With the ‘Fight of the Decade’ finally arriving this weekend after what feels like an impossible wait, WBN spoke exclusively to the current English middleweight champion, ‘Smokin’ Joe Mullender (10-2), to get his expert view on mega-fight at the middleweight – a division he knows inside out after five-years in the pro ranks.
The 31-year-old from Essex, who next challenges for the IBF East/West European middleweight title in November, explained why he is predicting the fearsome Kazakh to prevail this Saturday night:
“It’s got to be the best fight out there right now. If you liked Anthony Joshua’s fight with Wladimir Klitchsko then you’ll love watching this one!
It’s been called ‘Supremacy’ because it will be a contest between two of the world’s best fighters to decide who is the new number 1 pound-for-pound king of boxing when Mexico’s Saul Alvarez (49-1-1 34KO’s) challenges Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin (37-0 33KO’s) for his four middleweight titles – WBA Super, WBC, IBF and IBO – at the T-Mobile Arena this Saturday 16th September.
I’ll be setting my alarm to get up in the early hours of Sunday morning to watch!
People are talking a lot about Golovkin’s last performance, narrowly winning on points against Danny Jacobs, and mistakenly using that as a benchmark. He wasn’t completely convincing in his last fight but he started ferociously, as he always does, knocked Jacobs down and it looked to go the same way as all his fights but “The Miracle Man” woke up and started boxing back.
Let’s not forget that Jacobs was a world champion with 29 knockouts from 32 wins. People that are down-talking “GGG’s” performance are ignoring how great the opponent was and that’s just wrong.
Then, there’s the fight against Brook before that, which a lot of critics are also using against “Triple G”. I’m sure he could have used his boxing skills if he had wanted to but instead he chose to walk through the welterweight’s punches, that clearly didn’t bother him, in order to walk him down, close off the ring and land his own shots that subsequently shattered his eye-socket and finished the fight in the fifth-round.
Apparently, Golovkin had flu in that fight with Kell so was probably not quite himself which is perhaps why he chose to walk through the storm and end the fight as quickly as possible.
He is a few years older than Canelo but I don’t agree that he is ageing yet. He can box when he wants to, which he did against David Lemieux tremendously well.
Regardless of any of this, Canelo is a different animal to all those previous opponents. He will engage a lot more against Golovkin than Jacobs or Brook did. With him opening up and throwing his punches in numbers, like he does, it will create chances for Golovkin to strike.
Canelo could win by out-boxing him but I just can’t see that happening. Skills could favour a Canelo victory with the right game plan but the power lies with Golovkin.
As Canelo has not been in with anyone the same size or strength as Golovkin, I think that power will be the deciding factor in this fight.
Canelo’s recent wins were against Amir Khan, who is a light-welterweight, and Chavez Jr who was fighting at the wrong weight.
I don’t believe that Canelo can trade with Golovkin and come out on top or untouched.
Canelo has been hurt before and out-boxed so I see him as the more vulnerable of the pair.
Saul Alvarez is flying the flag for Mexico, a country that loves their boxing. He is a superstar over there in South America and probably been involved in bigger fights than his opponent in terms of viewership and build-ups. The fight with Mayweather in 2013 was a massive affair and since then, despite losing, he has actually become an even bigger star.
Even though Golovkin hasn’t been in as many high-profile fights, the magnitude of this bout will not affect either of them in the slightest.
It is a huge occasion and people are expecting to see the ‘Fight of the Year’ but they are both consummate professionals and pound-for-pound superstars, so they are far too experienced for the size and expectation of this contest to bother them in any way. It simply doesn’t come into it, they can both handle the pressure.
Despite being unbeaten with an 89% KO ratio, Golovkin is not yet the superstar that Canelo is but he will be after this fight.
The reason I say that is because I believe that Golovkin will win by late stoppage.
As I already said, strength wins this one. They are both great fighters but one has been rocked before and now goes up against a fully-fledged middleweight who has never been hurt and happens to have one of the hardest punches in the game!
Billy Joe Saunders v Willie Munroe Jr is on the same night in London so I’ll be interested in seeing that fight as well, with the only other middleweight belt on the line – the WBO.
You would have to back Billy Joe to win that with his superior ability. It will, no doubt, be a big test for Bill but if he comes through it then he deserves a shot at the winner of Canelo v Golovkin.
The middleweights are always an exciting division but the fights that are on this weekend shows just how great the weight category is right now. It’s rare to get two greats such as Canelo and Golovkin together at the same time so I’m really pleased to be a part of such an exciting era.
My next fight in November will be for the IBF European middleweight title so winning that would put me amongst the top 15 in the world rankings.
Without looking past my next fight, just a couple of successful defences of that belt and I could be within touching distance of fighting the winner of this weekend’s fight in Vegas.
Whether it’s Canelo or Golovkin, or even Billy Joe, I would fight anyone who has got that IBF title if I’m given the shot. I’ve worked hard for all the opportunities I’ve been given so I’ve got a real chance of getting myself into that position.
A fighter should fight anyone and I think they would all be as hard a fight as each other but I’d probably rather fight “GGG” because I wouldn’t have to go looking for him. Canelo and Billy Joe could use their feet and fight off the back-foot to make life difficult for me.
I’d like to wish all the middleweights fighting this weekend the very best of luck!”
Follow Joe on Twitter @joe_mullender