The judges could not separate Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez after 12 exciting rounds in Las Vegas last night.
Bizarrely, the opening judge Adalaide Byrd scored the bout 118-110 in Alvarez’s favour, while Don Trella gave it 115-113 for Golovkin, and Dave Moretti’s 114-114 score made the fight a draw.
Expectations were high for the mega-fight – with both boxers regarded as two of the best in the business – and fans were treated to 12 gripping rounds at the T-Mobile Arena.
Canelo made the brighter start to the fight, catching GGG with some stinging counters, and doing well to avoid a few wild shots from the undefeated middleweight.
However, the relentless Kazakh began to dominate the ring, and forced the pace for the majority of the fight. Golovkin landed plenty of probing jabs, but seemed reluctant to unload big body shots for fear of being caught on the counter.
Renowned for his 87% KO rate, the powerful 35 year old did not catch Alvarez with any of his best shots.
After a shaky fifth round in which 27 year old Canelo looked very dangerous on the counter, GGG regained control of the fight, closing off the ring and hunting the elusive Mexican down.
At times, however, Alvarez was happy to mix it in the middle, and both boxers showed their solid chins on more than one occasion. Both men raised their hands in celebration at the final bell, but it had appeared that the unbeaten GGG had edged a close, gripping fight.
Following the stunned reaction to the scorecards, Canelo was booed for claiming that he had won seven or eight rounds, as Adalaide Byrd’s card somehow suggested.
“In the first round I came out to see what he had, but I won seven or eight rounds easily,” the Mexican claimed, much to the anger of the crowd.
“If the people want it (a rematch) yes… it was a draw.”
Golovkin also called for a rematch, and was unhappy with Canelo’s tactics.
“He has good experience, but I wanted a true fight,” he told HBO.
“I like Mexican style. Every time I want a true fight, I want big drama show.
“Of course I want a rematch. I want to fight a true fight.”
Alvarez’s promoter Oscar de la Hoya claimed his fighter had won, but criticised Byrd’s scoring.
“The 118-110, I don’t understand, I really don’t,” he admitted.
“Byrd is a very competent judge but I just don’t understand 118-110. I had Canelo winning seven-five. 118-110 is a shocker.”
Golovkin – who landed 218 punches compared to Canelo’s 169 – also slammed the judges.
“I saw computer, all total punches, I saw people’s reaction.
“It’s terrible, for me it’s terrible. This is not correct, this is very bad for the sport.”
The result keeps GGG’s unbeaten professional record intact, but Alvarez drew his fourth professional fight, and suffered his only pro defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather.
Golovkin has now been taken 12 rounds in his last two fights, and age may well be catching up with the fearsome middleweight world champion.
Round one ended in a draw, but it seems certain that fans will be treated to round two.