Canelo Álvarez Defeats Gennady Golovkin in a Narrow Decision


Canelo Álvarez Defeats Gennady Golovkin in a Narrow Decision

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Canelo Álvarez, left, handed Gennady Golovkin his first defeat to take the middleweight title.CreditCreditAl Bello/Getty Images

By The Associated Press

  • Sept. 16, 2018

LAS VEGAS — Canelo Álvarez and Gennady Golovkin fought 24 rounds in the space of a year, with little to pick between them.

When the scorecards were totaled Saturday night, though, the judges crowned a new middleweight champion of the world — but just barely.

Álvarez, 28, won the 160-pound titles held by Golovkin, 36, by the narrowest of margins, taking a majority decision to hand the longtime champion his first loss as a pro in a spirited fight that had a sold-out crowd roaring.

Two judges gave Álvarez the final round, allowing him to pull out the win.

A year after the two fought to a draw, the second fight was almost as close. There were no knockdowns, but the action was spirited throughout as the two battled to the final bell before a frenzied crowd at the T-Mobile Arena that included Mike Tyson, Will Smith and LeBron James.

Two judges favored Álvarez 115-113, while a third had it 114-114. The A.P. scored it 114-114.

The fight came after an acrimonious weigh-in during which Álvarez almost head-butted Golovkin, who is known affectionately through the boxing world as Triple G.

“He’s a great fighter, but I’m a great fighter and I showed it tonight,” Álvarez said.

The two switched roles from their first fight, with Triple G trying to counter Álvarez, who was coming forward much of the fight. Both landed well to the head, and Golovkin (38-1-1) controlled some rounds with his jab, though neither was ever in any trouble of going down.

The fight was a rematch of a draw last September that left neither fighter satisfied. This time Golovkin was upset, and he stormed out of the ring without talking.

“I’m not going to say who won tonight because the victory belongs to Canelo according to the judges,” Golovkin said later from his dressing room. “I thought it was a very good fight for the fans and very exciting. I thought I fought better than he did.”

Ringside punch stats showed a close fight, though they favored Golovkin by a small margin. Golovkin was credited with landing 234 of 879 punches while Álvarez (50-1-2) landed 203 of 622. But Álvarez landed more body punches, 46-6 by the official count, and more power punches, even as Golovkin landed more over all.

“We had a great fight, the one we expected the first time around,” said Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer. “I had it close going into the 12th round. We had good judges who saw it from different angles — I can’t complain about the decision, but it’s close enough to warrant a third fight.”

Almost immediately there was talk of a third fight between two middleweights who now know each other well.

“If the people want us to do it again let’s do it again,” Álvarez said. “For now I’m going to enjoy it with my family.”

“Under the right conditions, yes,” Golovkin said of a rematch.

Álvarez seemed to take control of the fight in the middle rounds, using sharp punches to batter Golovkin, who seemed to slow down from his pace earlier in the fight.

“We’re losing the fight!” Sanchez told Golovkin after the eighth round.

But Triple G came on strong in the final few rounds to make it as close as it could be. Golovkin landed several big punches to start the 12th round but still lost it on the two scorecards that ended up favoring Alvarez.

Both fighters were cut, Álvarez with one over his left eye and Golovkin cut over the right.

It was the first loss in 40 fights for Golovkin, the fearsome puncher from Kazakhstan who held portions of the middleweight title for seven years and hadn’t lost since the 2005 amateur world championships. And it came at the hands of Álvarez, a Mexican star whose positive test for clenbuterol forced the rematch to be postponed from May.

Most of the crowd here, on Mexican Independence Day weekend, favored Álvarez, who seemed to control much of the pace of the fight even while taking some sharp shots to the head. Though Golovkin has a reputation as a knockout artist, he never seemed to hurt Álvarez, who credited his fight plan with the win.

“I showed my victory with facts,” Álvarez said. “He was the one who was backing up. It was a clear victory.”

Álvarez said that in the days leading to the fight he went to bed every night visualizing a knockout. He seemed to want to follow up on his prediction, stalking Triple G at times, but never seemed to really hurt him.

Álvarez was guaranteed $5 million vs. $4 million for Golovkin, though both fighters were expected to make many millions more from the biggest pay-per-view in boxing so far this year.

Reuters contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page SP6 of the New York edition with the headline: Álvarez Tops Golovkin in Bid To Take Title. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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