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Canelo vs Golovkin 3 prediction: Even the intangibles favor one

Lee Cleveland Updated
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When middleweight stars Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin face-off for the third time, the former will be the solid favorite.

Canelo, who will be 30 should Canelo vs Golovkin 3 happen in September, is 8 years younger, is believed to be in his prime or closer to it and has performed better in recent fights. Moreover, he won their first rematch, albeit via a close decision verdict.

On paper, Canelo is obviously the favorite; But what do the intangibles tell us?



difficult or impossible to define or understand; vague and abstract; a value not precisely measurable.

For example, a fighter's attitude or presumed disposition prior to the bout is not measurable even though it factors into the outcome. Sometimes the stats will favor one fighter while the intangibles point to the other.

For Canelo vs Golovkin 3, the sheer numbers, including stats and facts, favor Alvarez as do the intangibles.

Canelo vs Golovkin 3 Intangible No. 1 - Training and promotional changes

A shock to many, Golovkin, in early 2019, fired longtime trainer Abel Sanchez who had guided him to a near perfect run over 10 or so years and was his biggest cheerleader and advocate. Sometimes, when a successful fighter does this it's a bad sign. Either he thinks he no longer needs tutelage or he's trying to blame someone else for his own faults or a recent performance.

Mike Tyson, at his peak, fired then longtime trainer Kevin Rooney and was never the same again. And when Sugar Ray Leonard let Angelo Dundee go after the win over Marvelous Marvin Hagler, the Sugarman would struggle in every subsequent fight.

Conversely, Lennox Lewis fired his longtime trainer Pepe Correa in favor of Emanuel Steward and raised his game as a result; But unlike GGG, Lewis had very obvious, well-documented flaws. And sure, Tyson Fury recently replaced Ben Davison with Sugar Hill Steward but the former was a relatively new trainer himself who had not guided Fury through the ranks.

Sometimes a new trainer with different philosophies can confuse a fighter. In the ring, the fighters' instinct tells him to do one thing but he's being trained to do something very different that doesn't come as naturally.

For years, Golovkin did things Abel Sanchez's way and that strategy had been very successful. Now, under Johnathon Banks, GGG, at 37 then, started learning some things different that may not be as instinctive.

In his return bout last July against the unheralded Steve Forbes, we saw GGG eat some buzzing shots before ending matters via a one-punch KO in Round 4.

And we saw what happened to Golovkin in his most recent bout against Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Against Forbes, perhaps GGG was rusty from the long layoff and still adjusting to a his tweaked game. And maybe Derevyanchenko is THAT good.

Bottomline: Golovkin appears to be following the pattern of previous greats, like Tyson, who replaced the training team who took him to the mountain top with a cheaper, less qualified team with an altogether different approach.

Canelo vs Golovkin 3 Intangible No. 2 - GGG's (Perceived) New Attitude

Once the modest darling of the sport, GGG seems a bit brash and indignant these days.

And what was up with the shades he sported indoors while attending Canelo's fight with Kovalev last November.


Guys like Floyd Mayweather, Adrien Broner and Kovalev can get away with that but not Golovkin. That's not a good look for him and it's not who he is.

Not only are we seeing diminished skills in the ring, we're seeing a new character outside the ring.

Is he second guessing his previous demeanor? Is Golovkin going through a pre mid-life crisis? Have the two fights with Canelo, including the first fight which he clearly deserved to win, turned him into a bitter and resentful person.

And let's not forget, he was widely booed when interviewed that night. He'd never been booed before.

Has Golovkin turned into a proverbial 'bad boy?'

Regardless, something has changed. And it's probably not for the better.

Canelo vs Golovkin 3 Intangible No. 3 - Hidden Wear and Tear on GGG

In October, we saw Golovkin look vulnerable for the first time in his career in his narrow, somewhat controversial points win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

Is the great GGG slowing down?

The axiom 'get old overnight' refers to aging fighters who appear to be in top form and then, in one fight, look like a shell of themselves without prior warning.


And let's not forget that Golovkin's last 7 professional fights have been anything but a cakewalk.

Won UD 12 Sergiy Derevyanchenko
Oct 5, 2019

Won KO 4 Steve Rolls
Jun 8, 2019

Lost MD 12 Canelo Alvarez
Sep 15 2018

Won KO 2 Vanes Martirosyan
May 05 2018

Draw SD 12 Canelo Alvarez
Sep 16 2017

Won UD 12 Daniel Jacobs
Mar 18 2017

Won KO 5 Kell Brook
Sep 10 2016


Most aging fighters, of course, decline gracefully and over time a la Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya. But yes, fighters have been known to 'hit a brick wall' when no one saw it coming. Roy Jones Jr is a fine example.

Are his 350+ amateur bouts and all of the training sparring in preparation for them catching up with Gennady Golovkin?

Fighters with long amateur careers, like Roy Jones, Jr, tend to hit a brick wall in their mid to late 30s.

Often overlooked and sometimes mistaken for advanced age is the accumulation of wear and tear on a fighter's body, which arguably plays an even bigger role than age in his demise.

Canelo vs Golovkin 3 prediction: GGG faces an uphill battle. I predicted a Golovkin win in their first two bouts but should they fight in September 2020, I like Canelo via a late stoppage in a very competitive fight.

For Canelo vs Golovkin 3, the sheer numbers, including stats and facts, favor Alvarez as do the intangibles.

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