Get ready for a third fight.
LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 15: (R-L) Canelo Alvarez lands a right against Gennady Golovkin in their middleweight championship fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images)
By the slimmest of margins (114-114, 115-113×2, majority decision), Canelo Alvarez (50-1-2) dethroned WBA and WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1) and handed him the first loss of his career.
There are a number of ways to describe this bout, but first, foremost and artlessly, it was a really good fight. The two men banged away again for 12 rounds with even more intensity than they did the first time they fought in September 2017 when they battled to a controversial draw.
Alvarez came out looking to trade and push the pace of the fight from the beginning. He was pushing Golovkin back and did his best work throughout the middle rounds. Golovkin looked out of sorts as Alvarez stayed in his chest for most of the fight.
LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 15: Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez exchange punches during their WBC/WBA middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Golovkin was getting marked up by Alvarez’s power shots, but the Kazakh warrior was landing his jab consistently.
That punch led to him outlanding Alvarez as he did in the first fight.
LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 15: Gennady Golovkin (R) punches Canelo Alvarez during their WBC/WBA middleweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Despite the punch stat numbers, Alvarez looked to be the man in charge of the identity of the bout. His hands were faster and he slipped more of Golovkin’s power punches. Golovkin would come on late. Alvarez slowed and that seemed to ignite him. For the final four rounds of the bout, Golovkin landed heavy power shots that moved Canelo across the ring.
To the new champion’s credit, Canelo took the punches better than any of Golovkin’s previous opponents. Canelo didn’t just take the shots, he somehow found a way to fire back his own punches just to keep Golovkin honest.
LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 15: (L-R) Gennady Golovkin lands a left against Canelo Alvarez in their middleweight championship fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images)
In what proved to be the deciding round in the 12th, two of the three judges thought Canelo did enough to win the frame and salvage the victory. The third judge scored it a draw. I agreed with the latter.
LAS VEGAS, NV – SEPTEMBER 15: (R-L) Canelo Alvarez lands a left against Gennady Golovkin in their middleweight championship fight at T-Mobile Arena on September 15, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images)
Here is a look at the scorecards and punch stats:
#CaneloGGG2 official scores pic.twitter.com/BIEcrMvZeZ
— Write on the Button (@mikebaca2) September 16, 2018
Canelo GGG2Credit: CompuBox
Here is what the boxing community had to say after the decision:
Thought @GGGBoxing won, but this was no robbery. I’m gutted for Gennady, who has every reason to think he won TWICE without a victory. He will not be any younger for the third Fight, which you can bank on. Canelo will be a legit favorite in #CaneloGGG3. #Boxing is a tough biz.
— Lou DiBella (@loudibella) September 16, 2018
Round 12: Excellent action final round goes to GGG courtesy of his uppercut. 10-9. Unfortunately, I have this a draw, 114-114 as do other at ringside. https://t.co/XdW98ZQWAX
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) September 16, 2018
I leave the night with this: GGG 36yrs old and his efforts were beyond his age. His will and heart won’t be forgotten. If someone was going to walk out a winner, it should’ve been GGG #boxing
— Isaac Estrada (@RealBoxingNews) September 16, 2018
Regardless of the highly controversial decision, (25% of followers agree Canelo won. 75% saying GGG won). Congrats to both warriors.
That was a brilliant fight.
Extremely courageous from both Canelo & GGG. #GGGCanelo2 #ggg #canelo #CanelovsGGG2 #canelovsggg #boxingkingdom
— Boxing Kingdom (@BoxingKingdom14) September 16, 2018
In hindsight alot of the rounds were close. I edged GGG but can we please applaud the smaller man Canelo’s chin
— Carl Frampton MBE (@RealCFrampton) September 16, 2018
What a fight #CaneloGGG2 I gave the fight to Canelo. It was toe to toe action, Very exciting. Canelo surprised us all with the come forward pressure game plan. Well done to both Canelo and GGG. Boxing needed this @HBOboxing @GoldenBoyBoxing
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) September 16, 2018
Career best performance from Canelo. Looked a lot better tonight then in the first fight. #GGGCanelo2 #ggg #canelo #CanelovsGGG2 #canelovsggg #boxingkingdom
— Boxing Kingdom (@BoxingKingdom14) September 16, 2018
Ggg just didn’t have it tonight. He had his moments though and I’m still a big fan! But Canelo just won more rounds in a very close fight. I can understand the disappointment GGG must feel right now.
— ClaressaT-rexShields (@Claressashields) September 16, 2018
Wow good fight but we know the game he needed a knock out
— Terence Crawford (@budcrawford402) September 16, 2018
GREAT FIGHT!! I got GGG by 2rds. Great night of boxing. #CaneloGGG2
— ShowtimeShawn Porter (@ShowtimeShawnP) September 16, 2018
Nothing like two iconic fighters going toe to toe for twelve rounds. #CaneloGGG
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) September 16, 2018
Hard left hook for GGG off of a counter, they block and trade power shots to end the fight…Incredible stuff. Final round for GGG 116-112 #CaneloGGG2
— Sherdog by Mandatory (@sherdogdotcom) September 16, 2018
WHAT A FIGHT AND WHAT A ROUND! And they embrace with a big hug at the bell. Respect was earned from both men after a vitriolic promotion. I scored Round 12 for GGG and have it a draw!! 114-114 #CaneloGGG2
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) September 16, 2018
Goes the distance. Believe it or not, I have this thing a damn draw. 114-114. Scores coming. pic.twitter.com/v9qig1ipom
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 16, 2018
Just Book it #CaneloGGG3
— Andrew Feldman (@AFeldmanESPN) September 16, 2018
Obviously, there are some who feel Golovkin was robbed again in this fight. I’d disagree with that notion even more than I did in the first bout. He has an argument that he won both bouts, but perhaps even less of a case this time around. Canelo did seem to control the entire middle of the bout while the two men traded rounds early. I scored it a draw, but if it had to go to either fighter, seeing Canelo win seems like the most logical decision.
Also, it’s hard for many to put aside their feelings about Canelo’s failed drug tests, so plenty of fight fans and others were rooting for Golovkin in the rematch.
When the fight was over, Golovkin left the ring and refused to grant HBO’s Max Kellerman a post-fight interview. The visually dejected fighter was seen going into his dressing room with a damaged face on both sides and left to think back on the first loss of his pro career.
Alvarez spoke to Kellerman and he talked about pushing the pace and looking for the KO but didn’t really acknowledge Golovkin’s power that seemed to have him at least wobbled late in the fight. When asked about a third fight, Canelo said he would do it if the people wanted to see it.
After such a thrilling fight and another close decision, I’d say it’s safe to say there is a market for a trilogy.