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Manny says GGG has slight edge

Sen. Manny Pacquiao expects a humdinger of a fight between unbeaten WBA/WBC/IBF/IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin of Kazakhstan and Mexican challenger Saul (Canelo) Alvarez at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time).

“It’ll be an exciting fight,” said Pacquiao. “Both are heavy-handed. And when you’re fighting someone who’s heavy-handed, the tendency is you change the way you fight because you know you can get hurt. I think they’re about even in speed and power. But Golovkin is more of a pressure fighter. There will be knockdowns because both are capable of landing big shots.”

Asked for a prediction, Pacquiao said Golovkin has a slight edge over Alvarez. “I’m giving Golovkin a 15 percent advantage,” he said. “Alvarez can counter Golovkin with combinations so it won’t be easy either way. A lot will depend on how the fighters adjust to each other. You always go to your strengths like if you’re fighting a taller opponent with an advantage in reach, you use your quickness to move around him and create angles.”

Pacquiao said there’s a slight similarity between Alvarez and Antonio Margarito. Both Mexicans are heavy-handed body punchers but Alvarez is quicker on the draw. In 2010, Pacquiao survived a vicious body shot in the sixth round to outpoint Margarito at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. It seemed like the ropes broke Pacquiao’s fall and prevented a knockdown. But Pacquiao said that wasn’t the case. He was near the ropes and stumbled after losing his footing but the body shot had nothing to do with it.

Former two-time world champion Gerry Peñalosa said it’s a toss-up. “If it ends in a knockout, it’s Golovkin but if it’s a decision, it’s Alvarez, maybe controversial,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Canelo and I really want him to win.  It’ll be a hard fight for both but good for boxing.”

Peñalosa hit the nail on the head when he predicted Floyd Mayweather would stop Conor McGregor in the 10th round of their recent encounter. Now, he’s picking a winner by knockout and a winner by decision. “Both have one-punch knockout power,” he said. “Golovkin’s jab will give problems for Canelo. Quality of opposition and stamina are Canelo’s advantages.”

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Alvarez, 27, has logged 51 fights compared to 37 for Golovkin, 35, and that’s because the Mexican turned pro at 15. In the amateur ranks, Alvarez’ record was 44-2 while Golovkin posted a 345-5 mark, bagging a gold at the 2003 AIBA World Championships and a silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In 2004, Golovkin was in Puerto Princesa to win the middleweight gold at the Asian Championships. Golovkin’s extensive simon-pure experience is the reason for his solid foundation in the basics. Golovkin’s late father was Russian and his mother is Korean.

Alvarez is a former WBC middleweight and WBC/WBO superwelterweight champion whose victims include Miguel Cotto, Sugar Shane Mosley and Amir Khan. His only loss as a pro was to Mayweather by a majority decision in 2013. He has won seven in a row since the Mayweather fight. 

Both Alvarez and Golovkin are coming off wins on points despite their history as knockout finishers. Last May, Alvarez decisioned Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. while last March, Golovkin went the full route in beating Daniel Jacobs. Golovkin’s record is 37-0 with 33 KOs, including 18 in the first three rounds, five in the first. Alvarez has a 49-1-1 slate with 34 KOs, including 14 in the first three rounds, five in the first.

Golovkin’s chin is as strong as granite. He’s never been floored or stopped as an amateur or pro. Alvarez knows that so he’ll focus his attack on the body. He’ll try to slow down Golovkin and turn it into a physical battle of attrition. The Ring Magazine’s Tom Gray picked Alvarez to win by unanimous decision. But it’ll be a challenge to stave off Golovkin who’s smarter and a more proficient technician.

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