Canelo Alvarez (R) and Gennady Golovkin both raise their arms after thinking they had won the bout. (AP: Isaac Brekken)
The rematch is on and controversy has reigned as Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin’s world middleweight title bout with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has ended in a draw.
One judge scored it 115-113 in favour of Golovkin, another 118-110 to Alvarez, and the other 114 apiece, prompting boos in the Las Vegas arena.
An expert’s take
The fight was as good as advertised; one of the most exciting in recent middleweight history. Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez fought fiercely in an exciting high speed chess match.
The only disappointment was the scoring — one judge, Adalaide Byrd, gave 10 of the 12 rounds to Alvarez, in a fight that was clearly much closer, and in which Golovkin was obviously the aggressor.
Alvarez performed better than I thought he would, particularly early in the fight, and managed to survive the ‘GGG’ onslaught — something not many fighters have done.
And it’s hard to be too mad, if the split draw sets up a rematch and we get to see it all again. I just hope the Nevada State Athletic Commission hires new officials for the do-over.
Golovkin, who landed more punches in the match, is still unbeaten over his career, retaining the IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles. But he could not put Alvarez down over 12 rounds, with Alvarez standing his ground throughout.
A frenzied Las Vegas crowd of 22,358 roared throughout the fight as the two middleweights put on the kind of show that boxing purists had anticipated. They brawled, used sharp jabs and counter-punched at times, with neither one willing to give the other much ground.
“Congratulations all my friends from Mexico,” Golovkin said. “I want a true fight. I want a big drama show.”
“Today, people give me draw. I focus on boxing. Look my belts, I’m still champion. I’ve not lost.”
It was a battle from the opening bell as Golovkin tried to walk Alvarez down but often found himself getting hit from sharp counter punches.
“I won seven-eight rounds easily,” Alvarez said.
The fight looked to turn in the fifth round when Golovkin landed a savage hook square on Alvarez’s jaw, prompting the Mexican to shake his head in defiance.
Under the pump on the ropes in the sixth, Alvarez tried a sneaky punch from behind his back, but was immediately called up by the referee.
But it could not stem the flow of landed punches from Golovkin, who proceeded to pin Alvarez on the ropes time and time again with his signature jabs.
Alvarez’s best moment came in the 10th round, landing a heavy one-two on Golovkin before brilliantly defending against a counter-punch in the same motion.
It meant the final three rounds went blow for blow as Alvarez claimed the 11th and 12th, but the drawn result still looked a surprise given Golovkin was the aggressor for much of the contest.
Golovkin predicted before the fight that the late rounds would resemble a street fight, and in a way they did. Both fighters were willing to trade, and both had no problems landing hard shots to the head.
Golovkin had chased Alvarez for nearly two years, trying to get the signature fight that would pay him millions and make him a pay-per-view draw on his own.
Alvarez finally agreed after Golovkin looked vulnerable earlier this year against Daniel Jacobs in a decision win that stopped his knockout streak at 23 fights.