Gennady Golovkin came in as the villain and walked away the hero in his fight vs. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on Sept. 16.
At T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas – Mexican Independence Day – the cheers were for Canelo were deafening. It seemed that every punch from Canelo generated a reaction, whether it landed or not. You could feel it in your brain, the sweat of your palms, and your veins. It was an incredible feeling that not everyone gets to experience.
As the fight wore on, though, the unabating energy simmered down, and it was apparent to everyone in the building that Canelo was getting out-worked and out-hustled by Golovkin. However, the thought of a bogus scorecard was also not out of the question.
While his defense has most certainly improved from recent fights, Canelo fought in spurts offensively and was not doing enough to win rounds. According to Compubox, Golovkin landed 218 of 703 punches (31 percent), while Alvarez landed 169 of 505 (34 percent). Furthermore, Golovkin out-landed Canelo in 10 of the 12 rounds. FightNights.com scored the bout 116 to 112 for Triple-G.
When ring announcer Michael Buffer announced that Adelaide Byrd scored the bout 118 to 110 in favor of Canelo, the 22,358 fans in attendance and members of the media, sat there in shock. Then, the arena erupted in boos once it was ruled a split draw. Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for Golovkin, and Don Trella scored it 114-114 even.
As predicted, the first-half of the fight was close and tough to score, and Golovkin would take control in the second-half and force Canelo to fight at his pace.
Instead of coming forward, Canelo, 27 of Mexico, would trap himself on the ropes with the hopes of countering Golovkin, 35 of Kazakhstan, with a big shot.
The game plan didn’t work, and it appeared Canelo fought with a high sense of urgency in the championship rounds as if he needed them to win the fight, but he denied it.
“Not at all. [I fought that way] to be convincing in what I already had won. That’s all,” he said through a translator.
Mexicans are glorified because of their patriotism and fighting injustice regardless of who it might be. What we saw on Saturday was an injustice, and even Canelo’s fans made it clear they were not pleased.
In post-fight interviews, while Golovkin was given a hero’s reception, Canelo, on the other hand, was surprisingly booed.
For Golovkin, it’s not a total loss. He could return in December to fight – at long last – WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders. A victory would give Golovkin all the belts, making him the undisputed champion.
His average pay-per-view numbers, which average around 160,000, should rise significantly from the Canelo fight. It will not be a shock if Golovkin generates close to a million or more than one million buys for his bout. If he fights Saunders, at the O2 Arena, for instance, it is bound to be a “big drama show.”