The rematch was even closer than their first encounter, but this time the judges saw enough to declare a winner.
Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) claimed the WBA and WBC middleweight titles with a majority decision win over Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) in Saturday’s main event rematch at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. One judge scored the fight a 114-114 draw, while the other two scored it 115-113 in Alvarez’s favor.
This was the second meeting between the two boxing superstars, with their first ending in a controversial split draw 12 months ago.
It was the counter-minded Alvarez who appeared to get the better of the early rounds as he used crisp body work to wear Golovkin down and prevent the hard-hitting Kazakh from following up on his potent jab. He repeatedly landed hooks to Golovkin’s ribcage, while avoiding the worst of the defending champion’s power punches.
As the fight went on, Alvarez remained steady while Golovkin appeared to get frustrated at moments, beckoning Alvarez to be more aggressive. After six rounds, it seemed as if Alvarez’s approach was paying off. Golovkin continued to head hunt while Alvarez backed him off with body shots and a counter left hook.
However, Golovkin found his second wind in the latter half of the bout and his combinations started to flow. While Canelo didn’t shy away from trading with him, Golovkin connected with straight punches and his trusty jab was still proving to be effective.
Round 10 was where Golovkin, the owner of 34 career KOs, started to shine and it looked like he was starting to convincingly pull away in what had been a close fight up to that point. He had Canelo on the defensive for almost the entirety of the 10th frame, and carried much of that spirit into the 11th where he matched Canelo punch-for-punch and then some.
It was in round 12 that Canelo sensed that the fate of the bout could rest on those final three minutes and he upped his output to match Golovkin’s. He slipped punches while going back to the body and didn’t back down when he and Golovkin brawled. Near the end, he even appeared to get the better of the in-close exchanges.
That closing effort looked to play a key role in the judges’ final decision, which resulted in Canelo handing Golovkin the first loss of his 40-fight career.
Post-match, Canelo was asked if he would be willing to take on Golovkin a third time given the incredibly close nature of the first two contests and while he said he would like to enjoy this victory, he would be open to a trilogy if that’s what the fans demanded.
See the full results from the undercard and preliminary bouts here.