LAS VEGAS -- Gennady Golovkin's educated pressure, stiff jab and hard combinations seemed to be enough in the biggest fight of his career on Saturday. Then came the scorecards.
In what has gone from coincidence to an epidemic in the history of Canelo Alvarez's biggest fights, the Mexican superstar received an incredibly large "benefit of the doubt" to pull out a loudly disputed draw during their middleweight championship bout in Las Vegas.
Judge Adelaide Byrd turned in the most egregious scorecard, 118-110, in favor of Alvarez. Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Golovkin and Don Trella had it 114-114. CBS Sports scored the bout 117-111 in favor of Golovkin.
"Look, my belts, I still champion," Golovkin said. "This is not my fault. I like the pressure. I want big drama show. I want to give people a big presence. It's not my problem. I'm very happy today."
Although Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett admitted Byrd "had a bad night" in scoring just two rounds in favor of Golovkin, he retained full confidence in her abilities.
"[Byrd] will keep swinging and next time she'll knock it out of the park," Bennett said.
The fight's questionable scoring, which draw loud boos from the sellout crowd of 23,358 at T-Mobile Arena and a firestorm of, spoiled what had been an instant classic of a premier pay-per-view bout as Alvarez stood tall in the storm of Golovkin's constant pressure to produce memorable pockets of action.
But the fight very much appeared to be Golovkin's and was fought exclusively at his pace and distance between rounds 4 and 11. Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) routinely pinned Alvarez on the ropes and was able to land patient shots without overextending himself.
After the fight, Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) was quick to downplay the impact of GGG's power when asked if he felt it. He also believed he had done enough to win the fight.
"No, truthfully, not really," Alvarez said. "There wasn't any power that didn't surprise me. In the first rounds, I came out to see what he had. Then I was building from there. I think I won eight rounds. To be convincing, I felt that i won the fight."
While Alvarez never hit the canvas, he did absorb a number of flush power shots while being cornered. Golovkin outlanded Alvarez, 218 to 169, according to CompuBox, and landed more punches overall in 10 of 12 rounds. He also landed more jabs, 108 to 55.
Golovkin, 35, who defended his trio of 160-pound titles for the 19th time (one shy of Bernard Hopkins' middleweight record), was predictably gracious despite the result. He also said he's ready for a second fight.
"Of course I want a rematch. Yes, the next fight I want a true fight," Golovkin said. "I have a couple of ideas [for the rematch]. I want a close fight, Mexican style."
Alvarez, who outlanded Golovkin only in power shots, 114-110, supported his opponent's desire for a rematch.
"Yes, of course. Obviously. Yes, if the people want it, yes," Alvarez said. "He did't win, it was a draw. I always said i was going to be a step ahead of him. We'll fight in the second one but I win anyways."
Alvarez appeared to box evenly with Golovkin in the opening rounds and showed enough power to gain GGG's respect. His refusal to hold throughout the bout ultimately helped the superfight live up to its potential for action.
"No surprises. We knew going in this would be a war," Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez said. "Canelo was very resilient."
While Alvarez deserves respect for his toughness and chin, the story of the fight ultimately came down to Golovkin's constant pressure and his own ability to take Alvarez's best shots and continue to stalk forward.
CBS Sports scorecard: Canelo vs. GGG
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