Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez claimed the WBC and WBA world middleweight titles after beating Gennady Golovkin on points in Las Vegas.
The Mexican was judged to have won a frenetic final round which proved decisive, Alvarez scoring a 114-114, 115-113, 115-113 majority decision.
Their first meeting almost exactly a year ago was similarly close, although on that occasion the fight ended in a draw.
“My corner told me that I needed to win the final round and that what’s I did,” Alvarez said. “I’m very emotional.
“I promised the people I would go for a knockout. He’s a very good fighter. I did this for Mexico.
“Again he was connecting punches but they were few and far between. He’s a great opponent but every fighter depends on the fighter. Every great fighter has a great rival.
“If the people want another fight then we’ll do it again,” Alvarez said. “We’ll do it, no doubt.”
It was a first professional defeat for Golovkin and he left the ring immediately without conducting an interview as his rival celebrated.
Later, Golovkin told reporters: “I’m not going to say who won tonight, because the victory belongs to Canelo according to the judges. I thought it was a very good fight for the fans, and very exciting. I thought I fought better than he did.”
Ringside punch stats showed a close fight, though they favored Golovkin by a small margin. He was credited with landing 234 of 879 punches while Alvarez landed 203 of 622.
Canelo Alvarez is the new middleweight champion after defeating Gennady Golovkin by majority decision. https://t.co/ZPL1nvNNaA
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) September 16, 2018
The build-up to the contest had featured accusations by the fighter from Kazakhstan that Alvarez was covered in injection marks during their first fight, which took place at the same T-Mobile Arena venue. Alvarez subsequently failed a pair of drugs tests in February for the banned substance clenbuterol.
He claimed that the failed tests were a result of eating contaminated meat but the Nevada Athletic Commission imposed a backdated six-month suspension on the Mexican fighter.