Forget about heavyweight prima donnas and lightweight pound-for-pound prospects, the biggest fight in boxing is the grudge rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the undisputed middleweight crown this Saturday in Vegas.
On the undercard, and hoping to challenge the winner of the main event in the near future, are David Lemieux and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan, who are set to duke it out over some bad blood.
Elsewhere, Jaime Munguia and Brandon Cook, in another bout likely to be bang full of action.
Golovkin v Alvarez – Bet Now
Golovkin is not happy and maybe he’s even angry. The stone-cold killer-type has lost respect for Canelo for the drugs/contaminated meat scandal, he’s frustrated with the Mexican’s tactics in the first fight and he’s upset that this career defining bout has come when he’s 36 years old.
After the pre-fight weigh-ins, the HBO 24/7 show and the couple of million interviews with both men we’ve learned that there is now genuine animosity between the pair and that Alvarez may be in fractionally even more incredible shape than 12 months ago.
Last time out Canelo didn’t do the 30 and five-day pre-fight weigh-ins because, presumably, he would’ve been a bit too chunky. This time he is lean and on-weight well in advance of fight night.
The first contest was scored a draw but almost everybody had Golovkin winning by at least a couple of rounds. The Kazakh dominated with his jab, but he recorded an all-time low number for body connects. The single best way for ‘GGG’ to improve is to target the midsection and put the breaks on Canelo getting on his bike.
Team ‘Triple G’ have been literally begging for Alvarez to fight “Mexican-style” (have an absolute tear-up) because they know that’s their best chance of winning, but I believe they are preparing for Canelo to run – and run he will.
Of course, the native of Guadalajara says he’s going to knock out ‘GGG’, but I reckon being trim is part of a plan to be more active and load-up less. After gassing a bit in the middle sessions of the original contest Alvarez adjusted to Golovkin’s style and rallied in the championship rounds.
This is probably the most I’ve ever discussed ‘Triple G’ without mentioning that he punches like a mule kicks, and there’s a good chance he’ll hurt his rival, but Golovkin is probably just past his prime and he is used to being more active than he has been recently.
This rematch is a really close call and you could bet on the split decision, 4/1, or mixed decision, 6/1, results without having to pick a side. Golovkin is the good guy and most fans want him to win – I want him to win – but I think Canelo’s busyness and accuracy will just get him the nod.
Bet of the bout: Alvarez to win on points at 15/8.
Lemieux v O’Sullivan – Bet Now
If we aren’t assured of a bloody battle in the main event, the chief support is set for trench warfare. Lemieux and O’Sullivan both have big power and both fight on the front foot, and judging by their social media correspondence, I don’t think they like each other much.
For Spike, 34, this is probably his final shot at the big time. The Cork man is in great shape and he’s on run of five consecutive stoppage wins.
The Canadian’s form is more patchy: he was absolutely schooled by Billy Joe Saunders in December, he’s only scored one KO win in his last five and judging by his online profile he’s enjoyed his summer holidays a little too much.
However, the full records of the men reveal a gulf in class. Lemieux has been in with some of the best and although he’s lost a few he’s also won a world title. The only two times O’Sullivan has stepped up, against Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr, he hasn’t won a round.
Lemieux has only stopped one opponent after round 7 in his whole career and that technically injury retirement. Spike is strong enough to give-and-take with Lemieux for the full 12 hard rounds.
Bet of the bout: Lemieux to win on points at 7/2.
In the four short months since Munguia was blocked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission from taking on ‘GGG’ because he was too inexperienced, the Mexican mugged light middleweight champion Sadam Ali for his belt in May and then defended his strap comprehensively against Britain’s Liam Smith in July.
Now Munguia is going to Vegas, with his middle finger firmly raised to the Commission, as the leading contender to take on the winner of Golovkin-Canelo. The 21-year-old champ obviously has to do the business this Saturday first, but Paddy doesn’t think the result is in doubt and make the champ a 1/40 favourite.
Cook is a rudimentary, come-forward fighter who is probably best known outside of his native Canada for being pencilled in as a tune-up opponent for Kell Brook in July. That bout was canned when Brook got injured, making Cook available for Munguia’s second quick-fire title defence.
Before meeting the savvy Smith brother, Munguia stopped 19 of 20 opponents within six rounds – a record that stretched back to 2015 when the Mexican was only 18. Cook fancies himself as a puncher and that confidence could lead to a quick defeat. I’m tipping Munguia to win in rounds 1-2 at 6/1.
The bonus bout between Roman Gonzalez and Moises Fuentes is a fight to stay relevant in the super flyweight division.
Two years ago ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez was widely considered to be the pound-for-pound number one after going unbeaten in 46 contests and winning titles in four weight classes, and then he was battered twice in succession.
Whether ‘Chocolatito’ lost motivation, came up against guy who is just too big and too strong, or is actually washed up at age 31, remains to be seen.
A prime Gonzalez would warrant his tag as the huge favourite for this Saturday but with the question marks hanging over the former champ the 8/1 price for Fuentes to win are too good to ignore.
- Bet summary: A double on the two best bets of the bouts pays out at approximately 11/1 with Paddy Power
*All odds correct at time of posting