GENNADY “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fought out an incredible split decision draw in Las Vegas.
The two put on one hell of a show for an adoring crowd as fight fans marvelled at the incredible skill, strength and resilience shown by both men.
In the end the three judges couldn’t split the two middleweights as the boxing icons shared the spoils. One official scored the tense battle 114-114, another saw it 115-113 for Golovkin but the third had it 118-110 for Alvarez.
The decision sees Golovkin retain his three world middleweight titles. The 35-year-old, making his Las Vegas debut, keeps hold of the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation belts in front of a crowd of 22,358 at the T-Mobile Arena.
It was an incredible fight and both men deserve credit for the spectacle living up to the hype. Golovkin just never slowed down, shrugging off blows that would stop any other fighter as he showed his chin was made of granite.
Golovkin landed the stiffer punches of the two in the opening round but neither fighter was very active. The defending champ landed some nice combinations with his jab and clipped Alvarez with his right hand before the Mexican responded in kind late in the round.
Round two was close again as the fighters traded jabs. Alvarez hit with a left hook and Golovkin fired back with an uppercut as the Mexican found his feet.
The pace of the fight started to quicken in the third round as both men traded body shots. Canelo hit Golovkin with an uppercut before the man from Kazakhstan finished by rocking his opponent with a nice left hook.
Golovkin had Alvarez on the ropes in the fourth, landing some of his heaviest blows yet and things really lit up in the fifth. Golovkin was aggressive, rocking Alvarez’s head a couple of times.
Once again Golovkin backed Alvarez up against the ropes to start the sixth, finding his groove. But Canelo wasn’t proving easy to contain, landing some nice jabs to the body.
The middleweights started to let their hands go early in the seventh as Canelo connected with an uppercut before Golovkin hit back with an impressive three-punch combo.
GGG pressed forward in the eighth and ninth rounds, brushing off Alvarez’s blows and landing two big right hands.
The two are certainly giving fans their money’s worth. Every time Canelo lands a punch that would stop any other fighter, Golovkin shrugs it off. It’s as if his chin is made of granite.
Golovkin looked to tire at the start of the 10th but still managed to counter everything Alvarez threw at him, peppering him with jabs before a clean right hand snapped the Mexican’s head back. All of a sudden he was the one looking fatigued.
The fighters must have been cooked but the action didn’t slow down in the final two rounds. They continued to unleash on each other as they proved without doubt this — not the McGregor-Mayweather sideshow last month — was the true fight of the year.
Joseph Diaz (25-0) defeated Rafael Rivera (25-1-2) via unanimous decision (119-109 x 2, 120-108)
It wasn’t pretty but it was effective enough for Joseph Diaz as he eventually made light work of fellow featherweight Rafael Rivera in a unanimous decision win.
Diaz didn’t have it all his own way early on as his opponent — who took the fight on just four days’ notice — started aggressively. He landed two hard rights in the third and an overhand right in the sixth, but Rivera couldn’t sustain it and the American came into his own late in the fight.
A combination of left and right hooks in the ninth round illustrated Diaz’s dominance and he followed that up with an uppercut in the 10th that rocked Rivera and convinced the judges to award him the victory.
Diego De La Hoya (20-0) defeated Randy Caballero (24-1) via unanimous decision (98-92 x 2, 100-90)
Diego De La Hoya looked the dominant fighter for the duration in his unanimous decision win even as Randy Caballero pushed the Mexican for the full 10 rounds.
The cousin of 10-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya peppered Caballero with body shots in the opening few rounds as he found his range immediately. He used his left hook expertly and looked a class above inside the ring.
Caballero defended better from round six as De La Hoya tired and he went on the offensive in round seven. His 23-year-old foe launched some well-timed body-head combos in the eighth and did the same in the ninth, even as he favoured forcing the clinch.
Ryan Martin (20-0) defeated Francisco Rojo (20-3) via split decision (96-93, 95-94, 91-98)
Ryan Martin and Francisco Rojo went the distance in the first bout of the pay-per-view card in Sin City, the American defeating the Mexican via split decision.