By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the most anticipated boxing match of the year, amongst long time and hardcore boxing fans, will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada 8PM ET on HBO PPV. Granted, the fight between Mayweather and McGregor three weeks ago was highly anticipated, but most already knew the outcome of that fight before it even occurred.
This is expected to be a competitive fight and the winner is not so easy to pick.
Weigh Ins: Canelo Alvarez 160 vs Gennady Golovkin 160 lbs
Four bouts are expected to be on the pay per view card but the only title fight of the night will be between Canelo and Golovkin.
Gennady Golovkin (37-0) vs. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1); WBA/WBC/IBF Middleweight Titles
This is the best fight that could be made in boxing right now. They’ve been trying to make the fight for about two years now and they’re finally delivering this mega fight for the fans.
Golovkin is thirty five years old and many people feel he’s starting to show his age in the ring. He’s eight years older than Canelo, who is in in the middle of his athletic prime. Golovkin will have about an inch and a half height advantage, but Canelo will have about a half an inch reach advantage.
Both boxers fought twice in 2016 and once in 2017.
Golovkin has the edge in amateur experience between the two. He’s a former world champion as an amateur and won the silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. However it should be noted that Canelo turned pro at the age of fifteen and was fighting grown men before most kids in the United States could drive.
Golovkin has the edge in power but both men are known for their devastating knockouts. Canelo has thirty four knockouts on his resume including three of his past five fights. Golovkin has thirty three stoppages on his resume and has stopped four of his past five opponents.
Golovkin had a close fight with Daniel Jacobs in his last outing but was able to pull out the victory. He has also defeated the likes of Dominic Wade, Kell Brook, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Martin Murray, Maco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curstin Stevens, Matthew Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, and Grzegorz Proska.
Canelo has defeated the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, and Shane Mosley His lone loss was to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
If this fight occurred two years ago it’s this writer’s opinion that Golovkin would have clearly defeated Canelo. However, Canelo has fully grown into the middleweight division and Golovkin is showing signs of his age.
Did Oscar De La Hoya let this fight marinate long enough for Canelo to surpass Golovkin in terms of skill due to age? That’s the question that will determine if Canelo can win. But Golovkin has been waiting for this opportunity for nearly his entire career and this writer believes he will be showing fans the best version of himself on Saturday night and pull out a late stoppage victory.
Ryan Martin (19-0) vs. Francisco Rojo (20-2); Lightweights
The opening bout of the evening will be between Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin and Francisco Rojo. Both boxers are relatively young with Martin being only twenty four years old and Rojo being tweny six. Martin is fairly tall for a lightweight and comes in at 5’11. He’ll have a four inch height advantage over the 5’7” Rojo.
Martin had an extensive amateur background and won several national titles, including the 2010 U19 National Championships. He came up short in qualifying for the Olympics by losing to Robert Easter. Rojo does not have the amateur background of Rojo.
Martin has been very active in the past two years and fought four times in 2016 and already fought twice in 2017. Rojo has also been active and fought twice in 2017 and three times in 2016.
They appear to be about even in power. Rojo has thirteen stoppages to his record while Martin has eleven. Only two of the past five fights for Martin went the distance, while Rojo has stopped four of his past five opponents.
Martin’s notable victories have come against the likes of Marcos Jimenez, Bryant Cruz, Yardley Cruz, and Cesar Villarraga for the WBC Continental Americas Lightweight Title. Rojo has defeated the likes of Dante Jardon and Eduardo Escobedo. His losses were to Emanuel Lopez and Omar Diaz early on in his career.
Ryan Martin’s nickname may be the “Blue Chip”, but he is considered to be a good prospect, but not an uber good prospect. This fight with Rojo should tell us more about the potential of Martin and it’s a fight that Martin should win.
Diego De La Hoya (19-0) vs. Randy Caballero (24-0); Junior Featherweights
Diego De La Hoya is trying to escape the shadow of his famous uncle Oscar De La Hoya, but he has a very tough test ahead of him on Saturday night. On paper, this appears to be the most competitive fight on the undercard.
De La Hoya is still very young at twenty three years old and is three years younger than his opponent Caballero. They both are 5’6” and have a 68” reach.
De La Hoya is not known for his power, though his technique and hand speed is very good. He only has nine stoppage victories and his past four fights went the distance. Caballero has fourteen stoppage victories and three of his past five fights were KO/TKO victories.
De La Hoya has a huge edge in activity. He has already fought three times in 2017 and fought three times in 2016. Caballero only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016. Ring rust will be a real issue for Caballero when facing an opponent of the caliber of De La Hoya.
De La Hoya has defeated the likes of Luis Orlando Del Valle, Jesus Ruiz, Manuel Roman, and Alan Castillo. Caballero’s biggest victories have come against Jesus Ruiz, Ruben Garcia Hernandez, Miguel Roles, and Manuel Roman.
Caballero was a former US Flyweight amateur champion, but that’s a far way in weight from the junior featherweight limit. This should be a close fight and Caballero has the talent to pull off the minor upset, but De La Hoya should get the biggest win of his career on Saturday.
Joseph Diaz (24-0) vs. Rafael Rivera (25-0-2); WBC Featherweight Eliminator
Joseph Diaz was supposed to fight Jorge Lara, but Lara pulled out of the fight and Rafael Rivera has stepped in to fill in as an opponent.
Diaz is considered by many to be one of the top America prospects in boxing. He competed in the 2012 Olympics for the United States and even competed in the World Series of Boxing as an amateur. Rivera is from Mexico and does not have the amateur experience of Diaz.
Diaz has a relatively long reach for the featherweight division at 64”. He’s also a southpaw.
Diaz has defeated the likes of Manuel Avila, Horacio Garcia, Jayson Velez, Ruben Tamayo, and Rene Alvarado. Rivera has defeated the likes of Ruben Tamayo, Miguel Tamayo Wilfredo Vasquez Jr., and Ruben Garcia Hernandez.
Rivera’s two draws have come against Juan Gomez Torres and Andres Tapia.
Rivera was actually originally scheduled to face Diaz but was forced to let Lara face Diaz due to him being ranked higher than him in the WBC rankings. Rivera is a last minute replacement for Lara, but he’s still a good fighter and capapble of giving Diaz a challenge.
Diaz needs to have a good showing if he wants to become a money draw in the featherweight division, and a win on Saturday will make him one fight away from fighting for a world championship.