Sunday, September 25, 2022

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Canelo wins on points over Golovkin to wrap up rivalry

Over 12 rounds on Saturday night, “GGG” took on an unfortunate new meaning for Gennady Golovkin, as his chances of getting “justice” in his trilogy with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went fast, went, then went charging.

Judging controversies marred the rivals’ first two encounters, in 2017 and 2018, denying Golovkin one or even two wins over Canelo, and the irony on this occasion was that the Kazakh might have been ‘good’ end to end in the end. one, if he hadn’t left too late to start shooting.

But leaving him late was the theme of this fight, which pitted a top-notch Canelo at 32 against an aged Golovkin at 40, and that factor gave way to baffling hesitation at GGG, who rallied late but really wasn’t worth the 116-112. , 115-113, 115-113 scorecards — all of which favored Canelo, anyway.

September, the T-Mobile Arena and staggering scorecards were the staples of this rivalry, with only the division varying this time around as middleweight foes clashed at super middleweight, as Canelo a put his IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO titles on the line.

Golovkin took Canelo out in impressive fashion five years ago, only to be forced to settle for a draw with the Mexican, who picked up a questionable victory in the nearest rematch 12 months later. As the gladiators returned to their coliseum for one last battle, the problem for Golovkin was that – for once – it didn’t seem like a matter of life or death.

The middleweight champion has been so brutally spellbinding over a 16-year professional career and has vowed to continue, but his greatest assets were absent for the first eight rounds here as he dared not risk opening up to the power of his adversary.

Canelo was content to support the Kazakh and fire intermittent hooks to the body, feeling no need to take his own risks given the lukewarm attack that lay in front of him.

Gradually, Alvarez began to draw attention to Golovkin’s header, and although GGG showed smart defense, that meant little compared to the lack of performance that saw him drop out round after round.

At least that was the perception of most, rather than what was reflected in the dashboards.

Golovkin eventually answered his trainer’s pleas for more volume and toughness once the fight reached its midpoint, but the veteran’s prying punches and corkscrew hooks could have won him the final four rounds in the final. more, by any sensible measure.

Given the judges’ take on the situation, however, GGG will surely regret their slow start. For them, a more positive approach from Golovkin could easily have sealed the draw.

But three wrongs don’t make a right. Even if Golovkin had made his own luck by asserting himself in the ring and getting a lucky nod outside of it, the same bitter taste that lingered after the Kazakh’s controversial loss and draw with Canelo would have redone. surface here.

For those sad to see one of boxing’s greats come out of this trilogy with two losses and a draw, there might at least be some strange consolation in knowing that Canelo proved little that night.

The Mexican had the opportunity to capitalize on Golovkin’s faltering speed and unsettling concern, but he failed to deliver the knockout he promised.

Canelo will need to be sharper if his next endeavor is to be a rematch with light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, who holds the kind of legitimate win over Alvarez that Golovkin denied in 2017, and arguably again in 2018.

If Canelo can even the score with Bivol, perhaps another legendary trilogy awaits the face of boxing.

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