By MARK LORENZANA
The third and final fight between Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin on the night of Saturday, Sept. 17, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas wasn’t as close as their first two fights, but still provided a lot of fireworks, and ended in a unanimous-decision victory for the Mexican IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight world champion.
In the first two rounds, both Álvarez and Golovkin were content to feel each other out, but the action started to heat up in the third, when Canelo started landing both his jabs and power shots. Golovkin, who is known as a power puncher and pressure fighter who likes to stalk and hunt down his opponents, was visibly on the defensive end for most of the fight. By the middle rounds, Triple G’s face was swollen, and he was starting to wear down. The world champion from Kazakhstan — who still holds the IBF, IBO and WBO middleweight belts — had his moments in the fight, and managed to stun Canelo several times, but in the end it was not enough.
Curiously, in what was supposed to be a lopsided victory for Álvarez, two of the ringside judges, David Sutherland and Steve Weisfeld, scored the fight 115-113 for Canelo, and the third judge, Dave Moretti, saw it 116-112 for the Mexican. Most boxing experts barely gave Golovkin two or three rounds, and had scored it for Álvarez as either a shut-out — like Bad Left Hook boxing writer Will Esco, who scored it 119-109 — or a conclusive win for Canelo, like Box Azteca’s resident boxing analyst Eduardo Lamazón, whose unofficial scorecard only gave Golovkin three rounds, 117-111.
Canelo and Golovkin, who had much animosity between them, owing to their first two contests — particularly the first fight, which boxing analysts believe Golovkin should have won but which ended up in a draw — seemed to put the bad blood behind them.
“Thank you so much, my friend. Thank you, Golovkin, thank you for everything,” Canelo said after the fight. “We gave the fans three good fights. Thank you so much for your support. I’ve gone through very difficult things in my life. The only thing you can do is continue to move forward. I’ve gone through difficult times with my defeat. But defeats can show how you can be great, how you can come back and show humility.”
“I want to shake hands with Canelo, congrats,” Golovkin said in return. “The guy is a real warrior, and if you don’t understand, you don’t understand nothing.”
Álvarez is planning to avenge his loss to Russian light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol, possibly returning to the ring in May 2023, but said that he wanted to take a much-needed rest first and would take the rest of the year — and the early part of next year — off.
For his part, Golovkin said he intends to keep on fighting even at the ripe age of 40, and reminded the media that he still has three belts at a lower weight division, which he will look to defend in 2023.