Just moments ago we saw the end of the trilogy between Saul Alvarez (58-2-2, 39) and Gennadiy Golovkin (42-2-1, 37), and it was a bout that lacked the drama and flow of the first two legendary bouts between the men. Instead of being an incredible back and forth between elite level fighters in, or at least near their primes, this was very much a case of a fighter in their pomp facing a fighter who was clearly faded and nothing like the fighter he had once been. Sadly the faded man was the now 40 year old Golovkin, who looked every bit the 40 year old from the off.
The bout began with rounds 25 and 26 of their rivalry, which were somewhat competitive. Canelo looked the quicker, sharper, cleaner fighter in the two rounds, but Golovkin had moments in those rounds as the bout eased it's way into action. Sadly from round 2 the handspeed, youth, explosiveness and energy of Canelo shone through as he controlled a large swathe of the bout. He shut down Golovkin's offense, hammered him with clean head shots, and short sharp combinations and left Golovkin marked up and looking like a beaten fighter after just 5 rounds. It seemed very much like Canelo was heading towards a stoppage of Golovkin in the middle rounds, and that Golovkin's incredible toughness was going to be the only thing keeping him in the fight.
Just as it seemed like Jonathan Banks in Golovkin's corner should consider throwing in the towel Canelo seemed to ease off. He began to lose some of the intensity of earlier in the bout, and almost out of respect dropped his work rate rather than look to punish his man. This allowed Golovkin some respite, and in round 9 Golovkin finally began to show glimpses of the fighter he once was. It wasn't prime Golovkin, but it was a great last stand by a man digging deep and letting his hands go, backing up Canelo for the first time in the fight. Golovkin continued to have success in rounds 10 and 11, though 11 did see Canelo fighting like a man who was happy to conserve some energy late rather than take too many risks when well ahead.
The final round saw Canelo put his foot on the gas a little, and show that he was fighting within himself the previous few rounds, and had more to offer had he needed to. After the final bell it seemed like Canelo had comfortably won. It was hard to give Golovkin more than 3 rounds. Some how however all 3 judges had the bout close, with scores of 116-112 and 115-113, twice, giving the reflection of a very hotly contested bout. Something it really wasn't.
After the bout it was revealed Canelo had damaged his left hand, likely a result of landing numerous left hooks early on, which could have explained why his work rate dropped. It was also clear that this was the end of the rivalry, with the two men showing real respect to each other and seemed to have put to bed any animosity. Notably Golovkin didn;t announce that his career was over, though we wouldn't be surprised to see him either hanging them up, or fighting a single bout before retiring in the new year. As for Canelo, who retained his WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF Super Middleweight titles, it seems a rematch with Dmitriy Bivol is in his sights for 2023.
Just moments ago we saw WBA Light Heavyweight "super" champion Dmitrii Bivol (20-0, 11) score a career defining win, as he out boxed the "face of boxing" Saul Alvarez (57-2-2, 39), to retain his title, and make a huge statement on the boxing world, in a performance that saw him control the action, dictate the tempo, and make a statement to the rest of the 175lb division.
The early rounds were close, with Bivol out landing Canelo and being more active, whilst Canelo seemed to land the better single shots. Despite the success from the Mexican he was really struggling with the range, the tempo, the foot work and the straight punches of Bivol. Canelo pressed the action, and looked to damage the arms of Bivol early on, a tactic he had used in previous fights, but was taking a lot of scoring punches in return, and really struggling to have sustained success.
As we went into the middle rounds, Bivol continued to out work Canelo who's work rate really vanished, and his moments of success became less and less frequent. Notably what became more obvious was Canelo trying to catch his breath, backing on to the ropes, and looking to goad Bivol in. The tactic might have worked against a more emotional fighter, but Bivol made the most of the situation and worked at range, staying intelligent and picking and poking at Canelo, not giving the Mexican a rest but also not biting on Canelo's bait. It was smart, intelligent, and kept Canelo essentially tied up on the ropes.
Notably on the occasions where Bivol was backed on to the ropes, which happened a few times a round, Canelo struggled to get through the guard, and the moments of Bivol on the ropes were fleeting, with Bivol turning his man and resuming control of the action from center ring. Essentially suggesting that any success Canelo had, was being returned with interest.
In the late rounds, we began to see Canelo fighting in what was almost a predictable pattern. The first minute of the rounds he was coming out fast, trying to have success and catch the eye. But there was little power on his shots, even the bigger shots didn't seem to have much on them. After the first minute he seemed take almost a minute to catch his breathe, allowing Bivol to essentially over-come the early deficit of the round, and then control it in the final minute.
Despite seemingly control large swathes of the bout, and really seeming like the clear winner, there was always a worry the judges would do what boxing judges do, and protect the bout's money fighter. Especially knowing how much Canelo was worth to DAZN. It appears they tried to do that here, but even they couldn't manage to fudge the numbers and give Canelo the win. Instead all 3 scored it 115-113. A score didn't reflect the bout, but did, thankfully, get the winner.
For Bivol this is a career defining win, and one he may get the chance to double up on, given their was talk, immediately after the bout, of a potential rematch. If that happens we can't help but think the result will be the same, and Canelo may well end up becoming spoiled afterwards
On Saturday night we we had a PPV that featured 4 bouts. The first 3 of those lasted a combined 9 rounds, but thankfully the main event gave us not only 12 rounds of action, but 12 of the very best rounds of 2018. Those rounds provided us with a highly technical high tempo war to decide the premier Middleweight on the planet. For once a highly hyped and massively anticipated bout lived up to the expectations and more.
The match up in question saw long term Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 24) take on the hugely popular Saul Alvarez (50-1-2, 34) with the 36 year old Golovkin looking to defend the WBA Super and WBC Middleweight titles against a man he controversially fought to a draw against a year ago.
Sadly for the Kazakh it wasn't to be his day, as Canelo narrowly took home the decision in what was one of the most hotly contested, and exciting, bouts of 2018.
Canelo stamped his authority on the bout early on. He started better, applying the pressure and and landing the cleaner in the first few rounds. Building moment that he could carry forward. The pressure of Canelo saw him not only force Golovkin to move more, but also saw the Mexican landing the eye catching counter shots.
Golovkin managed to stage a fight back in the middle rounds, cutting Canelo's left eye as he began to out work the Mexican fighter. Canelo continued to land the better single blows, but was being out-worked on the whole, in rounds that were very well balanced and featured some fantastic back and forth action. It was a war, yet it was technical. Neither man got reckless, neither man was wild, both were sharp though it seemed like Canelo's shots were that little bit more eye catching, even if he was a bit more conservative.
After the very competitive middle section the bout turned heavily in favour of Golovkin who began to have a second wind in round 9 as he picked up his work rate. Golovkin's success would grow more in round 10, a round that saw him clearly hurt Canelo, and round 11. They were as clear rounds to Golovkin as the first 2 or 3 were for Alvarez and it was clear that the decision was going to go down to how the judges had scored the middle rounds.
The final round, like many of the middle rounds, was close. It ended with Golovkin cut around the right eye, but there had been almost nothing to pick between the two men. It was a round that could have gone either way, like many from the contest.
When we reached the score cards the reality was that the bout could have gone either way. It seemed a lot more competitive and compelling than their first bout. Canelo had changed his style more, going from a back foot boxer to a pressure fighter, and forced Golovkin to show something new to his boxing. Both men were banged up, both had been cut, and both had looked like they were going to need some serious recovery time.
Despite the swelling and cuts it was Canelo who managed to get the win, with a majority decision. The judges returning cards of 114-114, and 115-113, twice, in his favour. Unlike the first bout between the two men there was no outlying score-cards, instead all 3 judges score the bout in a way that seemed right. There was no clear winner, and that showed.
Whilst Golovkin will clearly be disappointed in the result, there can be no major complaint. It really was a bout that was so close that it showed how even the men were. He may want a rematch, but at the age of 36 we wonder if there is another 12 hard rounds left in him. For Canelo the bout is his crowning as the Middleweight's king, and he will now be the man the others will be chasing. His status as a unified champion, and this huge win, will help him put a frustrating 2018 behind him.
A rematch would make sense, and is perhaps the most logical choice for both men, but with fighters like Ryota Murata and Billy Joe Saunders out there it may make more sense for the two to go their own way, rather than take the punishment that another 12 rounds against each other will give them.
The problem with super-fights is they very rarely live up to the hope and expectation. Tonight however we had one of those rare fights that lived up to the marketing, the hype and fans hopes and dreams, and what a fight it was as Middleweight supremacy was settled, and we were able to see something truly memorable. Soured only by the judges ringside who, once again, saw something very different to the reality in the ring.
The bout in question saw Kazakh destroyer Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33) take on Mexican icon Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 34) in a bout for the WBA, WBC, IBF, IBO and Ring Magazine Middleweight titles. It was a bout that had been spoken about for weeks, every boxing fan had some sort of view on the bout and it promised so much, yet delivered even more.
The fight perfectly for Alvarez who had a dream start as he looked too quick and too explosive for the older, slower Golovkin. The Kazakh struggled to get his range as the Mexican just used his edge in speed and youth to take control and use Golovkin's pressure against him. The early work of Canelo made it look like he was going to find life easy but in round 3 his speed started to decline just a touch and Golovkin began to find his range, with his pressure beginning to take effect.
As the pressure from Golovkin grew so did his success as he repeatedly walked Canelo back to the ropes and unloaded. The pressure forced Canelo to work hard to create openings, and although he was trying to fight as a counter puncher he was taking significantly more than he was giving and often he was forced to take the heavier and more telling shots.
From round 3 to 10 the fight took the same basic approach round after round. Golovkin would force Canelo back, Canelo would fight off the ropes in spurts, but would never be able to earn the respect of the Kazakh who walked through everything without even blinking whilst grinding down the Mexican. Canelo landed huge rights,massive uppercuts but couldn't slow down Golovkin who came through them like the terminator and landed his own shots, in much higher volume than Alvarez.
In the final two rounds Canelo came alive slightly, managing to find the energy to fight hard for about a minute of each round. Though he was then forced back, and the typical action of the fight continued, with Golovkin forcing Alvarez on to the backfoot and limit his activity.
At the end of the fight it seemed clear that Golovkin had won, he had taken rounds 4-10 with no argument at all, and the closest it could have been, giving Canelo every close round, was 115-113. The reality however was that the fight had been more of a 10-2 or 9-3 fight in Golovkin's favour. Somehow though Adelaide Byrd, a judge who is now gaining a really serious reputation for outlandish cards, had scored the bout 118-110 to Canelo, a card that simply made no sense and really needs to be scrutinised in the most serious of fashion. The second card was on the edges of reality, at 115-113 for Golovkin whilst the third was 114-114, forcing a split draw.
After the fight both men were interviewed, and the reactions of the crowd said it all as they cheered Golovkin and heavily booed Canelo. The crowd were pissed about the decision, and had every reason to be as there was a clear winner, denied his glory and the fight was left with a disgusting black mark against due to the judging.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.