Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has claimed the WBC, WBA, and Ring middleweight championships with a majority-decision victory over Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas.
In an epic duel that was infinitely more competitive than the first fight, and one that will without question go down in middleweight championship history, tallies of 114-114 and 115-113 (x2) secured a historic victory for the Guadalajara native by the very slimmest of margins.
It was almost a reversal of roles from the first fight as Golovkin, typically the forward-marching pressure fighter, was unexpectedly pushed back from the outset by a compact Alvarez; something that boxing fans are decidedly unaccustomed to seeing.
The majority of the rounds seemed to be very closely fought and could have feasibly been scored for either man. Golovkin enjoyed consistent success with a steady jab, but Alvarez proved to be a constant menace throughout with lateral movement and sharp combinations.
Alvarez’s uncharacteristically aggressive approach appeared to take Golovkin completely by surprise in the first half of the fight, and the former light-middleweight champion was growing in confidence as he began to land telling body shots with increasing frequency.
Golovkin, who is normally renowned for his superb conditioning, appeared to be in an uncomfortable and deeply unfamiliar position by the end of the first half of the fight – breathing heavily and retreating in the face of Alvarez’s audacious forward movements. The fatigue on Golovkin’s part was also compounded by the heavy shots to the midsection he had absorbed in six competitive, but gruelling rounds.
However, as is often the case with boxing, momentum dramatically shifted in the second half.
Golovkin, spurred on to push for the knockout by trainer Abel Sanchez, was able to connect cleanly with some powerful shots that visibly stunned Canelo on a number of occasions, but the Mexican displayed a highly impressive set of whiskers in surviving a few rocky moments and continuing to press the action.
The capacity crowd in the T-Mobile Arena were on their feet as the two fighters exchanged furiously in the final seconds of the twelve round.
After embracing at the end of the fight following an acrimonious build-up, both fighters seemingly believed that their efforts were enough to win, raising their arms triumphantly. As a result, Golovkin was seen storming out of the ring in indignation following the announcement of the scorecards.
Although the final verdict has thankfully produced a certain degree of closure in that a definitive winner has emerged without any inexplicable scorecards, the outcome – like the first fight – was not entirely devoid of controversy.
Ultimately, following two classic encounters where skill and heart was on display in abundance, fans are still left savouring more, and it remains to be seen whether a third instalment could be arranged in what would certainly consummate one of boxing’s great trilogies.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @hombre__obscuro
Photos: Erik Verduzco