Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez closed the book on his trilogy with Gennady Golovkin, as he retained his undisputed super middleweight crown with a largely dominant points win at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The pair had shared the ring on two previous occasions, with their first meeting in September 2017 a draw, and the second one shaded by Alvarez, although there was an argument for Golovkin winning at least one of their contests.
Since their last meeting, Canelo had gone on to clean out the super middleweight division, as well as reigning at light heavyweight, but was coming off a shock loss to Dmitry Bivol in May.
His rival had won four on the spin since the September 2018 rematch, unifying the IBF and WBA ‘super’ middleweight titles last time out with a ninth round stoppage of Ryota Murata in Japan back in April.
Golovkin began in cautious fashion, while Alvarez possibly shaded the opening round with the more eye-catching work.
It was tentative stuff early on, with Canelo landing with decent right hands, and Golovkin utilising his jab in round two, and the action heated up in the third, with the Mexican connecting to the body, and applying pressure.
The Kazakh seemed gun shy in the first four rounds, and Alvarez sensed this by landing with cuffing shots in the fourth, but the 40-year-old came out of his shell a bit more in the fifth, only for Canelo to land a massive overhand right towards the end of the round.
After quieter sixth and seventh rounds, that Canelo again got the better of, he upped the ante in round eight, landing with stiff, whipping shots that Golovkin was slow to get out of the way of.
‘GGG’ finally let his hands go and moved forward in by far his best round in the ninth as the two exchanged, but it looked too little too late going into the championship sessions.
Golovkin was again competitive in the tenth, and kept marching forward in the penultimate frame, but he ultimately needed a knockout to win as the fight went into its final three minutes.
That never looked like coming, but he fought until the end, where the contest went to the cards.
Two scores of 115-113, and a third at 116-112 sealed the victory for Alvarez, although the margins looked a lot closer than they should have been and the pair embraced after sharing three battles.
Rodriguez retains world title
On the undercard, Jessie ‘Bam’ Rodriguez made a second successful defence of his WBC super flyweight world title, overcoming a slow start against the spirited Israel Gonzalez before taking a unanimous decision win.
Gonzalez (28-5-1, 11 KOs) impressed in the first half of the fight, before Rodriguez (17-0, 11 KOs) gradually gained a foothold in the contest.
The champion was docked a point for low blows in the eighth, and was forced to work hard against the Mexican who had three times previously failed at world title tilts.
Rodriguez was fortunate to not lose another point in the penultimate frame as another low blow went in, but eventually by two way too wide cards at 118-109 and 117-110 respectively, and a third at a more sensible 114-113.
Akhmedov overcomes Rosado
Ali Akhmedov (19-1, 14 KOs) took the vacant WBC Silver, and IBF North American super middleweight titles, as he dominated Gabe Rosado (26-16-1, 15 KOs) with a landslide points win.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) September 18, 2022
Three scores of 100-90 reflected the Kazakh’s superiority.
Williams outpoints Conway
Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams claimed the vacant WBA International belt at middleweight, with a clear points win against Northampton’s Kieron Conway.
Conway (18-3-1, 4 KOs) was dropped in the ninth by a right uppercut from Williams (12-0, 9 KOs), but was competitive, especially in the middle rounds.
Williams took the win by two scores of 97-92, and a third at 96-93.
Diego Pacheco remained unbeaten, and also took the vacant WBC United States super middleweight title, with a fifth round stoppage of Enrique Collazo.
Pacheco (16-0, 13 KOs) dropped Collazo (16-3-1, 11 KOs) with a big right hand, and, after the Puerto Rican beat the count, a two fisted attack from Pacheco forced the referee’s intervention.
In the battle of the unbeatens, Aaron Aponte (6-0-1, 2 KOs) and Fernando Angel Molina (8-0-1, 3 KOs) couldn’t be separated in an eight round split draw at super lightweight.
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) September 17, 2022
A score each of 76-74 was sandwiched by a 75-75 card.
Marc Castro (8-0, 6 KOs) stayed undefeated, as he knocked out Kevin Montiel Mendoza (6-2-2, 3 KOs) in the fifth of their scheduled eight rounder at lightweight, and at super flyweight, Anthony Herrera (3-0-1, 2 KOs) took a technical decision win against Delvin McKinley (4-4-1, 4 KOs) after he suffered a cut following a headbutt in the fifth of their scheduled six rounds.