On Saturday, September 17, the boxing world witnessed the conclusion to the Canelo Alvarez versus Gennadiy Gennadyevich Golovkin (GGG) trilogy. The first fight ended in a tie, which is extremely rare in the boxing world. Many believed Golovkin pulled off the upset, and just as many believed Alvarez won easily. The second fight ended with Alvarez winning in a split decision, and it left the fans wanting more. After years of Alvarez exploring new weight classes and claiming belts in multiple divisions, the third and final fight between the two finally took place. That being said, Golovkin was a large underdog coming into the fight, being 40 years old and having lost a step since their last bout five years ago. The fight unfolded as follows.
The fight starts with some soft throws from each side while they both gauge the distance from the opponent and assess their opponent’s alertness. Alvarez, typically a counter puncher, is very active in the middle of round one. He clearly is looking for a knockout. Golovkin is slightly on his heels, but standing his ground and avoiding the corner. The round ends quietly as each fighter only lands a few punches. I scored the round 10 for Alvarez, 9 for Golovkin, simply because Alvarez was the aggressor.
Round two starts where round one left off. Some tentative jabs by Golovkin followed by some haymakers by Alvarez, which barely missed. Alvarez picks up the pace at the two-minute mark, showing off his superior speed. Still, not many blows are landing. Nearing the end of the round, Alvarez lands a few gentle punches, just missing. He then lands an overhand right, but Golovkin is unfazed. The round ends. Again, Alvarez narrowly wins the round because he is throwing and landing more than his counterpart. 20 Alvarez, 18 Golovkin.
Alvarez comes out ablaze. Throwing twice as much as the previous two rounds. Golovkin is on the defensive. Alvarez can feel the difference in their speed and is taking advantage of it. Alvarez lands a three punch combo, although Golovkin again appears to be unconcerned. Golovkin has been waiting to land a power shot, but no openings have surfaced thus far. Although neither have landed big blows to this point, Alvarez is clearly fighting with anger while Golovkin is fighting with caution.
30 Alvarez, 27 Golovkin.
Golovkin comes out clearly more aggressive. He’s consistently throwing and matching Alvarez’s pace. Each take turns being the aggressor vs. the defender. Alvarez throws some haymakers, but none connect. Golovkin is avoiding combos, instead, he is throwing single jabs or hooks with no follow up. Alvarez takes his foot off the gas, now comfortably bobbing and weaving rather than throwing. He returns a large right hook, but only hits Golovkin’s glove. 40 Alvarez, 36 Golovkin.
Alvarez is now focusing on more combos, Golovkin is able to block most but inevitably some slip through the defense. Alvarez isn’t landing many shots, but he’s clearly dominating the fight to this point. Alvarez again takes his foot off the gas, he’s allowing himself to regain some stamina because Golovkin isn’t throwing as much as he should. Alvarez is now connecting a handful of big overhand rights. Golovkin is clearly shaken up, but does not waiver. 50 Alvarez, 45 Golovkin.
More of the same to start, Alvarez remains the aggressor while Golovkin tries to remain on the outside and keep Alvarez away with jabs. The two exchange blows. Alvarez has landed 25 power shots to this point, versus Golovkin’s 11. Alvarez is somewhat chasing Golovkin around the ring. Golovkin seems to have slipped a couple of hooks past Alvarez’s defense late in the round. I’d say this round was incredibly even. With Golovkin taking a slight step forward and Alvarez taking a slight step back. 60 Alvarez, 55 Golovkin.
Alvarez comes out throwing more than any other round. He immediately starts with a flurry of punches and combos. Golovkin is someone who never shows fear or discomfort, and he is doing more of the same now despite being on the defensive. Both parties take a break in the middle of the round. Both also seeming to pick it up nearing the 45-second mark. Alvarez lands only a few shots in the remaining 30 seconds, but it’s enough to secure his win of the round. 70 Alvarez, 64 Golovkin.
Golovkin is finally throwing. He’s standing and exchanging blows rather than backing up. Alvarez doesn’t seem to be worried and continues to be aggressive. Alvarez simply has twice the speed of Golovkin, throwing and landing significantly more than Golovkin. Neither are throwing body shots. It appears Golovkin is not throwing body shots because he does not want his hands down for even a moment because Alvarez’s speed will make him pay. Golovkin is throwing and landing more now than in any other round. Although Alvarez was never in serious danger, I awarded this round to Golovkin for throwing, landing, and putting Alvarez on the ropes. 79 Alvarez, 74 Golovkin.
Both fighters are feeling energized, seemingly upping the punch count in each round. They touch gloves after an inadvertent hit to the back of Alvarez’s head. Golovkin is now landing solid power punches, putting Alvarez on the ropes for a moment. Alvarez responds with a flurry of counter punches, getting himself off the ropes and back to the middle of the ring. Golovkin lands a solid right hook while Alvarez leans on the ropes. After working his way back to the middle, Alvarez exchanges a few meaningful blows, but not enough to take the round away from Golovkin. 88 Alvarez, 84 Golovkin. That’s back-to-back rounds for Golovkin, although just barely.
Round 10 starts with a fun exchange, Alvarez and Golovkin are letting their hands go, both unafraid to get hit if it means creating an opening for their opponent. This round is reminiscent of the first two fights between these two. Predictably, both take a break in the middle of the round after starting off strong. Alvarez lands a strong left hand to the body, which seems to have slowed down Golovkin. Final minute. The boxers tangle up and upon departing, Golovkin becomes the aggressor. An accidental headbutt opens a small cut on Alvarez’s right eye. Golovkin again narrowly wins the round.
97 Alvarez, 94 Golovkin.
The championship rounds begin. Both fighters seem to have a second wind, coming out swinging as if they know the fight is on the line. Alvarez is fighting as if he is comfortably ahead, while Golovkin is fighting as if he knows he’s far behind. Golovkin is using his greatest weapon to his advantage, which is his superior reach. He is landing multiple jabs and keeping Alvarez on the defensive. Golovkin, a power puncher, has not been throwing power punches as much as usual. Alvarez ramps up the speed and lands a few blows at the end of the round. Alvarez fights comfortably and did not get rocked, only getting hit with jabs. Alvarez wins the round. 107 Alvarez, 103 Golovkin.
It’s the final round and Golovkin needs to knock down Alvarez to have a chance. Both boxers are throwing a lot, but neither are landing solid blows. Golovkin lands a solid jab and slips away. Alvarez continues to hug his opponent, not because he is wobbly, but because he knows all he needs to do is survive to win the fight. The grapples by Alvarez continue. He’s choosing the safe option rather than the flashy one. “Just don’t get knocked down, and I win,” is what Alvarez is thinking. The final round has been the least exciting since round seven, as Alvarez continues to waste the time away by grabbing onto Golovkin. Golovkin wins the final round simply due to the fact that he was attempting to fight while Alvarez was clenching. My final scoring: 116 Alvarez, 113 Golovkin.
Canelo Alvarez officially won the bout by unanimous decision. The judge’s official scorecards read as follows.
116 Alvarez, 112 Golovkin
115 Alvarez, 113 Golovkin
115 Alvarez, 113 Golovkin