Canelo closes the GGG trilogy with a decisive victory

Canelo closes the GGG trilogy with a decisive victory

LAS VEGAS — After the final bell and 36 rounds together, Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin shared a long embrace, seemingly ending a feud that has gotten personal in the five years since they first met in the ring.

In another close fight, Alvarez retained his undisputed super middleweight championship on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena with a unanimous decision victory over his longtime rival in a trilogy bout in front of a raucous pro-Alvarez crowd on the weekend. end of Mexican Independence Day.

Two judges scored it 115-113 for Alvarez while a third judge made it 116-112.

Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) started strong while Golovkin worked his jab and barely threw his powerful right hand, the punch that propelled him to stardom and a legendary championship run. middleweights. Finally, on the home stretch, Golovkin found his footing and won four of the last five rounds on two scorecards, but it was too little, too late.

As they hugged, Alvarez told Golovkin, “Thank you very much, my friend. Thank you for everything. We’re giving the fans three good fights.”

The banter was in stark contrast to the pre-fight buildup, when Alvarez vowed to end Golovkin’s career with a knockout win. He even called Golovkin (42-2-1, 37 KOs) a fake posing as a nice person.

Now, with the dust settled and the rivalry over, the fighters head in separate directions.

Alvarez, who owns all four 168-pound belts, could pursue a rematch with Dmitry Bivol next year to even the scoreline in May, when Bivol routed him by decision. But first, Alvarez said his left hand required surgery, although he didn’t provide specific details about the injury.

“I can’t hold a drink,” said Alvarez, 32. “It’s really bad. But I’m a warrior.”

Boxing’s top star Alvarez told ESPN at ringside that his hand was “fucked up with the Caleb Plant fight,” a November TKO win by the Mexican boxer that preceded his loss to Bivol.

“I’ve been through some really tough things in my life, and the only thing you can do is try to keep going and move on,” Alvarez said. “I went through tough times with my defeats, and I showed that defeats are beautiful. It allows you to come back and be humble.”

That’s exactly what Alvarez displayed in the aftermath of a second victory over Golovkin, a third encounter that Golovkin and boxing fans have been waiting for four years to materialize. The September 2018 rematch, which Alvarez won by majority decision, was far from convincing, a battle that demanded an encore. The first fight, in September 2017, was a controversial draw that Golovkin was adamant about winning.

Both of those fights were contested at 160 pounds, where Golovkin remains a unified champion.

“Remember, I have [two] belts at 160. Coming back, still champion,” said Golovkin, who was making his debut at 168 pounds.

Since winning Olympic silver in 2004, Golovkin has competed at 160 pounds in title fights.

“Everyone knows this is a top class. He’s the best fighter in boxing. Everyone knows who Canelo is. This is a huge fight. Look at his face, look at my face. We are well trained, and it shows that we put in a very good quality fight,” he said.

“This fight is more tactical. Today Canelo is better. Congratulations to Canelo.”

Indeed, this fight was a far cry from the first two memorable entries in their historic rivalry, save for the final four rounds, when the action picked up exponentially.

Golovkin, 40, a native of Kazakhstan who fights in Los Angeles, was wide on all three cards entering the stretch and picked up the pace. He started shooting with his right hand, which made him a future Hall of Famer and connected on thumping shots in round 9 after pinning Alvarez in the corner.

Round 10 was more or less the same, with a pack of sharp inside right uppercuts set up by Golovkin’s excellent jab. After an 11th round in which an accidental headbutt opened up Alvarez over the right eye, Golovkin finished strong in the 12th.

“In the second half, I don’t feel bad,” Golovkin said. “This fight is so smart – more tactical, like chess.”

The fight however was not very good in the first seven rounds. Golovkin pumped his jab but never followed up with a right hand. Alvarez, meanwhile, controlled the action and pushed Golovkin back with a lot of pressure.

Alvarez attacked Golovkin’s body with blunt right hands to the liver, and a left hook to the face came behind him. At the end of round 3, Golovkin’s face was already swollen and a large mark appeared on his forehead.

Alvarez continued to hit Golovkin’s midsection with his right hand as the fight wore on, and in round 5 Alvarez connected on perhaps the biggest punch of the fight, an overhand right that made back the challenger’s head.

Yet Golovkin was never in danger. After all, he has one of the best chins in boxing, and time hasn’t seemed to erode it.

But the passage of time has finally put an end to what was once a bitter rivalry. Alvarez, ESPN’s pound-for-pound No. 5 boxer, will be looking to reclaim the No. 1 spot he owned before the upset loss to Bivol after a well-deserved rest.

Golovkin is close to the end but insists he will continue his career. After his last showdown against Alvarez on Saturday, there will be plenty of interest in his future fights, whether contested at 160 pounds or 168.

Whatever happens for each man, their time together in the ring is over, and with it, one of the greatest — and most bankable — rivalries in boxing history.

“I’m just happy to share the ring with him,” Alvarez said. “We gave the fans three really good fights. I’m happy to be involved in those kinds of fights.”

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