The first fight between Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) featured one of the most controversial decisions in recent boxing history. In many people’s eyes, Golovkin led the match from wire to wire. However, when the judges released their scorecards, the match was declared a draw.
In a fight where Golovkin comfortably had the upper hand for at least half of the 12 rounds, Judge Adalaide Byrd surprised everyone by scoring the bout 118-110 in favor of Alvarez.
Now, let's take a brief look at the careers of Alvarez and Golovkin to gain a better understanding of why their paths crossed in 2017, and why a rematch between the two stars is necessary for boxing fans to have any sort of closure.
Back at the start of 2016, it was clear that Alvarez and Golovkin were on a collision course. It was just a matter of when and where they would end up going toe-to-toe in the ring.
We'll start back in May 2016 when Alvarez fought Amir Khan. While being largely outboxed for five rounds, Alvarez crushed Khan with one punch, knocking him out in the sixth. Riding high on adrenaline and confidence, he immediately took to the microphone to challenge Golovkin, who was in attendance at the fight. Through a translator, Alvarez said, “Like I said in Mexico, ‘We don’t f— around.’ We don’t come to play in this sport. I fear no one in this sport. I’ll fight him [Golovkin] right now. Let’s put the gloves on and get in there with him.”
Golovkin clearly wanted to take on Alvarez after the Khan fight, but the two sides were unable to come to an agreement. Despite all the trash talk from Alvarez, a lot of the boxing world doubted that he actually wanted to face Golovkin.
Alvarez vacated the WBC world middleweight championship shortly after defeating Khan. Instead of fighting Golovkin, Alvarez decided to take on Liam Smith in his next fight. Leading up to the fight, Smith even admitted in a reddit AMA that he thought Alvarez was avoiding Golovkin: "Yeah, [Alvarez] ducked him [Golovkin] massively. He went the wrong way about it. He knows he's being criticized a lot and losing a lot of fans about the way he did it."
After knocking out Smith, Alvarez decided to take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in his next match instead of facing Golovkin. Unsurprisingly, the critics grew louder as many wondered whether Alvarez actually wanted to take on Triple G. Seemingly affected by these charges of ducking Golovkin, Alvarez dismantled Chavez Jr. and then took to the microphone after the fight in a scene reminiscent of his post-fight interview after knocking out Khan.
"GGG -- you are next, my friend," Alvarez said through a translator. "The fight is done. I’ve never feared anyone since I was 16 fighting as a professional. When I was born, fear was gone. I never got my share of fear. I’m very happy, and the rivalry is going to show my skills even more. I’ve had difficult fights, and that will no doubt be a tough fight. But, I always say, Canelo Alvarez is the best because I fight the best."