At the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez fought to a Split Draw over 12 rounds of intense, cerebral boxing, with plenty of firepower and furious exchanges erupting down the stretch. For now, so far as the history books can officially report, the crowning of the world’s undisputed Middleweight king will have to wait.
Ringside judges tallied the bout on scores of 115-113 for Golovkin, 114-114, and 118-110 for Canelo. For what it’s worth, the margin on the latter scorecard seemed fairly wide for what felt like a nip-and-tuck contest.
However, the WBC, WBA and IBF titles must leave with Golovkin, whose fearsome reputation and record takes a hit of sorts tonight, as he moves to 37 wins, no defeats, 1 draw, 33 knockouts. Meanwhile, Canelo stands at 49 wins, 1 defeat, 2 draws, 34 knockouts, with the RING’s 160-pound title safe in the trophy cabinet.
It goes without saying that no one wanted to see a fight of this magnitude end in even-stevens fashion. Hell no. But, while Boxing Base did see the action for Canelo at 115-113, it’s true that this was a highly competitive, gruelling affair, with at least four swing rounds – in other words, too many to lawfully hang, draw and quarter any of the ringside judges. So, the official verdict comes more as ‘unfortunate’ than ‘unbearably disappointing’.
The bout lacked knockdowns, a knockout, and an actual winner, but was indeed a ‘genuine fight’ between two elite athletes at the top of their games. Golovkin went about his business in the only way he knows how, stalking his man and cutting off the ring. While Golovkin’s pressure, thudding jab, and seek-and-destroy tactics are usually enough to ware down and break opponents, it wasn’t quite enough tonight, however.
Canelo may have been denied victory on the scorecards, but he did manage to deliver what must be considered a career-best, highlight-reel performance. Canelo, who was expected by many to languish on the ropes, fight in bursts, yet ultimately tire and eventually get chopped down by Golovkin, actually did the complete opposite, showcasing a multi-dimensional, varied approach.
Canelo’s speed and counter-punching gave Golovkin problems from the onset. That was perhaps a given, granted. But it was Canelo’s ability to negate a good deal of Golovkin’s constant pressure that impressed the most. Canelo’s lateral movement, shoulder rolling, and surprisingly fast, mobile footwork, had Golovkin hitting air on occasion. Canelo’s varied round-by-round approach of knowing exactly when to back off, counter, or go to war, was also impressive.
So what’s next for both fighters? The obvious next move, which makes total sense in just about every way, shape and form, is an immediate rematch. These guys are unquestionably the best Middleweights on the planet who now share joint first place, so a sequel almost seems guaranteed. Personally, given Canelo’s mature performance, and Golovkin’s advancing age (35-years-old vs 27), I’d favor Canelo by a clear but close decision.
Golovkin vs Canelo: Undercard
- Diego De La Hoya (20-0, 9 KO) outshone fellow unbeaten Junior Featherweight contender Randy Caballero (24-1, 14 KO), with all three judges producing a unanimous verdict.
- Featherweight prospect Joseph Diaz (25-0, 13 KO) comfortably bested a valiant Rafael Rivera (25-1-2, 16 KO) over 12 rounds, with scorecards tallied at 119-109 and 120-108 (twice).
- Ryan Martin (20-0, 11 KO) had to go through the gears to pocket a Split Decision against resilient customer Francisco Rojo (20-3, 13 KO), with the Lightweight contest scored 95-94, 96-93, 91-98.
- Vergil Ortiz (7-0, 7 KO) made light work of stepping stone Cesar Valenzuela (7-2, 2 KO), with a 2nd round knockout improving his unbeaten ascent through the Junior Welterweight ranks.
Give us your take on Golovkin vs Canelo in the comments, plus the rest of the sin city card.