On Saturday, September 16, 2017, Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) stepped inside the ring at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV to face Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs), the hard-hitting Middleweight who was billed as the toughest opponent of the Mexican superstar’s career.
Although many fans felt that the day would never come where Canelo and Golovkin would actually square off, after Canelo’s shellacking of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Golovkin’s close, but unanimous-decision win over Daniel Jacobs earlier this year, the brass at Golden Boy Promotions felt the time was right to match the two top Middleweight fighters.
For years, GGG had been billed as the boogeyman, not only of the Middleweight division, but of boxing in general. His daunting power consistently made it difficult to land the marquee fights he wanted—including ones against the likes of Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto.
But in boxing, “what have you done for me lately,” seems to be the prevailing motto. Instead of his dominating performances, which earned him 23 consecutive knockouts over fighters like Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens and David Lemieux, many people argued and pointed to Golovkin’s most recent and “vulnerable” fights where he supposedly looked beatable against the likes of Kell Brook and Jacobs.
Building off of what Brook and Jacobs were able to do, Canelo supporters argued that Canelo would expose Golovkin and finally hand the Kazakh his first professional defeat.
Canelo began the fight on his bicycle, circling around the ring as Golovkin patiently–and cautiously–came forward. Both men were respectful of the other, not committing to much, other than jabs.
The next few rounds followed the same blueprint, Canelo backing up and Golovkin coming forward but only finding small pockets of success.
But, in Round 5, Canelo began to slow down and as he opted to become more stationary, all hell broke loose much to the delight of fans.
Both Canelo and Golovkin landed thudding shots, both shaking their heads as each man claimed that the punches weren’t having any affect.
It was high drama. The crowd erupted as the bout finally turned into the firefight many people wanted.
Although Golovkin was clearly the aggressor throughout the fight, those that gave Canelo the fight will argue that GGG wasn’t able to land clean.
There were many surprising spots in the fight, possibly the biggest one of all was that Canelo willingly laid on the ropes over and over (mainly because he was fatigued) and Golovkin never truly made him pay for it.
Golovkin did win in the total punch stats–landing 218 of 703, while Canelo landed 169 of 505, according to CompuBox.
— CompuBox (@CompuBox) September 17, 2017
That gap, of almost 200 punches thrown, demonstrates how inactive Canelo was throughout the bout, but the connects also show how GGG couldn’t land all that much more.
As the fight went into the 12th and final round, many ringside observers believed that Golovkin held a lead that could not be taken without a knockout from Canelo.
Canelo seemed to be on the same page as he used every last bit of energy he had left to land power shots on Golovkin’s face during the first half of the round.
As the final bell sounded, the 22,358 fans roared as folks exchanged their unofficial scorecards. As Michael Buffer began reading the officialy judge’s scores, the T-Mobile Arena erupted once again, but this time it wasn’t because of the action in the ring.
The final scores were 118-110 for Canelo, 115-113 for GGG and 114-114 even. The 118-110 score came courtesy of notoriously bad judge, Adalaide Byrd.
— Rosie Perez (@rosieperezbklyn) September 17, 2017
I thought GGG won. Those scores were just bananas.
— Jerry Ferrara (@jerryferrara) September 17, 2017
Never !! Clearly #GGG controlled the fight and won 🥊🏆
— Travis Barker (@travisbarker) September 17, 2017
Although it wasn’t the BIG drama show many predicted, the fight was exciting and tense and a rematch would surely satisfy fans–as long as Byrd is not allowed near the venue.
Who do you think won the fight? Would you like to see a rematch?
Header photo by HBO