By John J. Raspanti
Talk is cheap. It’s the action that people remember. Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin put their pride and legacies on the line Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. They battled for 36 grueling mins, with Alvarez emerging the victor by narrowest of margins.
The scores were 114-114, and 115-113 (twice) for Alvarez.
Maxboxing judged Golovkin the winner by a 115-113 tally.
Like last year’s draw, the sequel got off to a slow start, with one obvious difference. The 28-year-old Alvarez wasn’t moving away and countering, like he did last year. He was taking the fight to Golovkin. The stalker was being stalked, and he didn’t like it.
The match began to warm up in the next stanza. Alvarez (50-1-1, 34 KOs) connected with a double hook in round two. Seconds later a big right to the body landed. Golovkin’s jab was touching Alvarez. Later in the round, Golovkin, with swelling under his right eye, courtesy of that earlier double left hook, landed a good right of his own.
Golovkin (38-1, 34 KOs) let both hands go in round three. An uppercut found Alvarez’s red chin. Alvarez worked the body. He pushed Golovkin back with his aggressiveness. Alvarez fired more hooks, many missed, but some landed. Golovkin’s jab continued to score points.
The fighters traded heavy shots in round five. Alvarez, now the WBC and WBA middleweight champion, landed a big right to the eye. Golovkin came back with his own right. Golovkin was boxing more than Alvarez. He missed a right, and Alvarez made him pay, cracking to the body. Both fighters were bleeding from cuts near their left eyes.
Golovkin landed a sweeping right in round six. Alvarez cracked to the body. Golovkin landed a straight right but looked winded. Alvarez continued to work to the head and body in round six. He was loading up with his right. Golovkin, 36, and looking it at times, let his right go. It missed. A counter combination did land. Alvarez came back with a two-fisted attack.
Told he was losing the fight by his trainer before round eight commenced, Golovkin found Alvarez with a right, but ate another hook to the chin. Alvarez connected with hard hook. Golovkin landed a hard right at the bell.
With three rounds to go, the fight was in the balance. Alvarez got off to a fast start in round nine. He connected with a combination. Golovkin came right back with a solid right. Alvarez cracked to the body, Golovkin landed a big left hook and right cross.
In round 10, Golovkin landed a big combination that seemed to hurt Alvarez. Alvarez, showing a great chin, fought back, but Golovkin strafed him with more shots. Alvarez rallied in the last ten seconds to make the round, like most, close and hard to score.
Golovkin connected with more rights in round 11. Alvarez fought back with rapid fire punches. Golovkin connected with a left hook, but Alvarez returned fire, catching Golovkin with three crisp right hands.
Would the last round determine a winner? Golovkin came out punching, landing jabs and a jarring right hand. An uppercut brought the crowd to their feet. The quicker Alvarez rallied back with multiple shots. A sweeping right hook knocked Golovkin back. Both fighters landed stinging blows in the center of the ring. Golovkin slide to his right and snuck in a clean uppercut. Alvarez walking forward as he did the entire fight, tagged Golovkin with a shot to the ribs. They traded more blows until the bell rang.
“I’m very emotional and excited,” said an elated Alvarez in the ring. “I want to thank everyone who believed in me. A shutout to my corner. “I showed my victory with facts. He was the one who was backing up. I feel satisfied because I gave a great fight.”
Surprisingly, Golovkin left the ring without commenting. The loss was undoubtably a bitter one. Most boxing people and fans judged him the winner of the first bout. Before the rematch, he had asked for Alvarez stay in front of him and fight. He got his wish. Alvarez was right there, eating shots and punching back.
Golovkin later said that he thought he had done enough to win.
“We can say a lot of things but first we have to congratulate Canelo,” Golovkin said. “We can talk about a lot of things. I feel like I’m a champion and he is a champion. I felt really comfortable in there and feel that I did enough to win.”
Let the debate begin.