LAS VEGAS — Gennady Golovkin retained his middleweight titles last night, fighting to a controversial draw with Canelo Alvarez in a brutal battle that ended with both fighters with their hands aloft in victory.
The middleweight showdown lived up to its hype as the two fighters traded huge punches and went after each other for 12 rounds. Neither fighter was down and neither appeared seriously hurt but both landed some huge punches to the head that had the crowd screaming in excitement. Golovkin was the aggressor throughout and landed punches that had put other fighters to the canvas. But he couldn’t put Alvarez down, and the Mexican star more than stood his own in exchanges with Triple G.
The draw was the first mark on Golovkin’s record, which now stands at 37-0-1. Alvarez is now 49-1-2, his only loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The two were still brawling as the final seconds ticked down. Alvarez was leading after the first three rounds, then Golovkin dominated the middle rounds. After a pep talk from his corner, Alvarez came out more aggressive in the 10th and won the last three rounds on all the judges’ scorecards. One judge had Alvarez 118-110, a second had it Golovkin 115-113 and the third had it 114-114.
Golovkin, an Olympian from Kazakhstan who has never lost in 38 pro fights, retained his middleweight titles with the draw. But Alvarez showed that he could take Golovkin’s punches and land telling power shots of his own. A frenzied crowd of 22,358 at the T-Mobile Arena roared throughout the fight as the two middleweights put on the kind of show that boxing purists had anticipated.
They brawled, used sharp jabs and counter punched at times, with neither one willing to give the other much ground.
Alvarez seemed to rally and rocked Golovkin with uppercuts and big right hands. But just as soon as he landed he often took one back from the slugger so feared that most other fighters avoided him.
“I won seven, eight rounds easily,” Alvarez said.
Both fighters raised their hands in triumph at the final bell and jumped into the arms of corner men. Then they waited as the scorecards were added up.
“Today people give me draw. I focus on boxing,” Golovkin said. “Look my belts, I’m still champion. I’ve not lost.”