Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin do not intend to draw again.
The Mexican superstar and the Kazakh middleweight kingpin faced off Tuesday night before a lively crowd in downtown Los Angeles as they formally announced their rematch for May 5.
Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) both still feel they won their first meeting last September. But one of the most entertaining fights of 2017 ended in a split draw, with one curious pro-Alvarez scorecard overshadowing the excitement of the event.
Golovkin and Alvarez can't control who judges the rematch, but they both intend to fight for a knockout that will make the judging irrelevant.
"It's a new fight, and the same thing won't happen this time," Golovkin said.
Canelo-GGG 2 will take place at Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena. The fighters and executives behind the HBO pay-per-view event believe the rematch could turn out to be the most lucrative boxing match of the year — and it'll happen outside of the shade created by the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor spectacle, which occurred three weeks before the first bout.
"Both of these guys are on a different level because of the first fight," said Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's longtime promoter. "That was one of the rare megafights that actually delivered, and it just seems like there's more interest now (in the rematch). This has become the biggest fight in the sport of boxing in 2018, so I think the spotlight is going to be shone on this fight."
Thanks to their highly entertaining fighting styles and the intrigue created by the judges' decision in the first bout, Canelo and Golovkin should be a dynamite commercial pairing. Their first bout sold out T-Mobile Arena in two weeks and generated more than 1 million pay-per-view buys, reaching PPV territory only touched by Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya in the past 15 years.
"The people know it's going to be another great fight," Alvarez said through a translator. "You saw it in the first one. We both want to win big. That's why we'll both go for the knockout."
Their first bout featured significant momentum swings and brutal action throughout the 12 rounds, with Golovkin dominating the middle rounds before Alvarez came on late and even hurt the champion. Both fighters agree that they found the most compelling challenge of their careers in that ring.
But the majority of observers generally agreed Golovkin won the fight. Even HBO's in-house judge gave eight rounds to Golovkin, and Alvarez heard some boos from the majority pro-Mexican crowd in Vegas.
One ringside judge scored it 115-113 for Golovkin, and another scored it a 114-114 draw. Veteran judge Adalaide Byrd curiously scored it 118-110 for Alvarez, giving only two rounds to Golovkin.
After a few months to evaluate the results of the first bout, Golovkin's camp seems more infuriated by the draw than Alvarez's camp. Loeffler and trainer Abel Sanchez confidently predicted another victory even while expressing trepidation about the potential judges in a fight in Nevada, where Alvarez was eager to hold the rematch.
"We won the first fight eight (rounds to) four, so to do something dramatically different on our part would be foolish," Sanchez said. "Obviously, we'll modify some things and adjust, but we have to do what we do best, and if it's not good enough on that particular night, then it's not good enough."
Alvarez saw himself as a 115-113 winner in the bout, but he also left frustrated by his inability to capitalize on the counterpunching opportunities created by Golovkin's aggression. He doesn't intend to miss those chances again.
"He didn't take a lot of risks either, because he was afraid of getting counterpunched," Alvarez said. "I did hurt him, but I can assure you he never hurt me in the whole fight."
The first fight was Golovkin's debut in Las Vegas, the world's fight capital, and he proved worthy of the stage. Golovkin, who turns 36 years old one month before the rematch, holds versions of all four major middleweight titles from the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO.
In Alvarez, GGG found an elite opponent brave enough to agree to one of the big-money bouts he has craved for several years.
"They complement each other so well," Loeffler said. "They need each other to put on these types of fights."
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.