There was no disputing Canelo Alvarez’s victory over Gennadiy Golovkin this time.
The Mexican superstar undoubtedly outboxed his rival in their third fight Saturday night to effectively end one of boxing’s best rivalries of the 21st century. Alvarez was busier, more accurate, the harder puncher and simply better in every way than the 40-year-old Golovkin in their 12-round, 168-pound championship match at T-Mobile Arena.
Judges Dave Moretti (116-112), David Sutherland (115-113) and Steve Weisfeld (115-113) all scored their fight for Alvarez, though he appeared to win by wider distances.
The differences between the 32-year-old Alvarez and an older, slower Golovkin from the time they last met four years ago and Saturday night were glaring.
Golovkin rallied briefly during the ninth round, but Alvarez already had built a seemingly insurmountable lead on the scorecards by that point. Alvarez also came back strong in the 10th and 11th rounds to make Golovkin wary of his power, though Golovkin had his moments in those rounds as well.
Guadalajara’s Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs), who told DAZN’s Chris Mannix in his post-fight interview that he’ll need surgery on his left hand, retained his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles in the completion of their trilogy. He also bounced back from his one-sided, 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena.
“He’s a really good fighter,” Alvarez told Mannix. “He’s strong and a great fighter, and that’s why we are here. And I am glad to share the ring with him. … He did not surprise me. I know he’s a strong fighter and I am not surprised. For me, I am just glad to share the ring and we gave the fans three really good fights.”
Alvarez’s second official victory over Golovkin was his most convincing.
The four-division champion edged Golovkin by majority decision in their 12-round middleweight championship rematch in September 2018 at T-Mobile Arena. They fought to a very controversial split draw almost exactly a year earlier at T-Mobile Arena.
Golovkin contended that he won both of their 160-pound title bouts, but this loss to his rival is indisputable.
Despite his decisive defeat Saturday night, Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) stated before he squared off against Alvarez a third time that he’ll continue his career. He made his 168-pound debut Saturday night, but he still owns the IBF, IBO and WBA middleweight titles.
“I have a lot left,” Golovkin said. “Congrats to Canelo, to all the fans. Remember, I have three belts at 160 and I am still champion. … Congrats to Canelo and his whole team. He is a real warrior.”
CompuBox unofficially credited Alvarez for landing only 10 more punches overall than Golovkin (130-of-487 to 120-of-521).
Alvarez landed nearly twice as many power punches (85-of-217 to 46-of-171). CompuBox credited Golovkin for landing 29 more jabs (74-of-350 to 45-of-270).
It became clear by the time the 12th round began that Alvaerz and Golovkin would go the distance. The final round included more clinching than any of the previous 11 rounds, which drew boos from the capacity crowd.
The bitter rivals hugged and exchanged pleasantries after the final bell rang, however, and drew cheers. Golovkin even kissed Alvarez on the cheek before they went to their respective corners.
After getting off to a very slow start, an energized Golovkin came on in the later rounds.
Golovkin caught Alvarez with a short, left hook inside about 1:10 into the 10th round. Alvarez grazed Golovkin with a right uppercut that connected with just under 40 seconds to go in the 10th round.
Alvarez’s right uppercut connected about 55 seconds into the ninth round. Golovkin finally unloaded some power punches in combination just after the halfway point of the ninth round, which moved Alvarez backward.
Golvokin then blasted Alvarez with a right hand when there were about 35 seconds on the clock in the ninth round, which amounted to the best three minutes of the fight by far to that point for Golovkin.
A left hook by Alvarez knocked Golovkin off balance 20 seconds into the eighth round. Golovkin landed a right hand with about 20 seconds on the clock in the eighth round, only to have Alvarez fire right back with a harder right.
The seventh round mirrored most of the previous six rounds, as Alvarez pressed the action and landed the harder shots that sometimes made Golovkin retreat.
Golovkin landed a right hand in an exchange barely a minute into the sixth round. Alvarez drilled Golovkin with a left to the body just before the halfway point of the sixth round.
Alvarez unloaded an array of right hands in the opening minute of the fifth round that continually made Golovkin retreat. Golovkin connected with a stiff jab with just under a minute remaining in the fifth round, but Alvarez was in complete control by then.
Alvarez landed a left hook up top and then a hard right that landed on Golovkin’s arm a minute into the fourth round. With just under 30 seconds to go in the fourth round, Alvarez’s right hand moved Golovkin backward.
Golovkin landed a right hand, but Alvarez came right back with a left hand that moved Golovkin backward with just under 1:20 remaining in the third round.
A sweeping left hook by Alvarez landed less than 20 seconds into the second round. Alvarez later landed a left-right combination that backed up Golovkin with just under 50 seconds to go in the second round.
Golovkin’s left hook got around Alvarez’s guard and landed to his jaw earlier in the second round.
Alvarez snuck a right around Golovkin’s elbow to land a body blow at exactly the midway mark of the first round. Alvarez lunged forward and landed a left hook a minute into the opening round, during which Golovkin wasn’t effective.