My first reaction to the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight was to recall that it reminded me of an important article on this website from last year after the first fight.
In it, the author argues that Canelo fought well, perhaps better than expected, stood up to GGG, lasted 12 rounds and showed excellent boxing skills. However, the author argued that Canelo did not do enough to win.
I can think of no better conclusion for this fight as well. But let us do a round by round breakdown first.
The first six rounds were dead even. Canelo won the 1st, 3rd, and 6th rounds, while GGG took the 2nd, 4th, and 5th. However, in the second half of the fight GGG pulled away – he won realistically the 7th through the 11th rounds, while Alvarez did win the 12th. Thus, the final judge’s scorecards should have read 116-112 for GGG. In fact, it was arguable that Golovkin took off the 12th round because he felt he had done enough in the preceding five rounds to warrant the victory. He was so dominant over Alvarez in the 8th to 10th rounds that I thought that the corner of Alvarez would stop the fight. The beating was so severe in the 9th round it reminded me of the hurt that GGG put on Curtis Stevens and the bashing that Ruslan Provodnikov gave to Tim Bradley, which you have to wonder if it caused permanent brain damage.
It is worth noting that the 7th and 11th rounds were closer, and it is possible to make an argument that Canelo edged out GGG in one of them. But the overall thrust of the fight in the 2nd half was total dominance of GGG. Yet the result on the final scorecards was a split decision win for Canelo.
In fact, despite the improvement of Alvarez, GGG dominated this fight nearly as much as he dominated the first fight. It was, however, in a different way – Golovkin made Alvarez miss madly in rounds 8-10 and punished him with hard blows. At no point in the fight did Canelo outclass GGG as GGG outclassed Canelo in the first fight.
Boxing is a big business and Canelo is the most popular figure. GGG should make the rematch take place outside of Paradise Nevada or Texas and move it Astana the capital of Kazakhstan, to get anything close to fair decision. Andre Ward was completely surprised a the “decision victory” he got against Sergey Kovalev, as he was knocked down and Kovalev was not, and Kovalev won the majority of the rounds. In their second fight, he literally won with a brutal low blow. This outcome was no different. Canelo has received “gift decisions” against Erislandy Lara, had open scoring against Austin Trout in Texas, and had a wildly out of place scorecard with Floyd Mayweather (CJ Ross 114-114 draw) and also against Golovkin in the first fight (118-110). Canelo stayed on his feet for all 12 rounds and that is all that he needed to do.