Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Saturday retained his undisputed super middleweight world title, seeing off Gennady Golovkin to complete their epic fight trilogy in Las Vegas.
Mexico’s Alvarez was in charge for most of 12 rounds at an electric T-Mobile Arena, winning a unanimous decision to spark wild scenes of celebration among the Mexican fans who made up most of the sell-out crowd.
One judge scored the bout 116-112, while the other two saw it 115-113 for Alvarez, who took control early and continued to cruise even as Golovkin stepped it up in the late rounds.
“Thank you so much, my friend,” Alvarez said to Golovkin in the ring after a bout whose build-up was marked by some bitter rhetoric. “We gave the fans three good fights. Thank you for everything.”
It was a welcome return to form for Alvarez, who suffered the second defeat of his career earlier this year after moving up to light heavyweight to face Dmitry Bivol.
“You have to continue to move forward,” he said. “I have shown that defeats can show you can be great and you can regain your humility.”
This return to 168 pounds (76.2kg) clearly suited Alvarez, even though he said he fought with a left hand injury that would require surgery before he could seek a rematch with Bivol.
“I need surgery on my hand after this because I’m not good from my left hand,” Alvarez said. “But I’m good. I’m a warrior. That’s why I’m here.”
He said the injury, which he sustained last year, had affected him “a lot. I can’t hold a glass, but I’m a warrior.”
Golovkin was left to rue a leaden start, only sparking into life when it was too late.
“It was a tactical mistake on my part to start slow, but we wanted to see how the fight was going to develop,” Golovkin said. “I think we both started slowly.”
“Everybody knows who is Canelo, everybody knows a bad step, you lose the fight,” he said. “You lose one punch, you lose the fight. Look at his face, look at my face. We’re like this because it was a high-level fight, because we trained well and we did a very good quality fight.”
“This fight was more tactical, like chess,” he added. “Today Canelo was better.”
Alvarez, who said he knew from the first round he would not get the knockout he craved, improved to 58-2-2 with 39 knockouts.
This highly anticipated third tussle between two of the hardest hitting fighters in the world came four years after their last meeting.
Back in 2018, it was Alvarez whose hand was raised at the end of 12 frenetic, quality rounds which saw Golovkin suffer defeat for the first time as he came out on the wrong end of a narrow majority decision.
Their first fight the year before ended in a draw.
Bad blood had boiled between them ever since Alvarez failed a drugs test and was banned for six months.
Golovkin, who fell to 42-2 with one drawn and 37 knockouts, said any dispute with Alvarez was “100 percent” settled and he felt no animosity toward him.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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