Canelo Álvarez ended his long rivalry with Gennady Golovkin with a clear victory in their trilogy fight on Saturday.
After two bruising bouts, both with conflicting results, the pair met for a third and final time at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
And in front of a partisan crowd for Álvarez – this fight took place on Mexican Independence Day Weekend – the fan favorite earned a unanimous victory.
Despite dominating the opening round, he had to fight off a late comeback from Golovkin, but eventually won by the judges’ scores, one 115-113 and the other 116-112 – in favor of Álvarez.
The win cements Álvarez’s position as one of boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters, as he retained his IBF, WBA (Super), WBO and WBC titles and undisputed super middleweight crown.
Although the pair had previously traded blows and expressed their dislike for each other, they embraced in the ring after Saturday’s fight, both expressing their admiration for each other.
“He’s strong, he’s a great fighter,” Álvarez said. “For me, I’m happy to share the ring with him. We give the fans three good fights. I am glad to participate in such a fight”.
Golovkin said: “I want to shake Canelo’s hand. Congratulations to his whole team. He’s a true warrior, if you don’t understand that, you don’t understand anything.”
What does the future hold for these two legendary fighters?
For Álvarez, the victory over Golovkin was a return to winning ways, having been defeated in his previous fight, only the second defeat of his career.
The Mexican fighter stunned undefeated Russian Dmitry Bivol in their lightweight title fight as he tried to make a step up in weight.
And while the 32-year-old confirmed that avenging that loss to Bivol is his next goal, he indicated that the fight will have to wait while he recovers from the hand injury he suffered ahead of the fight against Golovkin.
According to ESPN, a team doctor said Álvarez has a torn cartilage in his wrist that could require surgery followed by six to 12 weeks of rehabilitation.
“I can’t hold a glass,” he said. “It’s really bad. But I’m a warrior.”
Álvarez added: “I left everything there. I have to operate on my hand, my left hand is not good. Everyone knows [Bivol is the fight I want]. We’ll see what happens in that fight. But I have to rest.”
For Golovkin, at the age of 40, many believed this would be the last act of his storied career.
However, the Kazakh fighter has said that he intends to continue fighting. “Absolutely,” Golovkin said when asked if he would continue to fight.
“I still have this fire burning in me. I have a passion for boxing. Don’t forget I have three belts at 160 lbs. I feel great.
“I didn’t accept a serious shot. I’m tired, I’m fresh. I feel strength and power within me. Of course, if the opportunity presents itself, I intend to return to the ring.”