Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 | 11:47 p.m.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fought one of the best fights of his life Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena, battering and bloodying Gennady “GGG” Golovkin to hand him the first defeat of his career.
But instead of admiring the first-class skill both fighters put on display, much of the chatter following the decision was surrounding the three people who scored the fight. Judge Glenn Feldman scored the contest a 114-114 draw, while both judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld had it 115-113 for Alvarez.
Many fans felt Golovkin was again the victim of poor scoring. Last September, he and Alvarez fought to a controversial draw.
Golovkin, however, had no such gripes.
“It was a great fight, seriously guys,” Golovkin said in the post-fight press conference, smiling through a pair of dark sunglasses that shielded the cut above his eye that required eight stitches. “Today Canelo is the champion, but I’ll come back.”
In a stark juxtaposition from the first meeting between the two, Alvarez dug his feet into the center of the ring, stood tall in the pocket and traded haymakers with the hard-hitting Golovkin. Alvarez slipped uppercut after uppercut through Golovkin’s guard, snapping the champions head back each time.
Prior to Saturday night Golovkin was undefeated in 35 professional fights, with 34 knockouts, and had a record 20 consecutive title defenses at the middleweight division. In all those rounds in the ring, the ultra-aggressive Golovkin rarely took a backwards step.
Saturday night, Alvarez was the aggressor.
“It was I who pushed him back,” Alvarez said. “It was my plan for the beginning. I aimed for the knockout, and unfortunately I didn’t get the knockout but got the win. I’m satisfied with the victory and how we did it.”
The fight wasn’t an easy one to score. According to Compubox, Golovkin out-landed Alvarez 234-202 but Alvarez landed a higher percentage of punches —32.5 compared to 26.6 percent — and had a 143-116 advantage in power punches.
The point isn’t that Alvarez obviously won the fight, but that it was a great, closely contested championship prize fight that could have gone either way.
Bernard Hopkins, the former champion who now works for Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted the fight, said it “was a great battle, and they both fought like gladiators. You hear my voice. I didn’t wake up like this. That was exciting”
It was the fight of the year between two great fighters, and if they fought again it would likely be just as close.
“I feel like I’m a champion, but he’s also a champion,” Golovkin said. “It was a fight of two champions tonight.”
It might not be long before it happens. Alvarez said he wants to fight again in December and Golovkin is open to a third bout.
“Of course we would like to have a third fight. We will continue to negotiate because it would be great to have a third fight,” Golovkin said. “As a fighter, as a boxer I will continue to do my job. I will continue to work to prove that I am the best.”
For tonight, Alvarez can bask in the glory of winning the biggest fight of his life on Mexican Independence Day weekend. He exited the ring to the chorus of fans singing his name while waving red, white and green flags in the stands.
“Yes,” Alvarez said with a smile to end his press conference. “This is the happiest day of my life.”