After a tentative start, last night’s battle between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin became everything we expected, as the two warriors exchanged life-changing blows on their way to a hard-fought split draw.
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KO) appeared to have defused Golovkin’s (37-0-1, 33 KO) legendary aggression with effective counter-punching, landing quality body shots and limiting Golovkin to only jabs.
After about the third round, though, Golovkin turned up the heat and began forcing Alvarez’s back against the ropes for longer and longer stretches. While Alvarez found the mark with some eye-catching shots, including an overhand right in the ninth round that might have been the best punch ever landed on the Kazakh bruiser, nothing seemed capable of slowing the assault.
As the fight seemed on the brink of slipping out of reach, however, Alvarez found a second wind and began putting together savage combinations for the last few rounds. As always, Golovkin bulled through them and went to work with heavy blows on the ropes, but he no longer had the dominating edge in volume and ring generalship.
Two of the judges turned in reasonable cards: 115-113 Golovkin, which was close to my 116-112 score, and 114-114. Adalaide Byrd, the judge who scored Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan for Garcia, had it 118-110 Alvarez. There is literally no possible justification for giving Alvarez ten rounds. I cannot fathom how an objective observer with almost two decades of judging can find ten rounds for Alvarez.
At the end of the day, she simply had a a “bad day.”
The one bright side is that this means we’ll almost certainly get a rematch, which I am more than down for. I want to see these guys bounce bricks off each other’s heads for another half-hour.
The A-sides all picked up wins on the undercard, though some more easily than others. Former Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. (25-0, 13 KO) cruised past game late replacement Rafael Rivera (25-1-2, 16 KO) in the co-feature, while Diego De La Hoya (20-0, 9 KO) came out on top in his clash of unbeatens with Randy Caballero (24-0, 14 KO).
Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (20-0, 11 KO), on the other hand, was lucky to escape his fight with Francisco Rojo (20-3, 13 KO) with his undefeated record intact. He struggled to damage Rojo or maintain distance, allowing the shorter man to consistently dig powerful body blows, but landed enough eye-catching combos to sway two of the judges.
For full round-by-round coverage of the night’s proceedings, click here.