A look back at the forgotten split draw between Canelo, GGG

The moment after ring announcer Michael Buffer revealed judge Adalaide Byrd’s 118-110 scorecard, the middleweight classic between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin became an afterthought.

Everything that happened inside the T-Mobile Arena ring a year ago was lost, and it started with Byrd’s lopsided score for Alvarez.

The split draw was pushed further from the memory bank after Alvarez tested positive for a banned substance and blamed it on contaminated meat. The rematch scheduled for May 5 was canceled, and Alvarez received a six-month suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

With the Alvarez-Golovkin rematch rescheduled for Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, it’s time to remember why the first bout was an instant classic. Here’s a round-by-round analysis with quotes from the HBO pay-per-view broadcast.

Five scorecards are attached, from fight night judges Dave Moretti, Don Trella and Byrd, along with HBO’s Harold Lederman and the Review-Journal.

First round

Golovkin wasn’t wearing his usual smile during the ring-walk. He appeared nervous for his first Las Vegas fight, and it showed in the opening rounds.

First punch of the fight was a Golovkin jab, a punch he used often. But it wasn’t doing damage against Alvarez’s movement around the ring.

Alvarez countered with a left to the body for the first real action (1:16). Alvarez is at his best when landing counter shots to the body. He got plenty of opportunities with Golovkin charging.

“Fastball pitcher against a fastball hitter,” HBO analyst Max Kellerman said.

Alvarez landed his first uppercut with 30 seconds left. The Mexican was quicker and threw more in the round.

R-J: Canelo 10, GGG 9

Lederman: GGG 10, Canelo 9

Byrd: Canelo 10, GGG 9

Moretti: Canelo 10, GGG 9

Trella: Canelo 10, GGG 9

Second round

Trainer Abel Sanchez told Golovkin to take deep breaths. He still showed signs of nerves in the second round.

Alvarez came out aggressive to force Golovkin to back up. Not many have forced Golovkin to go backward.

Golovkin showed respect for Alvarez’s power.

A confident Alvarez moved to the center of the ring to throw left hooks to the body while moving his head to avoid Golovkin’s punches.

Alvarez did a dance and flashed a smile at Golovkin to end the round.

R-J: Canelo 10 (20), GGG 9 (18)

Lederman: Canelo 10 (19), GGG 9 (19)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (20), GGG 9 (18)

Moretti: Canelo 10 (20), GGG 9 (18)

Trella: Canelo 10 (20), GGG 9 (18)

Third round

“He’s slow but strong,” trainer Eddy Reynoso said to Alvarez. “Let’s keep working.”

Alvarez interrupted.

“Eddy, he doesn’t hit hard,” Alvarez said.

After two rounds, Alvarez had outlanded Golovkin 11-0 in body shots.

Golovkin finally began to let his hands go (2:46). The two got into their first back-and-forth action of the fight.

Alvarez clinched onto Golovkin with 31 seconds left. That’s the first sign of Alvarez showing fatigue.

Golovkin started to develop a rhythm, but Alvarez did most of his work early in the round. A tough round to score.

R-J: Canelo 10 (30), GGG 9 (27)

Lederman: Canelo 10 (29), GGG 9 (28)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (30), GGG (27)

Moretti: GGG 10 (28), Canelo 9 (29)

Trella: GGG 10 (28), Canelo 9 (29)

Fourth round

“You gave that one away,” Sanchez told Golovkin.

Golovkin went on the attack to force Alvarez onto the ropes (1:30).

Alvarez shook his head and asked Golovkin to keep punching. He did.

It was the first clear round for Golovkin.

R-J: GGG 10 (37), Canelo 9 (39)

Lederman: GGG 10 (38), Canelo 9 (38)

Byrd: GGG 10 (37), Canelo 9 (39)

Moretti: GGG 10 (38), Canelo 9 (38)

Trella: GGG 10 (38), Canelo 9 (38)

Fifth round

Alvarez recorded more power punches than Golovkin after the first four rounds (28-24).

Golovkin hit Alvarez with a power right hand to rock Alvarez on the ropes with one minute left. It was the first big punch of the bout, and the crowd erupted.

Alvarez put an end to Golovkin’s barrage with 23 seconds remaining. He used his hand speed to leave the ropes and push Golovkin back.

Another big round for Golovkin, but Byrd didn’t agree.

R-J: GGG 10 (47), Canelo 9 (48)

Lederman: GGG 10 (48), Canelo 9 (47)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (49), GGG 9 (46)

Moretti: GGG 10 (48), Canelo 9 (47)

Trella: GGG 10 (48), Canelo 9 (47)

Sixth round

“Don’t experiment,” Reynoso told Alvarez. “Keep doing what you were doing. Move around. He’s slow. That’s why he caught you.”

Alvarez opened the round with two big body shots.

The boxers got tangled (1:22), and before referee Kenny Bayless could break them up, Alvarez threw a right punch behind his back. Bayless caught it. A replay showed Golovkin sneaked in a left punch while Bayless was yelling at Alvarez.

Probably the toughest round to score at this point. Strong round for Alvarez, but Golovkin stole the round with a better finish.

R-J: GGG 10 (57), Canelo 9 (57)

Lederman: GGG 10 (58), Canelo 9 (56)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (59), GGG 9 (55)

Moretti: GGG 10 (58), Canelo 9 (56)

Trella: GGG 10 (58), Canelo 9 (56)

Seventh round

Alvarez spent most of the time moving without throwing punches while Golovkin charged forward and cut the ring.

A throwaway round for Alvarez, but he did land a pretty uppercut to end it. A punch that could have swayed Trella into giving Alvarez the round. This was the last round Golovkin won on Byrd’s scorecard.

R-J: GGG 10 (67), Canelo 9 (66)

Lederman: GGG 10 (68), Canelo 9 (65)

Byrd: GGG 10 (65), Canelo 9 (68)

Moretti: GGG 10 (68), Canelo 9 (65)

Trella: Canelo 10 (66), GGG 9 (67)

Eighth round

Alvarez connected on a hard right to Golovkin’s head (2:22). Golovkin ate the punch and kept stalking Alvarez.

Golovkin had Alvarez moving backward throughout the round. Alvarez landed a right uppercut with 40 seconds left, but again, Golovkin took the punch and kept moving forward.

“When your opponent walks through shots like that, what can you do?” Kellerman asked. “(Golovkin is) becoming the avalanche in this fight.”

R-J: GGG 10 (77), Canelo 9 (75)

Lederman: GGG 10 (78), Canelo 9 (74)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (78), GGG 9 (74)

Moretti: GGG 10 (78), Canelo 9 (74)

Trella: GGG 10 (77), Canelo 9 (75)

Ninth round

After a few slow rounds, Alvarez is active again. They traded punches in the opening minute to get the crowd on its feet.

Golovkin landed a left hook (2:24), a punch Sanchez asked Golovkin to use before the round.

The boxers bumped foreheads like two fighting rams. Golovkin’s high work rate bothered Alvarez.

R-J: GGG 10 (87), Canelo 9 (84)

Lederman: GGG 10 (88), Canelo 9 (83)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (88), GGG 9 (83)

Moretti: GGG 10 (88), Canelo 9 (83)

Trella: GGG 10 (87), Canelo 9 (84)

10th round

“You need the three best rounds of your life,” Reynoso told Alvarez.

Alvarez opened with a beautiful combo upstairs. Alvarez stunned Golovkin with a right hook (2:25). He finally had Golovkin hurt. A rarity to see to the iron-chinned Golovkin stumble.

Golovkin shook it off as the two began to trade punches.

“It’s ‘Rock’em Sock’em Robots’ right now,” Kellerman said.

HBO flashed a power punch count with 27 seconds left. It was 83-83.

Alvarez had more power punches than Golovkin in the 10th round, 15-11.

R-J: Canelo 10 (94), GGG 9 (96)

Lederman: GGG 10 (98), Canelo 9 (92)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (98), GGG 9 (92)

Moretti: Canelo 10 (93), GGG 9 (97)

Trella: Canelo 10 (94), GGG (96)

11th round

The boxers went toe-to-toe in a tight round. Alvarez probably had a few more notable punches, which led to all the judges awarding him the round.

After seven straight rounds for Golovkin, Lederman gave the 11th to Alvarez.

R-J: Canelo 10 (104), GGG 9 (105)

Lederman: Canelo 10 (102), GGG 9 (107)

Byrd: Canelo 10 (108), GGG 9 (101)

Moretti: Canelo 10 (103), GGG 9 (106)

Trella: Canelo 10 (104), GGG 9 (105)

12th round

Fighters embraced to start the final round.

Alvarez came out firing with a seven-punch combination. His fast hands pushed Golovkin back at the two-minute warning.

They traded in the final 10 seconds. Fighters threw their hands in the air after the bell.

R-J: Canelo 10 (114), GGG 9 (114) — Draw

Lederman: Canelo 10 (112), GGG 9 (116) — Golovkin

Byrd: Canelo 10 (118), GGG 9 (110) — Alvarez

Moretti: Canelo 10 (113), GGG 9 (115) — Golovkin

Trella: Canelo 10 (114), GGG 9 (114) — Draw

More boxing: Follow all of our boxing coverage online at reviewjournal.com/boxing and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

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