In 24 rounds of boxing, little has separated Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. But this time — unlike in their first meeting in September of 2017 — the judges did render a decision. And it went in favor of the challenger, as Alvarez bested Golovkin through 12 punishing, superb rounds to win by majority decision and capture the WBA and WBC middleweight titles at T-Mobile arena on Saturday night.
The rematch began much as the first bout did — with each fighter pacing themselves and much of the action taking place in the center of the ring. But Alvarez began to take control in the middle rounds, with consistent body punching appearing to wear down Golovkin in the middle third of the contest.
But then came the 10th round, and a thunderous overhand right from Golovkin, which swung the proceedings back in his direction. He went on to take the 11th on all three scorecards. The 12th, however, was another matter. Judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld gave Alvarez the nod in a very close 12th, and that proved to be the difference, as Alvarez prevailed by a slender 115-113 margin on two of the cards.
Up next, Canelo vs. GGG 3? Alvarez, perhaps somewhat surprisingly given the pre-fight rancor, seemed open to the idea during his postfight remarks. As for Golovkin, he stormed off to his dressing room, and did not speak after the bout — likely bitter that he once again did not get the decision, despite outlanding Alvarez 234-202 according to the statistics tracking website CompuBox.
These two may not have many other options, though. Daniel Jacobs (who lost a close decision to Golovkin in March 2017) and Billy Joe Saunders loom as potential opponents for both men. But the biggest payday, by far, would come with a third and final chapter. The guess here is, after some time to cool off, Golovkin will come around to the idea of completing the trilogy. This match is certainly worth seeing one more time.
Judge Glenn Feldman 114-114
Judge Dave Moretti 115-113 Alvarez
Judge Steve Weisfeld 115-113 Alvarez
The crowd erupts as Alvarez wins a narrow decision, and is the new World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council middleweight champion of the world. The GGG camp will likely be just as upset about this decision as they were last time. But this was one was very, very close.
Massive right uppercut by Golovkin to open the closing frame sends Alvarez’s sweat flying nearly to the front row. The fight is clearly on the table here, and both men know it. Each is landing heavy shots. This is the best Alvarez has looked since the definitive 10th round, but it may not be enough. A big left hook and a right hook land in succession for the champion. Alvarez is back to throwing arm punches. Meanwhile, the champion still has his power — as Alvarez’s body work did not do enough to rob the champion of his power.
Despite the bad blood, there is clearly respect between the two, as Golovkin opens his arms to hug Alvarez, and the challenger, after a moment’s hesitation, returns the gesture. Excellent show of sportsmanship.
Golovkin gets the decision on this card, 115-113. Part three, anyone?
Golovkin takes his time here to open the 11th. But he appears to be in control now. Alvarez has just been flailing away for the past few moments, throwing arm punches. Halfway through the round, Golovkin launches another furious rally, bringing the fans to their feet. Alvarez takes the punches well, and he’s showed a tremendous chin. But that chin did not win him the 11th round. Golovkin takes the lead going to the 12th. 105-104 Golovkin.
Big right hand over the top for Golovkin! Easily his best punch of the fight, perhaps the best shot of this competitive two-fight series. Alvarez responds with a good combination with his back to the ropes to get out of trouble. But this might be a defining moment of the fight. Golovkin shakes his head after Alvarez lands a shot, and the challenger does appear to have lost some steam on his punches. A strong left hook by Golovkin in the closing seconds punctuates a huge 10th round for the champion. 95-95
Golovkin lands a big right hand over the top, his best punch in several rounds. Already wary of going to the scorecards after the controversial decision in the first fight, he cannot feel good about his position here in the rematch. But he’s come on strong here in the ninth, letting his hands go a little bit more than he had been. Alvarez thwarts the rally late to the delight of the sold-out, partisan crowd. But the champion recovers nicely here to take the round and keep the deficit from getting too big. 86-85 Alvarez.
Here we go. This is what the fans came for. The two trade blows at the center of the ring, with Alvarez getting the better of the exchange. Outstanding left hook to the body by Alvarez, which Golovkin clearly seemed to feel. The champion righted the ship in the round’s final minute, but the deficit from the first two minutes was too much to overcome. Another Alvarez round. 77-75 Alvarez.
Like the first bout, this one has been consistently good, but not a classic. Alvarez carries the momentum from his strong sixth round into the seventh — scoring big with a right hook, followed by a left uppercut. Golovkin is getting hit to the body with some regularity, and it may be having an impact on him. Alvarez takes the frame. 67-66 Alvarez.
It’s becoming clear, if it wasn’t already, that these are two evenly-matched fighters. Little has separated them through 17 rounds of action. The 18th starts at a measured tempo. But Golovkin is able to find a home with a two-punch combination in the pocket. Alvarez comes on late in the round, though, and scores with several good shots with Golovkin on the ropes. A late flurry from Golovkin is not enough. Here we go again. 57-57 at the halfway point.
Golovkin is fighting Alvarez’s fight, to a certain degree. But it appears to be working for him. The champion lands a stiff combination about one minute into the round to wrest control. Alvarez has taken several home run swings. And so far, he’s missed them. But if one connects, it could be big trouble for Golovkin. The challenger had a strong final minute, but Golovkin seemed to do enough in the early portion to take the round. 48-47 Golovkin.
Alvarez has had just about enough of the Golovkin jabbing show, and he steps up the pace big to open the frame. But Golovkin is equal to the task, landing an exquisite right hand counter. Again, most of the action is taking place in the middle of the ring, and that would seem to be to Alvarez’s advantage. Several good exchanges to close out the frame. A terrific Alvarez left hook to the body in the closing seconds might have cinched the round for the challenger. 38-38.
Golovkin has made a concerted effort to establish his jab this time around, and it is paying off in the third as he’s dictating terms. Short left hand in the the pocket scores for Golovkin. It’s a strong round for the champion — who lands an excellent three-punch combination towards the end of the frame. Golovkin takes the round, leads 29-28.
A right uppercut scores for Golovkin early in the round. But Alvarez lands an excellent left uppercut in response, and follows with a strong combination. Alvarez has stepped up the tempo in the second, backing up his pre-fight talk that he’d trade more punches. Golovkin comes on with a rally in the final minute. But Alvarez takes back control with a left uppercut to the body Alvarez. Alvarez takes the round. Match even at 19-19.
After a delay of more than 90 minutes following the final undercard bout, we’re finally underway here at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. And despite a heated confrontation at Friday’s weigh-in, Alvarez and Golovkin did touch gloves before the opening bell.
It’s a measured start, with most of the action taking place in the center of the ring — an advantage for Alvarez. Golovkin looks to be a tad more aggressive in the first round this time compared to last September’s bout, as he’s trying to establish his jab. A right hand by Alvarez scores midway through the round. The opening frame is very close. Give the slight nod to the champion, based on solid work with his jab. 10-9 Golovkin.
PPV main card:
- Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 knockouts) vs. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) for unified middleweight championship
- Jaime Munguia (30-0-0, 25 KOs) vs. Brandon Cook (20-1-0, 13 KOs) for WBO junior middle weight championship
- David Lemieux (39-4-0, 33 KOs) vs. Gary O’Sullivan (28-2-0, 20 KOs), middleweights
- Roman Gonzalez (46-2-0, 38 KOs) vs. Moises Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs), junior bantamweights
LAS VEGAS — Almost one year to the day of their first meeting, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin are set to renew what has become a bitter rivalry on Saturday night at sold-out T-Mobile Arena — with Golovkin’s World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council middleweight championship belts on the line.
So often in boxing, pre-fight hostility between the combatants comes off as a contrived tactic to sell pay-per-view orders. This time, however, there appears to be genuine friction. At Friday’s weigh-in, the two had to be separated after Alvarez charged at Golovkin and bumped heads with him during what was supposed to be a standard photo op.
Golovkin has been vocal in his belief that Alvarez was doping before the first bout. The originally scheduled rematch on May 5 had to be canceled after Alvarez tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol, for which he received a six-month suspension.
Alvarez has maintained that the positive test was the resulted of contaminated meat he consumed in his native Mexico. The talk from the Golovkin camp, he says, has fueled him for the rematch.
“I’m bothered by all the stupid things they’ve been saying,” said Alvarez, 28. “I don’t know which one to laugh about or get angry about at this point. But their statements are all excuses for the loss they will take.”
Golovkin has generally been affable in promoting past bouts. But this time, the 36-year-old Kazakh fighter has shown an intensity many observers have not previously seen.
“I want to punish him,” Golovkin said. “I want to have a fight and punish him for all the bad things that he and his team have done.”
The first fight ended in a controversial draw, with one judge pegging Alvarez the 118-110 winner of a fight almost universally deemed to be much closer. This time, both are seeking clarity.
Tactically, Golovkin figures to try to get off to a quicker start — after giving away the first two rounds in the 2017 meeting. Alvarez, meanwhile, has said he will look to engage more in this fight. Golovkin has criticized Alvarez for fighting defensively the first time around, and avoiding exchanges in the pocket.
It is, without question, boxing’s biggest fight of 2018. And judging by the list of celebrities expected to be in attendance, the stars will be out.
Here’s a list of those on hand, provided by a spokeswoman:
- Antoine Fuqua
- Adrian Gonzalez
- Bernard Hopkins
- Cedric the Entertainer
- Charles Barkley
- Chuck Liddell
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Daniel Jacobs
- Daniel Ponce De Leon
- Dave Chappelle
- David Benioff
- Don Cheadle
- Donovan Carter
- Evander Kane
- Fernando Vargas
- George Lopez
- Jay Ellis
- Jojo Diaz
- Jorge Linares
- Kit Harington
- LeBron James
- Luis Miguel
- Maverick Carter
- Miguel Cotto
- Mike Tyson
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
- Omar Benson Miller
- Prince Royce
- Ricky Romero
- Rosie Perez
- Ryan Garcia
- Tito Ortiz
- Tommy Hearns
- Triple H
- Will Smith