After hearing the judges’ decision declaring his opponent, Canelo Alvarez, the winner of Saturday night’s middleweight boxing championship bout by a majority decision, Gennady Golovkin exited the ring without participating in the postfight interview.

It was understandable. Just as he had one year ago, Golovkin appeared to defeat Alvarez, connecting on twice as many jabs and controlling the second half of the fight to seemingly defend his title. The judges in Las Vegas saw it differently. Glenn Feldman scored it, 114-114, while Steve Weisfeld and Dave Moretti had it, 115-113, for Alvarez.

It came down to the 12th and final round, with two of the judges giving it to Alvarez.

The decision was more respectable than the one from a year ago, when Golovkin appeared to rally from a slow start to outbox Alvarez and defend his title. That bout ended in a draw. Most observers, including HBO announcers Max Kellerman and Jim Lampley, thought Golovkin won the first fight. But neither were outraged, knowing it would lead to a rematch.

Even if the judges did their job and scored the first fight for Golovkin, both fighters did enough to show that Saturday’s rematch was warranted.

his time around, Alvarez (50-1-2) was the aggressor early, pressing forward and making Golovkin retreat. He took the first two rounds and was not as cautious as he was in the initial fight, landing several powerful body shots.

Canelo Alvarez [middleweight champ]
Canelo Alvarez [middleweight champ]
Golovkin (38-1-1) used his jab effectively to limit the damage and get back in the fight. After six rounds, the fight was even. It was in the final six rounds that Golovkin was able to create separation, work inside, and connect on a few uppercuts to Alvarez’s chin.

Alvarez stayed busy as well, and certainly did not concede much, using his left hook to continue to pepper Golovkin.

Kellerman, famous around these parts for declaring Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was “going to fall off a cliff” and would “be a bum in short order” more than two years ago, seemed to be taking the same approach to Golovkin, 36.

“Take nothing away from GGG, he looks more like an old fighter than he did even in their first fight,” said Kellerman toward the end of the eighth round. “Maybe he is starting to slow down.” Yet Harold Lederman, who was scoring the fight for HBO, had Golovkin ahead through nine rounds, 87-84, and considered Golovkin the winner, 116-112.

It was a much better performance for Alvarez than one year ago, and a much closer fight. Had the first fight been scored correctly, and Golovkin been declared the winner, Saturday night’s decision may have even been more palatable to some.

Lampley’s observation after the first fight also would have been more appropriate this time around, because boxing fans likely would have deemed a draw to be a reasonable conclusion Saturday night, and would sign off on a third chapter for this rivalry.

Source: Andrew Mahoney