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.