Canelo Alvarez ends bitter rivalry vs. Gennadiy Golovkin with unanimous decision victory

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 17: Canelo Alvarez (red trunks) lands a punch against Gennadiy Golovkin (white trunks) in the fight for the Super Middleweight Title at T-Mobile Arena on September 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Canelo Alvarez lands a punch against Gennadiy Golovkin in the fight for the super middleweight title at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 17, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — The first two bouts between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin were classics and featured two of the greatest fighters of their era competing in a pitched battle for huge stakes.

On Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in their third meeting, it was nothing of the sort. The 40-year-old Golovkin looked like a far cry from the superstar he was in 2017 and 2018 in dropping a wide unanimous decision to Alvarez in a battle for Alvarez’s undisputed super middleweight title.

The judges bizarrely scored it close, having it 115-113 twice and 116-112 for Alvarez. The only way Golovkin won four or five rounds is if he got credit for being hit. Yahoo Sports had it 120-108 and only saw one round it could even reasonably consider for Golovkin.

Golovkin’s attempt at revenge turned into a beatdown by his bitter rival. Alvarez was still very much at the top of his game, but Golovkin looked like an old, faded fighter who couldn’t get his punches off.

Alvarez and Golovkin fought to a disputed draw in 2017 in a bout most felt Golovkin won. In 2018, the fight was closer and Alvarez won a disputed decision.

But Alvarez came out smoking, winging huge shots at Golovkin in an obvious bid to finish him, as he said he’d do throughout the build-up. Only Golovkin’s legendarily strong chin saved him from being dropped or finished for the first time in his career.

Alvarez, who was coming off a loss in May in a light heavyweight title fight with Dmitry Bivol, fought a smart, aggressive and controlled fight. He was able to take chances with home run shots that he couldn’t in the first two fights because Golovkin’s quickness wasn’t nearly the same on Saturday as it was then.

Fans got their money’s worth in those first two fights, but not so much on Saturday unless one likes to see a young fighter beat the tar out of a classy but far past it fighter.

Alvarez said in the build-up he disliked Golovkin because Golovkin talked bad about him so much. But when the beatdown finally ended, they embraced in the center of the ring and spoke for a few seconds before the ring filled.

It put an end to a long and bitter rivalry between the two, who are among the greatest of their time. Golovkin is 44-0 against everyone else, but 0-2-1 against Alvarez.

Alvarez looked like the guy who defeated Caleb Plant last year to not only win the undisputed super middleweight title but also vaulting to No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world. He didn’t look that way in May when Bivol outworked him, but he made a strong case for himself Saturday.

Golovkin offered little other than a lot of heart and a good chin. But he certainly wasn’t dangerous and didn’t seem as if he was ever a threat to win.