Bernard Hopkins was all smiles after Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez captured the WBA, WBC and IBO middleweight titles after a majority decision against Gennady Golovkin.
The fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas came nearly a year to the day since a split-decision draw left the Kazakh boxer stunned.
And Triple G was left to rue what could have been again, with two judges scoring the last of the 12 rounds for the Mexican, which ultimately prevented a second draw in as many fights.
Two judges scored the fight 115-113 in favour of Canelo, while the third had it at 114-114.
The pair went blow for blow in the highly anticipated bout at the T-Mobile Arena, Canelo controlling the pace but Golovkin better with the jab in the early stages.
Canelo got in some strong body work in the second half of the fight but, into the 12th round, it was the champion who was pushing harder, landing a left-hook and uppercut.
The Mexican’s strong chin and even stronger resolve saw him go the distance and then take the three straps as Golovkin tasted defeat for the first time in 40 fights.
If Golovkin would have won, he would have snapped Hopkins' record of 20 world title defenses at middleweight.
Canelo, who unlike the first bout was the clear aggressor in the contest, put together a body of work that
Hopkins is a partner in Golden Boy Promotions, who guide the career of the Mexican star, and he loved the strategy from Canelo.
He also felt Golovkin'a advanced age of 36 had only played a minor role in the outcome.
“[Canelo] stood in the center of the ring because he knew he was faster and he knew he’d think quicker,” Hopkins said.
“It wasn’t the age difference, though that played a little part, but it was the speed. And when he needed to hold his ground, he held his ground. He got hit with some shots, but he showed he could withstand those punches. Triple-G realized that and everybody in this building could see that he was getting tired.”