Keys To Victory: Canelo Alvarez

Saturday, September 16th at T-Mobile Arena promises to be one of boxing’s greatest nights this decade, if not ever. Two of boxing’s biggest stars – Canelo Alvarez  (49-1-1, 34 KOs), the young superstar and pride of Mexican boxing, and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), the current unified middleweight world champion from Kazakhstan – will step into the ring after almost 2 years of fight negotiations and do battle.

Since losing to arguably the greatest boxer in history – Floyd Mayweather – at the tender age of 24, Canelo has gone undefeated in his last seven fights, most recently beating the son of boxing legend, Julio Cesar Chavez in a 12-round unanimous decision. Despite Chavez Jr. appearing to be the bigger, taller fighter with a reach advantage, Canelo dominated the fight and pitched a shutout with all thee judges scoring the fight 120 – 108. With victories over the likes of Alfredo Angulo (TKO), Erislandy Lara (SD), James Kirkland (KO), Miguel Cotto (UD), Amir Khan (KO) and Liam Smith KO), Canelo has grown and matured significantly as a fighter. Not only has he matured physically, but mentally his understanding of ring position, his head movement, footwork, and ability establish range early in the fight so that he can rip three and four shot combinations have become hallmarks of Alvarez’s fighting style.

Canelo_Chavez Jr Fight

Canelo learned a tremendous amount in the loss against Mayweather and it has only served to make him a better fighter. However, Canelo has never faced a fighter like GGG, who possesses a combination of toughness, persistence, power and tremendous boxing skill. Both fighters will need to be on their A-game to defeat each other, but what exactly does that mean? After studying historical fight data and analyzing countless tape, here at Eigthcount.TV we believe these are the keys to victory for Canelo:

1. Constant Movement / Stay off the Ropes

Since his fight against Floyd Mayweather where he landed on average 20% of his punches in all but two rounds (Rounds 4 and 5, he landed 37% and 32% of his total punches, respectively), Canelo has learned the importance of movement in the ring. Whether its fighting off of angles to create unique opportunities to land combinations while avoiding his opponents punches (instead of moving laterally as he had done most of the time prior to his encounter with Mayweather) or moving his body to exhibit elusiveness from attack, Canelo must counter Golovkin’s persistence with great footwork and constant movement. Going hand-in-hand with constant movement, it is imperative that Canelo STAY OFF THE ROPES! If Canelo finds himself on the ropes, GGG will make him pay. During GGG’s fight against Danny Jacobs, he was most effective against Jacobs when he was able to force Danny to the ropes. GGG has too much punching power for anyone if they find themselves constantly against the ropes.

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2. Keep Fight in the Middle of the Ring and Throw Combinations off of the Jab

Canelo has to work behind his jab and throw combinations. If there is one thing that Kell Brook exposed in his fight against Golovkin and Danny Jacobs showed as well, it’s that a fighter can achieve success against GGG when he throws combinations in the middle of the ring. Watch this clip off Kell Brook vs. GGG as the two stand toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring and Kell gets the best of Golovkin:

3. Absorb GGG’s Power

It’s no secret that Gennady possesses rare punching power, but then again, so does Canelo. Both fighters have over 30 KOs each thus far in their careers. Thus both fighter’s conditioning will be tested, and their ability to absorb the other fighters power. Canelo should take a page out of Danny Jacobs’ book and come in as the heavier fighter. While this may slow Canelo down a bit, I think the trade-off in his ability to absorb GGG’s power outweighs the loss of speed. Canelo will have the slight reach advantage (70.5 inches vs. 70 inches) which should help him slow Canelo down with the jab.

4. Win on the Inside & Protect the Body

Canelo will need to protect his body while doing damage to GGG’s. GGG is a “body snatcher”, which opens up his opponents to head shots. Alvarez will need to protect his body in the clinch and score meaningful shots to GGG’s body. Head placement and arm position will play a significant role in his ability to be successful. Moreover, if Canelo can land impactful jabs and hooks to GGG’s body, this should slow down Golovkin’s relentless pressure that he will be sure to exhibit on September 16th.

We fully expect Canelo’s father-son training duo, Jose Chepo Reynoso and Eddy Reynoso, to have him ready both mentally and physically for this fight. It will come down to Canelo’s ability to control the range, dictate the pace of the fight and avoid GGG’s power, if we wants to be victorious.

Tune into HBO Pay-Per-View on September 16th and watch Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin live from T-Mobile Arena.

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Canelo Alvarez – Highlights