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Superfight: Gennady “GGG” Golovkin V Andre “SOG” Ward

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“Blah, BLAH-Blah, BlaH-BLAH, Blaah, Blah, BLAH… All that chit-chat’s gonna get chaaaa- hurt!”

—The Joker, Suicide Squad

                                                                                 ***   ***   ***

There’s a certain red-head who doesn’t “fuck around” in Mexico, with a game in the ring that is no laughing matter. Canelo Alvarez simply sneered when presented with visual evidence of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (basically Memo Heredia’d into what will be the best physical condition of his fighting life), who looks very much like a villainous version of his famous hero-like father at the 30 day checkpoint.

Chavez Jr has put away the weed and big bowls of Fruity Pebbles cereal (and let’s hope those very disturbing Speedos), with real plans on putting away Alvarez on May 6 @T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The two countrymen have about as much regard for each other as Batman and Harley Quinn. “There are many things that he says– stupid, stupid things he never tells you when he’s in front of you,” fired an angry Canelo.

Apparently, a lot of really ‘stupid, stupid things’ are happening to converge on Canelo V GGG not happening. Like… At all. Golovkin wants to fight Billy Joe Saunders on June 10 in Kazakhstan, to truly become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. Unlike Oscar De La Hoya (whose latest excuse is, this is “too risky”), GGG’s not fucking around, for there was a time not long ago when champions fought and defended their titles often. The “Golden Boy” should know, for he built his legend and Golden Boy Promotions itself on risk.

If Canelo V Chavez is to provide some sort of blueprint into how a fight between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo might unfold, then what we saw on March 18 at Madison Square Garden between Triple G and Daniel Jacobs may reveal how another more intriguing scenario might play out: Gennady Golovkin V Andre Ward.

Let’s do this.
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THE MAKING OF ANDRE WARD VS. GENNADY GOLOVKIN

Way before Floyd Mayweather began calling Golovkin “Triple L”, Andre “S.O.G” Ward dubbed the G in 3D as “Lil G”. This, because Golovkin and his cognoscenti (notably, Tom Loeffler) seemed to avoid Ward and the very serious challenge that this would present. When delving a little deeper, that notion doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Prior to late 2016, Ward V Golovkin would’ve been (President Trump voice and mannerisms here why don’t cha) “a financial disaster.” It wasn’t big enough. By the end of summer this year, it will be perfect for fall or winter.

Both are HBO stars endorsed by the Jordan brand with international exposure who see one another as natural adversaries. Ward (as does his fan base) feels GGG is a god-like creation; whereas Triple G– who ultimately chased Daniel out of his Lion’s Den, doesn’t believe the “Son of God” can walk on his water. Canelo V GGG is without question a great fight, but this one has more texture and subplot to it. This is a fight HBO VP of Sports, Peter Nelson, would probably prefer.

As I saw up close and personal for Golovkin V Jacobs (after standing in front of GGG and Jacobs after the fight) Gennady is not really a big middleweight,  essentially facing a true super middleweight in Jacobs a few weeks ago. Weight classes matter so much more than “hardcore casual fans” understand in boxing. Through savvy manipulation to rehydrate to 180 lbs and an incredible super team for combat readiness (which included Ward trainer Virgil Hunter, Ward himself, Bernard Hopkins, Chris Algieri and perhaps the Pentagon), no version of Jacobs ever seen prior was better than what he showed against Golovkin.

Ward is not a light heavyweight. What we saw from Ward against Sergey Kovalev in November 2016, was a big super middleweight who will never again be a natural one. If Andre finds a way to defeat Kovalev in a rematch to avenge victory,  I can see a catchweight to face Golovkin at say, 170 lbs, which would be fair for both sides. Gennady should guillotine Saunders after 5 rounds, to set up a fight that should either satisfy or silence critics unhappy with him [just because] he’s not Andre Ward, Bernard Hopkins or Marvin Hagler.

That is not fair- but that’s the way it is.

WHO WOULD WIN

If he beats Kovalev on June 17 (and I think Ward probably decisions Kovalev clearly this time) a Golovkin superfight would make far more sense than a Canelo fight.

I think Ward is an 80’s fighter and an “old” 33 years old in fight years. 80’s fighters faced optimal competition at younger ages and flamed out faster. Despite his punishing style, Golovkin is an oddly “young” 35 years old, while still meeting the description of a classic 80’s fighter. He just didn’t face better competition than Andre at the pro-level.
Ward showed great signs of attrition during the Kovalev fight and was never more hittable– negative qualities usually exacerbated with time. He was not even the same light heavyweight we saw against what appeared to be a six-pack Bud drinker in Paul Smith, back in June 2015. Ward never looked better physically than he did for Smith (who had some moments despite embarrassingly poor conditioning). Because he’s seen Kovalev and has 36 minutes of data, he’ll know what to expect and avoid. Thus, the rematch just might be boring.
This may be blasphemy for some, but I don’t think Andre Ward can be better or stronger than Daniel Jacobs was against Golovkin if they fought late this year. It remains to be seen what Jacobs will look like after Golovkin, just like we don’t know what Ward will look like after purgatory with Kovalev. But for what he may lack in Andre’s ring savvy and nuance, Jacobs appeared to have more physical talent, power and speed against GGG than Ward did for Kovalev. Should we expect more of Ward against GGG after another 36 minutes of physical theft from a burglar in Kovalev? I don’t think so.
Gennady Golovkin would steal a late rounds stoppage off Andre Ward.

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