Saul “Canelo” Alvarez made his claim for pound-for-pound supremacy last night by defeating middleweight rival Gennady Golovkin via majority decision. Following a controversial draw last September the return fixture was fought on equally tight margins before Alvarez prevailed by scores of 115-113 twice (on Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld’s respective cards) and a 114-114 drawn total for third judge Glenn Feldman.
This rematch was initially scheduled for May 5 before Canelo was caught using Performance Enhancing Drugs. The Mexican protested his innocence, claiming tainted beef was to blame, but received a wafer-thin ban that paved the way for a satisfactory September date.
Fans will continue to argue about who exactly won this fight. HBO unofficial scorer Harold Lederman gave it to Golovkin while his broadcaster partner Max Kellerman seemed to prefer Canelo’s work. Golovkin used his ramrod jab to perfection throughout and increasingly found a home for the right hand as the bout progressed. Golovkin, 36, must be credited for his steely resolve and conditioning down the stretch as he appeared flummoxed and fatigued in the middle rounds as Canelo mercilessly tagged the body.
The Mexican also began flagging in the championships rounds which allowed Golovkin to tighten up the scores. Canelo stood and traded with Golovkin for much of the fight, winning it on the terms set out by the Kazakh’s outspoken trainer Abel Sanchez who constantly urged 28-year-old Alvarez to stand and trade with his man rather than “run”. Canelo dutifully obliged and used his extra speed to land quickly on the target and snatch narrow sessions.
In the post-fight interview, Canelo said he was open to a third meeting. Golovkin exited the ring swiftly and declined any opportunities to speak to the media. Canelo may now face Billy Joe Saunders or could engage in a homecoming against the likes of David Lemieux. How much appetite the fans would have for that latter option remains to be seen.
It is believed that Canelo’s contractual obligations to HBO are at an end so he could conceivably auction his next fights to the highest bidder. With the likes of DAZN, Showtime and ESPN all scrapping for premium content he will not be short of options.
Earlier in the evening, Canada’s David Lemieux lived up to his big-punching reputation with a one-round starching of Ireland’s Gary O’Sullivan. Optimistic Lemieux has an eye on Canelo for his next bout.
Reigning WBO super-welterweight champion Jaime Munguia defended his belt with a third-round knockout over Brandon Cook. Munguia was way too big, hit too hard and Cook was blatantly overmatched.
At super-flyweight Roman Gonzalez scored an exciting knockout over Moises Fuentes. Taller Fuentes was cut early and his night was ended by a right hand to the chin in round five.