Canelo v Golovkin: Boxing’s big names make predictions – including Amir Khan and Billy Joe Saunders

Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin take to the Las Vegas stage once more as they complete an iconic trilogy this weekend, four years after their last encounter. 

The once amicable sparring partners are now fierce rivals having shared the ring on two prior occasions, with Canelo escaping with a split-decision draw in their first fight – one most believe Golovkin won – before claiming a closer but still contentious majority-decision win the following year. 

Canelo has transcended into a global phenom since their 2018 rematch, making history by becoming the first-ever undisputed super-middleweight champion last year with quickfire victories over Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant. 

Canelo Alvarez (L) and Gennady Golovkin (R) go head-to-head for a third time this weekend

Canelo and Golovkin shared a controversial draw in their first encounter back in 2017

Canelo lifted by his team and he held a finger to his lips as if to silence those who doubted him

The pair shared a controversial draw in their first encounter back in 2017 (left) before Canelo claimed a contentious majority-decision win in their 2018 rematch (right)

The pound-for-pound star fell short against light-heavyweight technician Dmitry Bivol in May, however, and now faces another legacy-defining bout ahead of a potential rematch against the Russian next year. 

Golovkin meanwhile has been significantly less active, though unifying the middleweight division as he stopped Ryota Murata earlier in the year. And at 40 years old, there are fears the great Kazakh won’t be quite as competitive this time. 

Here, Sportsmail brings you all the big fight predictions from the sport’s stellar names ahead of Saturday night’s enticing Vegas showdown.

Amir Khan

‘I see Canelo stopping Triple G,’ Khan stated, per Boxing Scene. ‘Look, a lot of people are going to have things to say about this: “Ah, Amir doesn’t know s*** about boxing”. But you know what the thing is, I really think that. It’s my opinion.

‘Everybody has their own opinion. So it’s a third fight. You got to remember that Canelo is at the peak of his career. You get me? He’s old. He’s strong.

‘He’s settled now. His weight is amazing. He holds the weight well.

Amir Khan was knocked out by Canelo in 2016 and believes Golovkin will be stopped this time

Amir Khan was knocked out by Canelo in 2016 and believes Golovkin will be stopped this time

‘Power, speed. I think in that fight, I could see Canelo [stopping Golovkin]. No disrespect to Triple G – what a beast he is – but you’ve got to remember he’s getting older, and he’s been in the game for a long time.

‘He was in the same Olympics as me in ’04. I just feel like Canelo is the fresher guy that hasn’t been in that many wars.’


Billy Joe Saunders

‘I think they’ve waited for the right time to get Golovkin, he’s 40 years of age,’ Saunders told talkSPORT.

‘Obviously, the two fights previously were two good fights but I just think the age factor now has just crept in a little bit more than it did a few years ago.

‘It’s very clever from Canelo’s team, coming off a loss and then looking very good against Golovkin. I think the age factor is going to lead to the old man legs coming into [play] and maybe even a stoppage.

‘Age is a big factor in this fight now. The man is 40 years of age, and you can’t really expect him to roll back the clock to five or 10 years ago when he was at his best.

‘I’ve got to go with a Canelo win. Maybe from rounds 8-12 stoppage.’


Andy Ruiz Jr 

‘I think Canelo beat GGG twice and I think he’s going to beat him a third time,’ Ruiz Jr told FightHype. ‘I don’t see anyone beating Canelo at his weight.’ 

He continued: ‘He’s [Canelo] undefeated at 168 pounds. I know people say Golovkin is very good, that he will be the best, but he is always focused, strong and trains hard.

Andy Ruiz Jr (right) insists fellow Mexican Canelo will claim another victory over Golovkin

Andy Ruiz Jr (right) insists fellow Mexican Canelo will claim another victory over Golovkin

‘He comes from a loss, but many people don’t understand why he lost.

‘He faced someone bigger, he took a risk. For me he didn’t lose, he was just looking for something and he didn’t get it.’


Ryan Garcia

‘I feel whoever loses that fight will have to retire for sure,’ he told DAZN. 

‘I feel like I think GGG is going to have an amazing fight someway, somehow. 

‘Of course, the obvious pick is Canelo, but I just have a sense that GGG is going to have a performance of a lifetime. I’m gonna say GGG.’


Eddie Hearn

‘I’m telling you now, when that bell rings at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, these two will not take a step back,’ Hearn said during The DAZN Boxing Show. 

‘They will go to absolute war in this trilogy. And this fight will not go 12 rounds.

Promoter Eddie Hearn (centre) believes there is 'no way' the trilogy bout goes 12 rounds

Promoter Eddie Hearn (centre) believes there is ‘no way’ the trilogy bout goes 12 rounds

‘No way. No way this time. And you’re gonna see the best of the three fights. 

‘Forget about Bivol. Forget about [Gilberto] Ramirez. All eyes on Las Vegas.’


Robert Garcia

‘After Canelo’s last performance, I think he’s going to come back stronger and try and knockout GGG,’ Robert Garcia told Fight Hub TV. ‘But I think GGG could return with his last big performance and surprise the world. That could make for a great fight.

‘I’m still picking Canelo by maybe a late-round stoppage, but it’s going to be interesting to see what GGG brings to the fight. It could happen. GGG has got a great jab, great skills, power, so anything can happen.

‘If he lands the right punch or if he uses his jab and fights smart, controlling the fight with his jab, he could pull off a decision, especially against someone like GGG. It’s not like it’s a mismatch. It’s a very close fight.

‘Can GGG pull it off? Of course. Do I think Canelo wins? I think Canelo wins by a late-round stoppage, but I wouldn’t be surprised if GGG surprises the world.’


Carl Frampton

Writing in a column for The Belfast Telegraph, Frampton said: ‘Golovkin is now 40 and doesn’t look to be the same fighter as he once was at the peak of his powers. Golovkin did stop Ryota Murata in a unification last time out, but he didn’t look great early on and was having some problems. 

‘The one person none of us can beat is Father Time and this fight just seems a few years too late for him to have a real chance of winning.

Pundit Carl Frampton believes Canelo will claim a decisive win this time

Pundit Carl Frampton believes Canelo will claim a decisive win this time

‘While this is Canelo’s first fight since losing to Dmitry Bivol back in May, that was a step up in weight class against a very good light-heavyweight and it just shows how fickle some people can be to start to question whether he is now on the slide.

‘That fight was just a step too far for him in terms of moving up the divisions and I think he is far from done. In fact, I would consider these to be his prime years and I just can’t make an argument for Golovkin here despite what happened in the first two meetings between the pair.

‘In my view, the people who think Canelo is out of his prime are wrong and he will prove it. I would like to see Golovkin win, but I feel this is going to be the most decisive victory for Canelo given where they now find themselves in their careers.’


Juan Manuel Marquez

‘It’s motivating for Canelo to have lost to Bivol, because another defeat for a fighter like him would not be good’, Marquez told Marca. 

‘In the second fight with Golovkin he showed that he can beat him in the centre of the ring, in the second fight he deciphered his style and he’s going to beat him.

‘By speed, counter punches and combinations, so he’s not going to withstand the onslaught of the Mexican. Canelo is going to win by knockout.’


Tony Bellew

Bellew says Canelo will not be negatively affected by his defeat to Dmitry Bivol

Bellew says Canelo will not be negatively affected by his defeat to Dmitry Bivol

‘In the biggest fight of 2013 by quite a distance, Canelo was taken to school by [Floyd] Mayweather in front of a massive audience on what he thought would be his grand arrival,’ Bellew wrote in his DAZN column.

‘That kind of defeat would ruin many boxers, but not Canelo. He may not have what it takes to beat a legendary figure like Mayweather, but what he does have has made him the fighter he is today. 

‘On Saturday night, against Golovkin, Canelo will once again have the eyes of the world on him as he looks to add another great win to the long list of accomplishments he already possesses. 

‘That might not have seemed possible in the immediate aftermath of his loss to Floyd Mayweather. 

But as he proved then, and he’ll likely prove after going down against Bivol, this is a man who won’t be defined by losses.’


Bernard Hopkins 

When asked for his prediction by Little Giant Boxing, Hopkins said: ‘I’m predicting Canelo will find his groove and then get a stoppage in the sixth or seventh round.

‘It could be either one [body or head stoppage], but it looks like it will be a beat down [for Canelo over GGG].

‘I think it’ll be a liver shot, and that’s going to happen in the first four rounds.

‘Canelo is a good body shot guy that wears you down, and then the head [of Golovkin] will be exposed to do what he wants to do. But that’s where it’ll start from.

‘It’ll start from the bottom in bringing the head down. It will be a stoppage, but it’ll start from the body.’


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