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Try standing up and shuffling side-to-side with your weight equally distributed among both feet. Now shift you weight to the front foot and the movement becomes much more ponderous and far less fluid. Had Golovkin incorporated more elements of traditional boxing into Saturday's fight, in all likelihood the event would have turned out to be far less enjoyable than it was. But you know what, a boxer's first duty is to win. If the crowd boos, then so be it.
Truly versatile fighters and trainers pick the style that affords them the best chance to win. Talents such as Mayweather, Crawford and Lomachenko could beat an opponent any which way. Unfortunately for Golovkin, he and his team suffered from a lack of imagination and remained captive to their notion of machismo and "Mexican Style".
As a reminder, Golovkin was an Olympic silver medalist and possesses one of the best jabs in the sport. He illustrated on Saturday that he could certainly be successful boxing off the back foot.
What was missing was the right instruction from his corner and the recognition that something different might be better. Nevertheless, I still thought that Golovkin won, even fighting Canelo's fight. I had him winning seven rounds to five, or , but certainly there were enough swing rounds in the bout that the official scores , Canelo and Canelo were defensible.
Overall, it was an excellent, close, and well-contested fight. Perhaps the right man didn't win, but it's hard to argue that the judges' cards weren't within an acceptable range of conceivable scores. None of the above is meant to diminish Canelo's accomplishments on Saturday. Fighting with what I believed was a real handicap, he won the battle of ring generalship. In terms of geography, the action was right where he wanted it.
Often controlling the center of the ring, he threw blistering left hooks, punishing right uppercuts, a number of dazzling combinations and some nifty counter jabs. Despite the surgery and the resulting post-operative physical therapy, his conditioning was far improved in the second fight.
Perhaps by the ninth round his gas tank started to deplete ever so slightly, but he was having problems as early as the fourth in the first bout. In addition, Saturday's fight was contested in a far more grueling manner than their match last year. His conditioning was very impressive on Saturday. Credit also needs to be given to Canelo's head trainer, Eddy Reynoso. Years ago, Reynoso took a boatload of criticism, and justifiably so, for Alvarez's listless performance against Mayweather, where it was clear that the trainer had no "Plan B".
However, as Canelo has developed as a fighter and Reynoso has gained additional experience against top opposition, Eddy's improvement has been vast.
Canelo is now a fighter who can win a fight in close range or on the outside, with short single punches or free-flowing combinations, along the ropes or in the center of the ring, by cutting off the ring or by moving to evade pressure, leading or countering. In short, Reynoso has helped create one of the sport's more versatile fighters. In my final estimation of Saturday's fight, Golovkin and Sanchez helped to beat themselves. Against a slightly diminished fighter, they played into his hands.
Perhaps they still should have won. Maybe three different judges could very well have given them the verdict. However, the type of fight that they chose to engage in left reasonable doubt as to which boxer was the rightful victor. As great as Sanchez has been throughout his career, Saturday's performance was a major failing and highlights his limitations. What was needed on Saturday was an out-of-the box thinker, a cornerman comfortable with making significant changes on the fly.
As for Golovkin, he fought valiantly, if not necessarily intelligently. Saturday might have been his last big stage to shine. He proved his mettle and beat back those pesky whispers that he was somehow an old fighter. But what missing was some cunning, some cleverness, some craft. Golovkin will be remembered as one of true shining stars from his era, but he was so close to being something even more. Posted by Adam Abramowitz at September 16, 1 comment: Keys to the Fight.
Last year, the two elite middleweights fought to a controversial draw. Although it was a competitive fight, judge Adalaide Byrd's ludicrous scorecard for Canelo marred what would have otherwise been an enjoyable night of pugilism.
Most boxing observers had Golovkin edging the bout or at the very least fighting Canelo to a draw, but no one saw the fight like Byrd did. Originally Canelo and Golovkin were scheduled to fight again in May, but Canelo failed two tests for performance enhancing drugs. He was subsequently suspended for six months by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Naturally, accusations and recriminations ensued between the fighter camps, their defenders in the media and their respective fan bases.
The usually mild-mannered Golovkin made numerous inflammatory statements about Canelo after the failed drug tests and it's clear that as they enter the ring on Saturday, there's no love lost between them. Read below for the keys to the fight.
My prediction will be at the end of the article. What did they learn from the first fight? Both boxers left a little on the table during their first fight. Golovkin only intermittently went to the body. Alvarez didn't let his hands go consistently. Each fighter gave the other too much respect. The template for improvement is clear for both. Canelo needs to fight closer to three minutes a round. Hopefully he can trust his conditioning and give a consistent effort throughout the match.
It was Canelo who closed stronger of the two in the first fight, which begs the question of where was that energy level throughout many of the middle rounds of the bout. Golovkin has a world-class chin, perhaps the best in boxing. He should trust it more. He was overly concerned with Alvarez's counters and while it's important to remain defensively responsible, he needs to remember that he can take a shot. Ultimately, neither boxer fought with full confidence last September. It will be interesting to see which one will be able to make the necessary physical and psychological adjustments to perform better in the rematch.
The elephant in the room. Canelo claimed that the failed tests resulted from tainted beef, which has been a problem in parts of Mexico.
However, his story was certainly not bought by many boxing observers. PEDs can provide a multitude of benefits during training camp and in the ring.
They can help with endurance, cutting weight, adding muscle and recuperation, among other factors. We may never get definitive answers to these questions, but they are certainly worth considering during the fight on Saturday.
After receiving his suspension, Canelo decided to have arthroscopic knee surgery during the down time. As recently as a few weeks ago, he was still sparring with a sleeve on his knee. This type of surgery is fairly routine for athletes, but the recovery period can vary.
Has he been training at less than full throttle as he recovers? If Canelo can't move like he would want to, it is certainly possible that we get a much different fight on Saturday, one that could very much turn into a slugfest. And if he enters the fight with a sleeve on his knee, that would be a good time to place a last-minute bet on Golovkin.
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