LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez ended Gennady Golovkin’s long reign as middleweight champion, outboxing the champion and holding off a late rally to score a majority decision and win the WBA, WBC and linear middleweight titles on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
Judge Glenn Feldman had it 114-114, the same as Yahoo Sports. But judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld each saw it 115-113 for Alvarez, giving him the win and handing Golovkin his first defeat.
“I showed my victory with facts,” Alvarez said in his postfight interview. “He was the one who was backing up. I feel satisfied because I gave a great fight. It was a clear victory.”
It was a technical bout that had plenty of skill but not the power shots or extended toe-to-toe exchanges that many had predicted considering the bad blood that existed between the two.
Golovkin seemed to fade in the middle rounds, and after the seventh, his trainer Abel Sanchez urged him on, saying, “We’re losing this fight,” and exhorting him to pick up the pace. Golovkin came on strong in the 10th and 11th and set up a dramatic final round, in which the fight was on the line.
“I thought we did enough to win but I can’t complain because Canelo fought a great fight and that’s why we have the judges,” Sanchez said after the fight. ” … Of course [Golovkin] isn’t the same guy he was five years ago, but he did well. You just have to credit Canelo. The judges are good judges and it was a good fight. I cannot complain.”
The 12th was exceptionally close as the men battled on even terms. Moretti and Weisfeld each gave the 12th to Alvarez and that gave him the fight.
Golovkin landed a huge right in the 11th and pushed Alvarez to the ropes. But Alvarez remained poised, threw a shot to the body and spun away to get to the middle of the ring.
Golovkin left the ring without speaking and was booed by the crowd as he was shown entering the dressing room.
He has an argument that he won, but the so-called boogeyman of the middleweight division fought 24 rounds against a guy moving up in weight to face him and couldn’t knock him down once. Alvarez was never really in danger in either fight.
Much of the pre-fight talk before the rematch centered on the animosity between the two and their harsh words toward each other. Golovkin kept up a steady attack on Alvarez for failing two tests for performance-enhancing drugs in February and a defiant Alvarez vowed to humiliate Golovkin.
The fight didn’t match that kind of talk. It was a technical battle in which Alvarez’s skill and quickness edged it out.
Golovkin threw and landed more, according to CompuBox, but Alvarez landed at a significantly higher percentage. Alvarez was 202 of 622, while Golovkin was 234 of 879. Attendance was 21,965.