Published Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 | 5:30 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 | 9:34 p.m.
In the mega fight boxing fans have been waiting years for, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin delivered in the ring, but the final result left fans begging.
The two champions stood toe-to-toe in the center of the ring and traded massive punches for 12 rounds in a fight that had non-stop action from bell to bell.
When the fight came to an end, the three judges ringside scored the fight a draw, to the displeasure of the sold-out crowd of 22,358 inside T-Mobile Arena.
Adalaide Byrd scored the fight 118-110 for Alvarez, while Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for Golovkin and Don Trella scored it 114-114.
“There were no surprises,” said Golovkin’s coach Abel Sanchez. “We knew going in this would be a war. Canelo was very resilient.”
Alvarez opened the fight strong, landing big shots on Golovkin including multiple punches to the body. He won the first two rounds on all judges’ scorecards.
But the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO middleweight champion battled back with relentless forward pressure. Golovkin pinned Alvarez against the ropes throughout the middle rounds, peppering the Mexican fighter with 108 jabs, according to Compubox.
Just when it appeared Alvarez was out of energy and on the verge of being finished, he found a second wind and won the final three rounds on all three judges cards.
The 10th round highlighted the fight. Alvarez punished Golovkin with combinations ending with huge hooks, but the Kazakhstani fighter walked through everything Alvarez could throw.
Alvarez out-landed Golovkin 114-110 in power punches, but Golovkin landed 49 more punches overall according to Compubox.
On whether he thought he won the fight, Golovkin replied with a cheeky “Well look, I still have all the belts. I’m still the champion.”
After a fight this entertaining and a result this unsatisfying, a rematch seems like the only option moving forward.
“Of course I want the rematch,” Golovkin said. “This was a real fight.”
Tonight’s fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin will cement one fighter’s legacy amongst the all-time greats, and cast doubt on the other.
Both fighters are undoubtedly great. Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) has accomplished more by the age of 27 than anyone in recent history, with wins over Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan and James Kirkland.
But when Alvarez fought the best opponent of his career — Floyd Mayweather Jr. — in 2013, the Mexican icon lost by unanimous decision. The questions remain whether Alvarez can beat a superstar fighter to become one himself.
“I know what I have in front of me,” Alvarez said in August. “I know he’s a strong fighter. He is the most dangerous opponent of my career, but I’m ready for him and what’s next to come. That’s why we prepared, and to give the fans a beautiful fight.”
He’ll get that opportunity tonight at T-Mobile Arena against Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), who faces questions himself.
Golovkin sports an impressive undefeated professional record, and won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics for his home country of Kazakhstan, but has yet to face an opponent as vaunted as Alvarez.
In his last fight against Daniel Jacobs, Golovkin didn’t look like his dominant self and some believe at age 35 he’s beginning to slip from boxing’s elite.
“This is a fight boxing can be proud of,” Golovkin said. “It is boxing’s biggest fight. It is a fight for history. It is a real Mexican fight. Everyone will remember this fight. Canelo is No. 1 in Mexico, a country known for great fighters. He is very special.”
Either fighter can silence all critics with an emphatic win tonight at T-Mobile Arena. The HBO pay per view begins at 5 p.m. Golovkin will be attempting to defend his WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO middleweight titles in the main event.
“This fight is for all the fans who have been asking for it,” Canelo said. “We know that in fights, it takes two to tango. I’m ready, and you know what you’ll get from me. Let’s just hope he brings it as well.”