By Rob Andrew Dongiapon

Saúl Canelo Álvarez asserted supremacy on Gennady Golovkin, retaining the undisputed super middleweight title in a fashion that contrasts their first two fights, inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Sunday. 

Photo Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Alvarez made the fight a one-sided affair right from the get-go, controlling the tempo with his speed and precision and the threat of his overhands and uppercuts to take Golovkin, at the age of 40, by the horns. 

The judges scored the bout 116-112, 115-113, and 115-113 unanimously in favor of Canelo but a tad bit closer than most thought. 

Punch stats also dictated Alvarez’s domination as the champion connected 27% (130/487) of his total punches thrown compared to Golovkin’s underwhelming 23% (120/521). Power punches were also in favor of Canelo, connecting 39% (85/217) of all power thrown while GGG registered 27% (46/171).

The rivals slugged to a draw in their first fight in 2017, before settling to a controversial majority decision win favoring Alvarez in 2018 — both as 160-lb fighters. 

“I’m glad to share the ring with him,” Canelo said for Golovkin as the two showed mutual respect post-fight. “Thank you so much, my friend. Thank you for everything.” 

The Mexican, 32, came out swinging, establishing his lead foot and forcing Golovkin to fight with his back foot. Golovkin was oftentimes pushed back as Alvarez pounded on GGG’s lack of activity and timidity in the first half of the fight.

Golovkin’s hesitation to throw his marquee rights, perhaps stemming from the threat of Alvarez's uppercuts and counters, made this third installment of their rivalry anything unlike the first two.

Action, for the most part, only came from one pair of boots, right until GGG decided to put on a final quarter hoorah. Alvarez tasted some thudding blows in the ninth as Golovkin picked up some pace, finally deciding to exchange blows. 

Golovkin showed sharpness in his game the rest of the way, turning the tide from being oppressed to the aggressor. Alvarez, however, had the decision win sealed in the first eight rounds as GGG’s final gasp ended in naught.  

The win not only solidified Canelo’s legacy — now standing at 58-2-2, 39 KOs — as the clear-cut victor of this rivalry but also served as a vindication after his stunning loss against Dmitry Bivol in the light heavyweight division last May. 

“I’ve gone through some difficult times with my defeat. And I’ve actually shown that my defeats are great because it enables you to come back and show humility,” Alvarez uttered in Mexican.  

The fight was also Golovkin’s (42-2-1, 37 KOs) first taste of super middleweight stage (168 lbs) after almost exclusively fighting at 160 in his career, where he still holds two titles. 

Edited by Mark Angelo Manez