Gennady Golovkin suffered the first loss of his professional career from the hands of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their epic middleweight world title fight in Las Vegas on Saturday.
The fight is the second, after their first encounter, a year ago, ended in a controversial draw.
But, this time, Alvarez clinched a points decision that again divided experts in what many thought could have gone the other way.
Two judges gave it 115-113 for Alvares, while the other had it a 114-114 draw.
The fight, in front of a sellout, celebrity-studded crowd that included Mike Tyson, actor Will Smith and basketballer LeBron James at T-Mobile Arena, lived up to its billing as the best two pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Golovkin landed some big blows to the head in the closing rounds, opening a cut above Alvares’ left eye, but the Mexican prevailed to improve his career record to 50-1-2, including 34 knockouts.
“It was a very tight fight,” said Alvares in a ringside interview after becoming the WBC, WBA, IBO and Ring Magazine world champion.
“I looked for a knockout but it’s difficult. He’s a great fighter but in the end I got the victory.
“I’m very excited, very emotional. I want to thank everyone who believes in me. This is for them and long live Mexico.”
Kazakh Golovkin, 36, thought he had perhaps done enough to get the decision.
“I’m not going to say who won tonight, because the victory belongs to Canelo according to the judges,” he was quoted as saying by ESPN.
“I thought it was a very good fight for the fans, and very exciting. I thought I fought better than he did.”