I was with my wife.  She recognized him because she was still (at that point in our marriage) watching fights with me.  “Mr. Cosell, it’s a pleasure to meet you” she said.  “Young lady,” he replied, “you will remember this moment for the rest of your life.” 
      I’m not kidding.  Afterwards, she told me “He’s the most obnoxious person I’ve ever met.”  But he was right.  The two of us still laugh about that day.

  2. Chico Salmon 04:43pm, 09/17/2018

    Lucas McCain… hahaha. I hear ya. That was priceless. Cosell was such a PHONY, hypocritical, pompous douche. Nothing like a guy that brags that he “tells it like is” while wearing a rug on his head. Mind you, I shave my head so I am not knocking my fellow “baldies” out there,  mainly just knocking PHONY Cosell. I even shaved my head back in the 80’s off and on when I actually had hair. There wasn’t a helluva lot of shaved heads back in the 80’s, certainly nothing like today.

  3. Lucas McCain 02:18pm, 09/17/2018

    Chico,
    Just to add, Ledoux’s great feat of knocking off Howard Cosell’s toupe on TV.  Even Ali couldn’t do that.

  4. Paul Sarrasin 12:24pm, 09/17/2018

    Mr Magno
    Not considering Canelo like an Elite boxer is totally delusional!
    Quite honestly, these two athletes are the best of the best and putting them down like you did seem to express your incompetence.

  5. Casanovita de Ahome 08:26am, 09/17/2018

    @Chico-Great comments as always and you can be sure that some of the visitors to Boxing.com never heard of most of the fighters you cite, especially Scrap Iron who was campaigning during the same era as Windmill Ray White. I’m sticking with Casanovita who finished his “career” 0 and 3 all KOd bys! His three opponents including the Kid combined had over 200 fights!

  6. Chico Salmon 07:57am, 09/17/2018

    Casanovita…How about George “Scrap Iron” Johnson,  a 5’9” heavyweight who fought Sonny Liston, George Foreman,  Joe Bugner,  Joe Frazier, Jerry Quarry, Eddie Machen, etc? Another toughie who fought them all was the Fighting Frenchman, Scott Ledoux. Ledoux fought Foreman, Norton Lyle, Holmes, Weaver, Leon Spinks, Gerrie Coetzee, Frank Bruno, Duane Bobick, etc.  A 42 year old Ledoux was even hired by Mike Tyson as a sparring partner. Not bad for an ex-football player who didn’t take up boxing until he was a freshman in college. RIP Scottie.

  7. Casanovita de Ahome 07:20am, 09/17/2018

    No one in the history of boxing has been matched tougher than Casanovita de Ahome who in his debut fought Kid Azteca one of the all time great Mexican fighters who was a 150 fight veteran at the time!

  8. buddhabob 07:10am, 09/17/2018

    well reality came knocking for GGG. I think he is aging now and has slowed down which does not surprise at his age and after using his face as a battering ram against welters in so many of his previous fights. Its downhill from here for the Russian. Whether he ranks in top 10 of all time I would say, probably. This is because there are no better examples of controlling the ring, power and systematic footwork than GGG. He may or may not have fought lesser opponents and it is too bad better fights weren’t arranged for him when he was a 30 and 32 year old terror. He may have then shocked the World and made hundreds of millions as the man to beat, but he has slowed significantly since then.

  9. Casanovita de Ahome 07:05am, 09/17/2018

    Meanwhile on another site, ” Now Sanchez is swinging on Canelo’s nuts like George of the Jungle”!

  10. Chico Salmon 07:04am, 09/17/2018

    Kid Blast… Thank you kindly, sir. Take as much as needed. One could easily look at Carlos Monzon’s title defenses and be very critical as well. Like Hagler, Monzon feasted on and made his reputation beating naturally smaller men who in some cases were a bit past their prime. This article taste a bit like haterade to me.

  11. Kid Blast 06:56am, 09/17/2018

    Chico, Sugar Ray Seales gave him some fits as well. Good post. I may steal it for future use.

  12. Chico Salmon 06:22am, 09/17/2018

    I still list GGG as an all time middleweight great, not as great as Hagler or Robinson, but certainly worthy of a top 10-12 ranking in historically the most talented division in boxing. Hagler was definitely in the top 5-6 all time middleweights but lets take an honest look at his career. Btw, Hagler is one of my all time favorite fighters so I am not hating here at all. Hagler’s most impressive run had to be his Philly wars. Hagler beat some real monsters but was himself bested twice during this time by Bobby Boogaloo Watts and Willie Monroe. And lets not forget it was a young 24 year old Hagler that beat a 35 year old Bennie Briscoe. Hagler could look less than stellar in his career, a distance win against fringe contender Marcos Geraldo, and of course his first fight with a short, crude and limited face first fighter named Vito Antuofermo.  Hagler was taken the full 15 rounds by a blown up 32 year old lightweight legend who only possessed average power at best at 160lbs. Hagler’s title defenses came against Fulgnecio Obelmejias, whom he fought twice? How this guy “earned” two title shots is anyone’s guess. He defended twice against Mustafa Hamsho, another short face first fighter like Antuofermo who had absolutely no boxing style to speak of. Tony Sibson, yet another short and crude guy, who unlike Antuofermo, at least had some punching power. The one dimensional and thunderous JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT,  John Mugabi gave Hagler a war while the fight lasted. Which brings us to Sugar Ray Leonard. Retired for 3 years, the eye operation, was knocked down by one Kevin Howard in an ill fated comeback in 1984, was yet another smaller man that Hagler was facing. Leonard boxed Hagler’s ears off, not even close. And Hagler was 33, not 36, 36 is the same in 2018 as it was in 1987 and as it was in 1918. The human body hasn’t evolved that damn much.

  13. Casanovita de Ahome 05:36am, 09/17/2018

    GGG didn’t go to the body….probably because he was “hyper sensitive” about being countered or as Sanchez told him in the corner he was giving way too much “respect”....who know’s what he was thinking. He kept missing with that high elbow hook and once again kept whistling that arcing right over top of his shorter more compact adversary’s head ala Wlad Klitschko! Though his jab is clearly a weapon and not just a range finder the judges discounted those punches way too much as opposed to the credit they gave Canelo’s body work that found GGG’s elbows and hips more times than not. After all of Sanchez’s shit talk GGG fought his fight and not his trainer’s and dealt with what was in front of him. He hurt Canelo in the 10th and 11th and clearly won the 12th. He made lot’s of mistakes but he was able to overcome a younger, faster, stronger opponent with an ODLH type jaw who was jacked to the sky and yes he won both fights yet even Sanchez is acting like Tonto when the Lone Ranger said it looks like “we” are surrounded.

  14. Donald Grant 02:41am, 09/17/2018

    “Whether one agrees with the two Canelo decisions or not [...] he fought GGG twice to a close decision”—the first fight was a draw.

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