HBO PPV results: Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez battle to a disputed draw
Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fought to a draw Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, and although it was an intense 12 rounds of true competition for the legitimate world middleweight championship, it wasn’t what people were talking about afterward.
118-110 for Alvarez was the first card read by Michael Buffer and immediately the 22,358 in attendance went from hushed to a clamor that made the next score, 115-113 for Golovkin, hard to hear. Mouths shut and ears propped up for the final score, 114-114, which ultimately the bout ruled the bout a draw and the indefinite ending left fans booing both fighters in their post-fight interviews.
“It’s a big drama show,” said Golovkin, who seemed unbothered by the result. “I want to thank all my fans. I want to thank all my Kazakhstan fans for supporting me, for coming out. Of course I want a rematch, this was a real fight. Look, I still have all the belts. I’m still the champion.”
“I thought I won the fight,” proclaimed Alvarez. “I was superior inside the ring. I won at least seven…eight of the rounds. I was able to counterpunch and even make Golovkin wobble a couple of times. It’s up to the people if we fight again. I feel frustrated over this draw.”
In the case for Golovkin, 37-0-1 (33), the Kazakhstani’s jab consistently pierced through Alvarez’s guard and continuously had him using his legs to avoid the oncoming power shots that proceeded it. Starting in the seventh round, Golovkin’s constant pressure started to make Alvarez’s body language change, compared to the previous six rounds. The 35-year old started to mix in a body attack that hadn’t been seen prior and Alvarez found himself often minding his defense instead of figuring a return. This sort of disposition from Canelo lasted through the eighth round and, although his offense would eventually turn back up, Golovkin never really had a comparable lapse.
In the case for Alvarez, 49-1-2 (34), the Mexican star proved early on that his hand speed was superior and in the second and third rounds especially, he beat Golovkin to the punch. This fast start got Alvarez confident enough to put himself against the ropes in the fourth round and counter Golovkin to the crowd’s approval. Canelo had the clearest of advantages when it came to counterpunching and, for small moments, even took the lead when Golovkin hid behind his guard. After Canelo’s middle round lapse, he came on stronger in the 10th and, going into the championship rounds, in which both fighters had success, partook in some thrilling exchanges that had the room buzzing.
That buzz continued after the final bell sounded. The fight they had all clamored for finally played out and it delivered an extremely intense boxing match that signified that the sport can be great when the right fights are made. Then, the buzz was deflated, once reminded that some things never change in boxing.
Joseph Diaz Jr. earned a mandatory position for the WBC featherweight title with a wide unanimous decision win over Rafael Rivera.
“I feel like I had a good performance overall,” said Diaz. “I was able to put pressure and dictate the pace of the fight and be able to enter into a lot of exchanges. Rivera is strong, has good body shots and had good speed. I think we gave them a good show tonight.”
Diaz, 25-0 (13), a southpaw from South El Monte, California, showcased his boxing skills from the jump with a versatile lead left hand. It came over the top of Rivera’s jab often and constantly had him in a fidgety stance that seemed unsure more than anything. Rivera, 25-1-2 (16), who was a late replacement, in the middle of this past week, just couldn’t keep up with Diaz’s speed and, by the fight’s midway point, he looked tired and simply out of it. It made for a monotonous second half of the fight but Diaz looked levels above Rivera, and proved the 24-year-old deserves to be in contention, which, in fact, he is, as this WBC featherweight title eliminator makes him a mandatory challenger for its titleholder Gary Russell Jr.
Diego De La Hoya dominated Randy Caballero for 10 rounds to earn a wide unanimous decision victory in the settling of a heated rivalry between junior featherweights.
“The winners tonight are the fans,” proclaimed Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar De La Hoya afterward. “When we did this fight, we knew it was going to be a great opportunity to put on a good show. Diego is a good kid and a great fighter and I wish him the best.”
It was a great show for those rooting for the 23-year-old from Mexicali, who shares a sacred name in boxing with his distant cousin but Caballero’s listless effort made it a one-sided affair. Perhaps it was the sharp combination punching from De La Hoya, 20-0 (9), that made Caballero, 24-1 (14), look so flustered but, from the outset, the Coachella Valley native seemed to not have his legs under him all night. An early fall to the canvas after he landed a punch indicated thus and the lack of power throughout the fight proved it. De La Hoya forced a mouse to grow under the left eye of Caballero in the fourth and it made for an easy target.
In the opening bout of the HBO Pay-Per-View card, “Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin escaped an extremely close fight with a split decision victory over Francisco Rojo. The contest was fought for a couple of regional lightweight trinkets put up by the WBA and WBC.
“I didn’t feel 100% tonight, even though I got the split decision,” said Martin, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, now transplanted in Cleveland, Ohio. “I know I fought a good fight, despite the adversity in the ring. I know the judge (Richard Ocasio) that scored in favor of Rojo recognized good boxing in him. I’m glad I have this new belt and it’s on to the next (fight).”
Martin, 20-0 (11), started the fight a shell of himself, thanks to the fearlessness of his Mexican opponent. Rojo, 26, disregarded the obvious height and reach advantage in front of him and easily found himself on the inside by simply not caring about his foe’s jab. Martin, 24, pumped that shot often to start but it was highly ineffective and it gave Rojo the opportunity to throw right hands to the body and face often. Soon enough, Rojo, 20-3 (13), was controlling the middle of the ring and bruising Martin with overhand rights, with his back to the ropes. Eventually, Martin began to fight much more effectively in the middle rounds. HIs straight right hand often managed to pierce through Rojo’s guard and his attack got more complex, once he started targeting the body. In the eighth, however, Martin was warned twice for low blows and then docked a point in the ninth by referee Russell Mora for the foul. Martin pressed the gas in the final round, knowing the last one didn’t do him any favors but, by fight’s end, their body language looked opposite of the fight’s final result.
Two scores of 96-93 and 95-94 got Martin the victory while one wide card of 98-91 signified Rojo’s tremendous effort.
Ukrainian welterweight prospect Serhii “El Flaco” Bohachuk forced a second round stoppage of Joan Valenzuela. Scheduled for four rounds, Bohachuk, 5-0 (5), had a distinct size advantage over his opponent but still focused on his body attack to break him down. An accumulation of shots forced Valenzuela, 5-9-1 (5), to the canvas early in the second round and, after the peppering became easier for Bohachuk, referee Jay Nady had seen enough, even though Valenzuela was on his feet.
“He was a good opponent. I’m happy I won. It was a tough fight but I kept working at it and came out on top,” said Bohachuk, who trains under the guidance of Abel Sanchez.
Vergil Ortiz wiped out Cesar Valenzuela within two rounds to remain undefeated and keep his perfect knockout streak alive. A product of Dallas, Texas, Ortiz, 7-0 (7), did his foe in with some hellacious body shots starting in the first and forced him to a knee for the first knockdown in the second. Valenzuela, 7-2 (2), spat out his mouthpiece during the first count he endured and did the same thing moments later when he yielded to a knee again. As referee Robert Byrd shouted his count a second time, Valenzuela shook his head no and let him reach 10 for the knockout.
“I just do what my coaches tell me to do,” said Ortiz afterward. “They knew how this fight was going to end and kept reminding me to go towards the body. I’m super-happy to get the win and this is just another fight on the way.”
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, female flyweight prospect and American Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza, earned a shutout unanimous decision victory over Aracely Palacios. Esparza, 3-0, a native of Houston, Texas, easily out-boxed her Mexican opponent with a solid jab and landed power right hands when the opportunity presented itself. Palacios, 8-8 (1), threw the right hand often but Esparza minded her defense well enough to cruise to a win.
“Even though my opponent, on paper, looked like she had more ring experience, I’ve been in the ring way more than she had,” said Esparza. “Because I had three-minute rounds, I was able to think a lot more in the ring and was even told by my trainer I had to slow down. I couldn’t research much about my opponent but we knew she was going to be throwing her right often. I’m satisfied with my performance because this was my first six-round fight.”