Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Ãlvarez fight to controversial split draw
Boxing Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Ãlvarez fight to controversial split draw
- Rematch looms after Golovkin and Ãlvarez fight to split draw in Las Vegas
- Ringside judge Adalaide Byrd found only two rounds to award Golovkin
- Nicola Adamsâ US debut scuppered after opponent fails pre-fight blood test
The two best fighters in the world are still the two best fighters in the world, and there ought not be much argument over the drawn 12-rounder between Gennady Golovkin and Saul âCaneloâ Ãlvarez, although the manner of getting there on the scorecards was bizarre.
The sometimes eccentric Adalaide Byrd gave a palpably closer fight 118-110 to the Mexican, Dave Moretti had it a more sensible 115-113 and Don Trella had enough evidence to justify a 114-114 draw. And that glow of satisfaction at ringside might have been the smiles of the TV executives and casino heavyweights who know they will now do it all over again.
Golovkin keeps his WBC, WBA and IBF belts, as well as the lesser IBO title, and Ãlvarez is still the Ringâs acknowledged king as well as the lineal champion, by virtue over his win against Miguel Cotto in 2015. The last undisputed world middleweight champion was Bernard Hopkins, the business partner and one-time tormentor of Ãlvarezâs promoter, Oscar De La Hoya.Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Ãlvarez fight to controversial split draw â" live! R ead more
But the 22,358 fans in the T-Mobile Arena were not interested in that history; they wanted new stuff. They wanted a definitive answer to the question: who is the best middleweight in boxing?
From where the Guardian sat ringside, the answer should have been Golovkin, but not by a lot: seven rounds to four, with one even. A couple of those rounds were close and tough to call. And the exchanges were often so intense it was difficult to separate them.
Yet that hardly excuses the deplorable score of Byrd, who is an experienced official in Nevada. This was not a good night for her. It was, however, a terrific night for the sport.
Even though Golovkin had the belts, Ãlvarez held the cards when they divided up the guaranteed loot: $5m to $3m, and he has De La Hoya to thank for that. The promoter insisted beforehand this was ânot about the moneyâ, but âa history fightâ. Up to a point â" and certainly when they were throwing and ducking leather, the only thoughts on their minds were survival and victory, in competing levels of intensity.
De La Hoya also predicted âeight or nine rounds of hellâ for both men. He was not wrong there.
There was the most cursory glance between the fighters when they touched gloves, but the circumspection lasted only as long as it took Ãlvarez to fire off the first sharp blows and edge the first round. A rhythm had alread been set in place: Golvkin stalking behind the stiffest jab in the division and Ãlvarez waiting for gaps. Each brought contrasting but meshing skills, as well excellent records.
With clinical ruthlessness, Golovkin had shredded the ambitions of his 37 previous opponents, among them Matthew Macklin in 2013, Martin Murray two years ago and, most recently, Kell Brook last year. He also destroyed Willie Monroe Jr, who lost to Billy Joe Saunders in London on Saturday in what appeared from a distance to be 12 scdrappy and some times dull rounds for the unbe aten British middleweightâs WBO title.
As for Ãlvarez, four British challengers have tried and failed against him: Matthew Hatton and Ryan Rhodes (back to back in 2011 at light-middle), Amir Khan, so viciously knocked out in this ring last year, and Liam Smith, whom he stopped in nine rounds in Texas a year ago.
But the name that stands out on the Mexicanâs card is that of Floyd Mayweather Jr, against whom all fighters at or around these weights must be judged. Ãlvarez, despite his early start in the professional sport at 15, was not good enough when they fought in 2013 to break down the fortress Mayweather had built around him. He is a different customer now.
Ãlvarezâs quicker fists established early dominance, while the four-belt champion took a while to find his range and tempo.
Eight years younger and a split-second quicker, Ãlvarez walked on to a heavy right in the third but the natural counter-puncher was beating the knockout artist to the punch.
Golovkin warmed to his work in the fourth and Ãlvarez unwisely took a peppering on the ropes, shaking his head defiantly. Maybe the concussive power of the Kazakhâs fists were doing their work without the spectacular buzz of some of his previous work, but Ãlvarez was clearly feeling the weight of them, as so many before him had. His head now snapped back with monotonous regularity.
The challengerâs hand-speed dipped around half way, and his judgment blurred as he continued to take needless risks.
Golovkin, having rediscovered the snap and energy that had drained from him in his last fight against Daniel Jacobs, was the boss again. Ãlvarezâs face was growing puffy, but his pride was solid. Constantly on the back foot, he had his right hand cocked for an equaliser. It did not always come when he wanted it to.
The younger manâs swings were growing wild and weary, and his legs were as heavy as his heart. Golovkin kept his shots short and di sciplined, although he walked on to a decent uppercut near the end oof the eighth, which he still won clearly.
What had earlier been a challenge was now a routine exercise in pain dispensing for Golovkin. When Ãlvarez decided to trade, it was the champion who reaped the dividend, but Ãlvarez got home with a single right hand that turned his opponentâs jaw sideways in the ninth â" the sort that levelled Khan here in centre ring.
Ãlvarez steeled himself for a rearguard assault to save the fight. But Golovkin was the bigger man, and fresher. Yet the Mexican would not be denied. He found his target and staggered his man with a tremendous right in the tenth.
Although the last two rounds were as close as they were frenetic, it was Golovkin who held his nerve.
Golovkinâs trainer Abel Sanchez, echoed the wider sentiment when he said ringside, âNo surprises. We knew going in it was going to be a war. Canelo was very resilient.â
Golovkin, in his charming and truncated English, described the fight as, âa drama showâ, adding, âOf course I want the rematch. This was a real fight. Look, I still have all the belts. Iâm still the champion.â
For Nicola Adams, the double Olympic gold medallist, the evening went flat an hour before she was due to start the show in mid-afternoon against the Hungarian Alexandra Vlajk when she was informed her opponent had failed a blood test.
The cheeriest soul in sport kept smiling, shrugged her shoulders and said, âItâs just one of those things.â Unfortunately, it coincided with her first visit to Las Vegas and her third professional fight. She got to see very little of the garish desert phenomenon but hopes to return one day. She hopes her next fight will be in Leeds on 21 October on the Josh Warrington undercard.Topics
- Canelo Alvarez
- Gennady Golovkin
- US sports
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