Experts predict winner of Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin

Will Canelo Álvarez earn a decisive win over Gennadiy Golovkin III or will his nemesis close their trilogy series with a victory?

Boxing experts share their predictions:

“Here’s the thing about trilogies in boxing. They’re awesome, because of how unpredictable they can be. I do wonder about that here, in the latest installment of Canelo-GGG. Much has been made about Canelo’s loss to Dmitry Bivol. To me, it’s tough to project that here, beyond the fact he took a beating. It’s possible Bivol was simply too big. Much has also been made about GGG’s last win, and, while I thought he moved a little slower than normal, his thudding shots sent a message, too. I’d imagine that both will be in play on Saturday, and I think the fight will be close, perhaps more like the first installment. But I think that trilogies — and their odd nature — could play a factor, too. To that end, I’m picking Golovkin by 11th-round knockout. Is that crazy? Maybe. Probably. But trilogies always are.”

— Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated senior writer

“If I were betting, I would take Golovkin by decision at +700. Canelo is just too big of a favorite to lay that kind of money on, but he’s younger, still in his prime and I believe he’s better than he was in 2018 when he won their second fight. I believe his counter punching will be the difference in a more clear victory for him. Álvarez by decision.”

— Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports boxing and MMA columnist

“No matter how great you are, there is always somebody that has your number. This rivalry reminds me a lot of Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez and their fourth fight. Pacquiao made history and was a significant favorite despite Marquez having a legitimate argument that he should have never lost to Pacquiao. And then Marquez infamously knocked him out.

“Canelo Álvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin are made for each other and this won’t be the destruction by Canelo that some have anticipated. Canelo’s punch output has diminished considerably over the years while Golovkin is always a busy fighter between the works. We have seen what happens when Canelo is unable to get his way and that was demonstrated by Bivol, who refused to back down and simply outworked Canelo.

“The same thing can happen here. Obviously, GGG is 40, but he’s motivated and ready for what Canelo has to offer. He’s never been knocked down, much less knocked out. He throws plenty of punches. Canelo can’t afford to pick his spots. He has to work, but has his style changed too much over the years? I think this fight is going to be close but Canelo may find himself in a hole that he’s unable to dig himself out of when he realizes that he cannot stop GGG. The judges haven’t always been kind to GGG, but I think he’ll do just enough to finally get a win on the docket. Golovin will defeat Álvarez via split decision.”

— Andreas Hale, Sporting News senior editor for combat sports

Canelo Alvarez lands a punch against Gennady Golovkin during a match on Sept. 15, 2018 in Las Vegas.

(Isaac Brekken / Associated Press)

“I envision another competitive fight. Golovkin is no longer in his prime, but he’s still the best middleweight in the game and he’s still an elite-level punisher if he’s allowed to get into his rhythm. Canelo is just as complete a fighter as GGG, but he’s never been a fast starter, which is what I believe is needed to put Golovkin in check or score what would be a sensational early-round stoppage. Canelo prefers to fight at a comfortable pace and gradually walk down and break down his opposition. I think he knows he can’t bully or intimidate GGG. And Golovkin knows that Canelo can take his best punch and return with equal force. So, there’s a lot of respect between these two future Hall of Fame fighters, even if it’s grudging. I think they’ve prepared for another hard-fought 12 rounds. I believe Canelo will take the early rounds with single eye-catching headshots and a body attack that will earn GGG’s respect (in case the older man tries to start faster than usual). I see Golovkin coming on in the middle rounds (just as he did in their first two bouts). Canelo will welcome the heat and do his best to not only stand his ground, but try to push GGG back on his heels. The late rounds will feature tit-for-tat exchanges. It will be hard, brutal action and both fighters will be marked up. I see Canelo stealing a couple late rounds to earn legitimate scores like 116-112 or 115-113.”

— Doug Fischer, Ring Magazine editor-in-chief

“If Canelo can fight as aggressively as he did during their second fight, and throw many more punches than he did against Bivol, he should out-point Golovkin unanimously in their long-awaited third fight. Golovkin’s granite chin will serve him well. But based on his age, his lack of activity since their rematch four years ago and Álvarez’s history on the scorecards in Las Vegas, it’s tough to envision a Golovkin victory. Álvarez by unanimous decision.

— Keith Idec, BoxingScene.com senior writer and columnist

“I keep trying to apply the ‘Marquez was Pacquiao’s kryptonite’ theory here. I think both are past their prime, but GGG truly looked his age even in knocking out Ryota Murata in April. I still think it will be far more competitive than most seem to believe, enough for GGG to go the distance, but not as close as the first two fights. Canelo by decision.”

— Jake Donovan, BoxingScene.com senior writer

“Yes, Golovkin is a middle-aged boxer, but the power punches are still there and he’s likely motivated for a trilogy bout he’s been waiting for four years. Golovkin will push Álvarez to give boxing fans an instant classic Saturday night. Expect a brawl, but neither fighter will taste the canvas. Álvarez by unanimous decision.”

— Gilbert Manzano, Southern California News Group sports reporter

“Even at 40, Golovkin remains a dangerous opponent for Álvarez — equipped with a pistol jab, plodding power and still, one of the best chins in boxing. Not to mention the confidence required to beat the super middleweight champion, derived from the 24 rounds they shared in 2017 and 2018 — a majority of which Golovkin believes he won. But Álvarez is the younger, fresher, and quite frankly, the more desperate fighter after dropping a decision to Bivol in May. I believe he wins a war Saturday night, breaking Golovkin’s body down during 10 grueling rounds and forcing a stoppage in the championship rounds to end one of the most memorable trilogies of the modern era. Álvarez by 11th-round TKO.”

— Sam Gordon, Las Vegas Review-Journal sports reporter

“I give Golovkin a better chance to beat Álvarez than most people do because once-great fighters sometimes find ways to do one more great thing. However, there are too many factors working against Golovkin in this fight. He’s 40, eight years older than Álvarez. He’s moving up a weight class for the fight. And I believe Álvarez is particularly dangerous coming off his loss to Bivol. Álvarez will gradually break down his rival and stop him late in the fight. Álvarez by 10th-round knockout.”

— Michael Rosenthal, Boxing Junkie (USA Today Sports) editor

“Golovkin represents a good rebound fight for Álvarez as it has the façade of a big-fight feel. Really, this should be a relatively routine win for Canelo, who has been a seemingly unstoppable machine at 168 pounds, against a 40-year-old GGG, who has already lived his better days as a fighter.

“Question marks over Canelo returning to 168 from 175 aren’t as valid as ones regarding potential burnout considering his activity in the past few years, but his overall skill level and being in the prime of his life should far outweigh what Golovkin can offer in the twilight of his career.

“Golovkin could have success in the early rounds as Canelo is a slow starter and, as recently as April, the Kazakh middleweight was throwing 60 to 70 punches per round. Canelo’s bodywork should end up slowing Golovkin, so I’d expect to see him take over in the mid-to-late rounds. In the eyes of fans, Álvarez likely needs a stoppage to erase the memory of Bivol stunning him. But as we see and hear over and over, every great champion has one last great performance in him. Golovkin’s last great performance may well see him take Canelo the distance. From there, who knows what we’ll see on the scorecards? All I want, in all big fights like this, is to see some chaos unfold. History here dictates the chaos will be the decision.”

— Alan Dawson, Business Insider combat sports correspondent

Canelo Alvarez fans

Canelo Álvarez fans gather to support him in Las Vegas on Friday.

(Armando García Parra/LA Times en Español)

“Golovikin hopes to prove, once and for all, that he was right and the judges were wrong, first in 2017 and again in 2018, in a draw and then a narrow scorecard loss to Canelo. He had a good argument then. But now he has only a skill set that has undergone the inevitable erosion that just comes with time. There’s just not much Big Drama left in GGG’s hourglass. He’s 40. Thirteen months ago, another aging legend, 42-year-old Manny Pacquiao, couldn’t overcome time in a loss to a late stand-in, Yordenis Ugas, also at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Time beat Pacquiao. It’ll beat GGG too. Álvarez by unanimous decision.

— Norm Frauenheim, 15Rounds.com and Ring Magazine writer

“Canelo by decision in another exciting and tough fight.”

— Dan Rafael, Fight Freaks Unite founder

“There is a part of me that thinks Golovkin will always be Canelo‘s toughest opponent no matter how old they get. Similar to how Joe Frazier was supposed to be too old the third time he fought Muhammad Ali. Canelo will beat Golovkin, but it won’t be as easy as some think, and it won’t be by knockout. I predict a 116-112 type of fight, and a decision for Álvarez.”

— Roberto José Andrade Franco, ESPN.com feature writer

“A consensus top-five pound-for-pound boxer is fighting a 40-year-old man. This is barely a sporting event. This is a step away from professional wrestling. The fact this is one of the most important fights of the year doesn’t speak well of the boxing fans, who have made it clear they will overpay for whatever crumbs promoters will throw at them, or the current boxing media, which overhypes entirely unremarkable fights and fighters to justify its existence. Golovkin looked awful against the robotic Murata in his most recent fight, showing himself to be the boxing version of last year’s Lakers. Slowed by age, he could only fight in spurts, which created windows for his mediocre opponent to throw and land punches. What’s happening here isn’t a mystery. Canelo was upset GGG accused him of being a drug cheat, so he retaliated by withholding from GGG the most important thing to a prize fighter: A payday. Canelo is now willing to give GGG his money but is extracting something else from him: His pride. In exchange for a massive check, an over-the-hill GGG will subject himself to a humiliating knockout. Everyone knows what’s in the script. I don’t blame the fighters for doing this. I blame everyone else for letting them. Canelo by ninth-round knockout.”

— Dylan Hernández, L.A. Times sports columnist

“Canelo won’t get the knockout he’s seeking, but he’ll be too much for the 40-year-old Golovkin. There’s a reason why Canelo waited four years for this fight. On top of that, Canelo is fighting at his preferred weight class of 168 pounds, while Golovkin has never fought at any weight but 160 pounds. Álvarez by an easy unanimous decision.”

— Jorge Castillo, L.A. Times sports enterprise reporter

“This fight may represent a classic case of last-chance-ism for Triple-G. It is about the only success that has escaped his boxing career. I see Golovkin and quiet fury winning this one.”

— Bill Dwyre, former L.A. Times sports editor

Canelo Alvarez and his trainer Eddy Reynoso show off his championship belts.

Canelo Álvarez, left, and his trainer Eddy Reynoso show off his championship belts.

(Roberto Cortés/Especial para LA Times en Español)

“For the record, I think Canelo lost the first fight against Golovkin and then tied the second meeting. However, Canelo has improved so much since 2018 and is still in his prime. The Mexican world champion is more intelligent, dominant and lethal than the version we saw in the previous two meetings against GGG. Golovkin didn’t have his best performance against Murata, but the circumstances around that fight were unfavorable for him. The only way I see Canelo not winning this fight is if there is something wrong with him physically. Other than that, this could be a knockout or a lopsided decision for Canelo.”

— Eduard Cauich, L.A. Times en Español reporter

“Álvarez will want to re-boost his stock after the loss against Bivol and a convincing win against Golovkin might provide just that. His stock as a powerhouse perhaps wasn’t entirely affected by the loss — since many warned that it was a risky move to go to a higher weight — but the aura of invincibility has taken a hit. Canelo will need to end the trilogy with Golovkin on a high note and that’s with a knockout. GGG has never been knocked down and as proven in the first two fights, it will be a nearly impossible mission, even so with an aging Golovkin. Canelo though, will figure it out and will have one of the best fights of his career that will end up with a KO in the 10th round.”

— Jad El Reda, L.A. Times en Español reporter