Alvarez bids farewell to Golovkin to retain the undisputed super middleweight crown

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez retained his undisputed world super middleweight title on Saturday, beating Gennady Golovkin to complete their epic fight trilogy in Las Vegas.

Mexican Alvarez was responsible for most of the 12 rounds in an electric T-Mobile arena, winning a unanimous decision to set off wild scenes of celebration among the Mexican fans who made up most of the sell-out crowd.

One judge scored the fight 116-112 while the other two saw it go 115-113 for Alvarez, who took control early and kept cruising even as Golovkin stepped up in the late rounds.

“Thank you, my friend,” Alvarez told Golovkin in the ring after a match built on bitter rhetoric. “We gave the fans three good fights. Thanks for everything.”

It was a welcome return to form for Alvarez, who suffered a second loss of his career earlier this year after moving up to light heavyweight to face Dmitry Bivol.

“You have to keep moving forward,” he said. “I showed that defeat can show that you can be great and that you can regain your humility.

“He’s a good fighter, a real fighter,” he added about Golovkin. “I’m glad to share the ring with him.”

That return to 168 pounds clearly suited Alvarez, but Golovkin had to rue a leaden start that saw him only come to life when it was too late.

“It was a tactical mistake on my part to start slowly but we wanted to see how the fight developed,” Golovkin said. “I think we both started slowly.”

Alvarez improved to 58-2-2 with 39 knockouts, but said he knew he wouldn’t get the first-round KO he said before the fight he craved.

“In the first lap I knew he was strong,” said Alvarez. “He’s a tough fighter. I need surgery, my left hand isn’t good. But I’m fine, I’m a warrior, that’s why I’m here. I can’t hold a glass. It’s really bad. But I’m a Warrior.”

This highly anticipated third confrontation between two of the world’s hardest hitting fighters came a full four years after they last met.

In 2018, it was Alvarez whose hand was raised at the end of 12 frantic, high-value rounds in which Golovkin suffered defeat for the first time, coming out the wrong end with a narrow majority decision.

Their first bout the year before ended in a draw and the result of the second bout was tough for the Kazakh warrior who has little time for Alvarez and made no bones about it during this week’s build-up here.

Bad blood had been brewing since the Mexican failed a drug test and was banned for six months, slowing down this trilogy.

Golovkin, who fell to 42-2 with a draw and 37 knockouts, said any dispute with Alvarez was “100% settled” and he felt no animosity towards him.

“I want to shake hands with Canelo,” he said, “if you don’t understand anything, you don’t understand anything.”

Alvarez came to the ring cheered on by his enthusiastic crowd, many of whom were still in the mood for a party after the Mexican Independence Day celebrations in Sin City.

– ‘Mexico!’ –

GGG has been around for almost a decade, so facing Alvarez – and the pumped-up crowd – was nothing new, as opposed to super middleweight fights, which was a first for the 40-year-old.

Chants of “Mexico! Mexico!” roared as Alvarez opened aggressively but couldn’t find a way through Golovkin’s rearguard.

The first few rounds were low key as Alvarez threw a lot but didn’t hit everything.

Golovkin’s face began to redden thanks to Alvarez’s jab.

The Mexican stood firmly on the front foot. A big right hook in the fifth slammed into Golovkin’s granite jaw, but the Kazakh absorbed the force and made his case against his far more aggressive opponent.

Golovkin began to show his age as Alvarez continued with a barrage of shots attempting to break through the GGG defense.

In the ninth round, Alvarez found himself on the ropes, but Golovkin just couldn’t make any progress even though he had started throwing more shots.

The last few rounds were frenetic and action-packed, with Golovkin throwing everything at his Mexican opponent, but it was too little, too late, when Alvarez stood his ground.

Alvarez said he wasn’t surprised by Golovkin’s late pressure.

“It didn’t surprise me. I know him – he is a strong fighter.”

And he said he would welcome the opportunity to avenge his loss to Bivol, but first he needs to heal.

“I need to rest my body,” Alvarez said. “I need to rest my hand, my body, but I will come back stronger. I will hit him.”

Golovkin, meanwhile, scoffed at the idea that defeat could send him into retirement.

“Remember, at 160, I’m still the world champion,” said Golovkin, holder of the IBF and WBA world middleweight titles. “I’m coming back boys, I’m still champion.”

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