Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is el campeon…
The 29-year-old Mexican superstar boxer scored the signature win of his career in this weekend’s long-awaited rematch with Gennady Golovkin, capturing the WBC and WBA middleweight titles by a majority decision in a classic encounter that all but guarantees a third installment in May.
Two of the finest pure fighters of their generation treated the sellout crowd of 21,965 at the T-Mobile Arena to a contest of extreme physical and psychological intensity that managed even to surpass their electric first meeting last year, which ended in a widely derided split draw.
This one was just as close and not entirely beyond dispute, merely flecked by controversy rather than defined by it.
Ringside judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld scored it 115-113 to Álvarez, while Glenn Feldman had it 114-114.
Álvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), the popular red-haired boxer from Guadalajara, now adds Golovkin’s belts at 160lbs to the lineal middleweight title he earned by virtue of a 2015 win over Miguel Cotto.
“I showed my victory with facts,” Álvarez said afterward through an interpreter. “He was the one who was backing up. I feel satisfied because I gave a great fight. It was a clear victory.”
For Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), the razor-thin verdict marked his first defeat in 40 professional fights, the first at any level since the 2005 amateur world championships, and ended his division-record streak of 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses on level terms with Bernard Hopkins, who incidentally is a minor stakeholder in Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Álvarez.