By David Berry, LAS VEGAS: Gennady Golovkin was the aggressor, Canelo Alvarez the crisp puncher. In the eyes of most at ringside - and this scribe among them - Golovkin appeared to do enough to win the fight, but an inexplicable card from Adelaide Byrd of 118-110 for Canelo was enough to make the fight a draw. (I had the fight 115-113 for Golovkin).
The other two cards read 115-113 Golovkin, 114-114 even.
The fight lived up to expectations in every conceivable way, though. Golovkin cut the ring off expertly but Canelo gave him hell in the middle of the ring, landing the crisper exchanges. But the tenor of the fight largely had Canelo backing up, with Golovkin stalking. Both fighters were buzzed at multiple times throughout, with the war coming to a fever pitch in round 10 as Golovkin appeared truly hurt for the first time in his career, only to storm back.
The fight played out as more boxing match than brawl, until the later rounds, but both combatants had their moments in vicious exchanges. Golovkin's defense was better than expected, and Canelo's defense was brilliant at times.
As for what's next, a draw leaves both fighters with options. A Golovkin win meant a mandatory rematch for Canelo, but a Canelo win didn't mean he owed one to Golovkin. A draw, however, leaves an opening, though given how competitive the fight was, you can bet that people will clamor for a rematch.
However, the pro-Canelo crowd seemed to voice their displeasure with the decision, booing the Mexican superstar during the post-fight interview and cheering loudly for Golovkin instead.
The ending shouldn't steal the thunder from what was truly a scintillating main event. There have been worse finishes in boxing. The result may not be awful, but Adelaide Byrd's 118-110 score card was. In fact, we called Byrd out by name in our prediction article for that exact reason.
Golovkin retains his titles.