By Michael Malaszczyk: The verdict is in, and Canelo has beaten GGG in their rubber match, 116-112 on one scorecard, and 115-113 on two others.
Personally, those scorecards are a bit close for comfort, as this fight was not really close at all. This writer personally scored it 117-111, 9 rounds to 3, for Canelo, and even that feels like it could be one round generous to GGG.
Nevertheless, both men can hold their heads high as they’ve given us another great trilogy for the boxing history books. Canelo is great, and nobody can deny that at this point. He deserves all the credit and accolades that will be coming his way after this fight. But Golovkin deserves a special shout out here coming off of his first decisive loss.
He just went twelve rounds with a man many expected to knock him out, a man who has blitzed the 168 pound division and become among the top pound for pound fighters in the sport. GGG should have at least one win against Canelo from their first fight, and arguably two from their second. Alas, he got none. But he got a moral victory here.
By going the distance with Canelo at age 40, GGG has proven beyond any doubt that prime for prime, he matches Canelo well. He can take Canelo’s shots and even has some good defensive skills of his own; those defensive skills were on display tonight, as GGG blocked or slipped many of Canelo’s punches, something all recent Canelo opponents other than Bivol have not been able to do. He just couldn’t pull the trigger and get much of an offense going, but that is to be expected from a fighter his age.
GGG, in the eyes of most, won the first fight handily. He also won the second fight in the eyes of many, but it was much closer, and perhaps between the first two, the rematch should’ve been the draw. There is no shame in losing a decision to a prime champion at age 40.
Perhaps GGG’s legacy would be in question if Canelo had knocked him out. But he didn’t, and his legacy as a great middleweight remains secure. GGG went 36 rounds with a man many consider to be one of the best to ever do it. GGG went more rounds than any Canelo opponent has ever gone, and never looked particularly hurt in these fights.
All props to Canelo, an all-time great, legendary fighter. But hold your head high, Golovkin. You’ve done your fans proud. Without a doubt, one of the best middleweights of all time.