The long overdue and overhyped trilogy fight between undisputed super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and unified middleweight champ Gennadiy Golovkin ended in anticlimactic fashion as Canelo dominated his overmatched rival and scored a unanimous decision victory on Saturday night (Sep. 17) at T-Mobile Area in Las Vegas.
On the score cards, one judge gave Alvarez a 116-112 advantage, while the other two judges scored it 115-113.
In retaining his undisputed super middleweight crown, Canelo, 32, clearly outfought, outboxed and generally outclassed Golovkin over 12 grueling rounds. At age 40, GGG looked slow and unable to match the pace of the aggressive Mexican superstar. Golovkin finished strong over the final four rounds, but it was too late to sway the judges.
The two rivals shared a long embrace after the final bell, and appeared to end a bitter personal feud that began over Canelo’s positive drug test, which delayed their second match until September 2018. In what was touted as “Fight of the Year 2018” by The Ring Magazine, Canelo earned a close majority decision (115-113, 115-113, 114-114).
Their first fight in September 2015 ended in a highly controversial split-decision draw, as Golovkin was clearly more aggressive and accused Canelo of “running.” In the rematch three years later, Alvarez stood his ground and went toe-to-toe against GGG, earning a tough decision victory.
Canelo left no doubts in the trilogy bout by dominating the action and outlanding Golovkin, who started slow and never seemed to find a rhythm. When GGG finally opened up after pinning Canelo in a corner in the ninth, it was too little, too late.
Although Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) finished the final rounds on a high note, he couldn’t keep pace with his younger opponent. Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) thus rebounded from his stunning loss to Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) in May for the WBA (Super) light heavyweight title and finally ended his rivalry with GGG in a convincing manner.
After owning the middleweight division for many years and coming off a TKO win over Ryota Murata (16-3, 13 KOs) in April, Golovkin looked overmatched in his first fight as a super middleweight (at 168 pounds). But despite the loss, GGG still holds two 160-pound titles.
Alvarez showed why he was a heavy favorite in the trilogy fight, pegged as a -500 favorite at Caesars Sportsbook on Saturday, while GGG was set as a +400 underdog. In the runup to the fight, Alvarez had predicted a knockout victory over Golovkin and vowed to “end his career.”
In declaring his intent to conclusively end their rivalry, Alvarez said, “I just want to punish him really hard.” But in a show of respect, he added, He’s a good fighter. He’s a great fighter. That’s for sure.”
For his part, Golovkin isn’t ready to hang up the gloves just yet. Going forward, he could defend his two middleweight belts or stay at 168 pounds against such intriguing possible opponents as David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) or Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs).
One thing was made crystal clear on Saturday night. Canelo Alvarez remains the best super middleweight on the planet. Moreover, BoxRec and the Boxing Writers Association of America rank him as the world’s best active pound-for-pound fighter.