Left-Hook Lounge Mailbag: Gennady G. Golovkin vs Daniel Geale, and A Look at Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s Weight Struggles
Dexter H. (Oakland, CA): I’ve reached the conclusion that GGG is a legitimate problem! I just can’t see this guy losing. What I like is that there are no steroid allegations, or no illegal hand-wrap allegations. Dude is just solid. He wants Cotto next. Do you think Cotto takes the fight? And how do you see that one going down?
Vivek W. (ESB): I admit, it’s becoming harder and harder for me to fight the urge of following his growing fan base in ordaining him as “that guy”! By the term “that guy”, I mean “that guy” who the media begins to conveniently place in sentences next to the words “most feared”, “most dangerous”, “next biggest star”, and “unbeatable”. He’s a heavy handed puncher, he likes to bang, and he’s proven that more often than not, he’ll be the last man standing if his opponent decides to do it with him. I can totally respect that and support him as a growing phenom in the sport. That being said, here’s my thoughts on a showdown between he and Cotto:
I’ll start by saying that both men would enter with a possibility of answering a major questions. Cotto has the world believing he’s back, and basically the Cotto of old. While I love his new-found confidence, I like to remind fans that there’s more to his story. After his loss to Mayweather, he loss to Trout. He took nearly a year off after back to back losses which seemed to be long enough for the world to forget that he hadn’t done too well against formidable, young, healthy opposition prior to. He faced an over-matched Delvin Rodriguez who was 4-5-2 since 2009; then he faced an injury riddled Martinez who had not fought in nearly a year.
If all of that makes Cotto seem suspect, the reason I think a fight with he and GGG could answer many questions is because the history of GGG also presents questions to be answered, which a fighter with confidence like Cotto could help in answering. Lets start by looking at Golovkin’s resume. I think it’s necessary to point out that while Geale is a very spirited fighter, like others in the past, none of GGG’s opponents have been close to a total package. Sometimes I express that view and fans take it personally, but allow me to strip that argument down to the nuts and bolts:
Rosado had great resilience and toughness, but was not very skilled and some would argue “lacking” in his corner. Stevenson was a decent puncher, but vertically challenged, and unable to mount a true attack as a result. (If you think that doesn’t matter, Geale was bigger, and look how small he looked compared to GGG). Then you have a guy like Geale, who has a decent resume and proven toughness, but at the first sign of adversity, he touched the canvass and failed to recover. That’s (3) different men who all fell short, and similarly, all (3) were long shots in the minds of oddsmakers.
When will we see him in a fight where the oddsmakers have to scratch their head a little? When will we see him in a fight where we see him tested beyond one or two power punches per round for the first two rounds? Skills fighters are known to avoid punishment. But brawlers? Yes, there’s a need for validation! Absolutely. I think he’s absolutely worthy of all the love he’s receiving. But make no mistake about it:
the only way he can shed his doubters is by facing a top name and doing to them what we’ve seen him do to so many others. Which is punish them. Win, lose, or draw, if he can punish a top opponent and go the distance in a hard fought battle, he will remain victorious. Until then, critics will have a reason to question him, as this is the sports only true honorary rite of passage!
Rudolf L. (Manhattan, NY): You were quick to support those who questioned Pacquiao on the steroids topic, yet you haven’t said a word about GGG. He walks thru competition like nothing, past opponents have questioned his gloves, and physically, there are signs that seem to be synonymous with potential usage. Why haven’t you touched this topic now like you have in the past?
Vivek W. (ESB): This is a classic scenario where I think hype can go from being a good thing, to a very bad one. I won’t reopen the can of worms from the Pacquiao/Mayweather scenario, but as it relates to this case, similarly, we have a guy who is being touted as larger than life in some circles, and anytime (in this era) when you have that invincible mantra attached to a fighter, you’re gonna be met with this type of question. Deontay Wilder has a higher KO percentage than GGG. Do we hear that question attached to him? NO. Because he isn’t being pushed by a starving network looking to build it’s next star as it witnesses the end of an era in the career of its previous star.
Personally, prior to your question, I’ve never really given thought to the possibility of GGG using any performance enhancers, because I don’t see him doing anything that would warrant that. When we look back at the history of the sport, I can name several big punchers that walked through meaningless competition with loopholes like Swiss cheese; only to reach the top flight of stairs and fail to escape the building alive! Tyson was a beast! What happened when he faced top echelon competition? Foreman was a beast. How’d that work for him in the end? Pavlik and Trinidad were considered east, but an “old man” with skills sapped every ounce of their will. Should I go on?
GGG has done a helluva job carving up the competition like yesterdays Thanksgiving turkey, but until I see him do this against top level competition, considering that no one in the past has against the elite level, I won’t be the one to ask this question. In Pacquiao, we saw things that the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson and no one else had ever come close to, and in a very devastating fashion. To support those claims, as testing intensified, those superior acts became less and less visible. In the case of GGG, in this very same division, we saw both Pavlik and Abraham start out in a similar fashion. What happened when they reached the peak (of the division)?
I do find his power astonishing, and I don’t have a problem with a fan who wants to see him tested. That being said, I won’t be the one to champion that cause, as he isn’t doing anything I haven’t seen before. Of all the guys on his resume, there’s only one with an iron-will that I can point to, and that one guy wasn’t viewed as the best, but he took him the deepest. That was Kassim Ouma, who went 10 rounds with him. The top echelon is filled with guys tougher than Kassim, who also bring better skills and better power. Let me see what he does on that level before I start to ask whether or not he’s up to something.
Rene O. (Elizabeth, NJ): Why is no one calling Canelo out for fighting as a Jr. Middleweight, yet weighing in at 155lbs for a few fights in a row now, and basically saying he has no plans of going north in weight?
Vivek W. (ESB): I think it’s actually a very fascinating topic. In an era of the sport when we see both media and fans alike so skeptical about certain things, and questioning so many things, you have to really ask yourself why hasn’t anyone raised this question? Some would say that the sport is protecting him as an affinity to ODH, but they certainly didn’t take it easy on Oscar himself when things weren’t going so well for him. So I don’t think that’s it, totally. I think what it really comes down to is less about the promoter, and more about the sport just not previously having anything bad to say about Canelo and pretty much giving him a pass as a result.
It always fascinates me to see who the sport will turn on and who it will protect. Pacquiao was a media darling for years. Suddenly, he became what I like to call a “prestigious afterthought”, losing his luster, yet occasionally finding a way to breed a little positive curiosity. Mayweather is the man most loved to hate, but despite the fans trashing him from time to time, the mainstream American media shows a high level of respect, only casting stones in the innuendo fashion, as opposed to the more overt form once seen against him. Then you have guys like Marquez and Canelo, who despite certain rumors and questions surrounding them, you never really get the full whirlwind of negativity.
Many view the fact that these guys speak little English as a negative thing. Perhaps, in an odd way, it benefits them. In recent years, Tito Trinidad has seen some very tough challenges, monetarily, and has been all in the news over in Puerto Rico as a result of it. Here in the U.S., the only reason we heard it mentioned was because he came to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In Mexico, the past has shown us that it has to be something hot and heavy to see the American media entertain their fighters into controversy. Margarito was knee deep in scandal, but after the fire, it went away, only mentioned by disgruntled fans.
Chavez Jr. popped on test, (marijuana), had DUI’s, and all kind of things. After the initial talks, we never heard about it again. Canelo is heralded as a budding star that carries the torch for his country. That being said, they certainly aren’t gonna make it an issue over there. Here in America, the fact that there’s limited conversation with him or about him when he isn’t in the ring could explain why there’s little talk about it now. If Canelo was walking the streets of America on a daily basis, talking to American media, and living on American soil, I think we’d be hearing more about this. For now he’s safe. But when the American media finds a reason to pick him apart, we’ll hear about it! Stay tuned.
(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be heard every Tuesday night on “Left-Hook Lounge Radio”, or reached directly at 954.770.9807, Twitter (@vivekwallace007), Instagram (ViveksView), or Facebook).