LAS VEGAS -- Canelo Alvarez put an end to Gennady Golovkin's historic middleweight title reign on Saturday, in a majority decision victory at T-Mobile Arena.
Golovkin's WBC and WBA belts were on the line, in a highly anticipated rematch of last year's controversial draw. The second fight lived up to the hype, with Alvarez ultimately handing Golovkin his first professional loss by the narrowest of margins: 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114.
Here is what we learned from Saturday's compelling (and extremely entertaining) rematch.
Trilogy, or we riot
If there's one thing we learned above anything else, it's that 24 rounds of championship boxing isn't enough between these two.
There are details to hammer out and negotiations to take place, but a trilogy is obvious. The table is perfectly set. The first contest, a draw in September 2017, was marred by questionable scores. The rematch was not as controversial, but it was certainly debatable. From a competitive sense, there's unfinished business here.
A trilogy would bring out the best in Alvarez and Golovkin, as trilogies should always do. The rematch showcased that. Alvarez employed a surprisingly aggressive style compared to last September. Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) somehow mounted a late rally, despite Alvarez's effective work to the body and advantage in youth.
There was a sense of urgency in Golovkin's corner before the ninth round that we'd never seen before. In Alvarez, there was a willingness and intent to stalk the bigger man, which was not present in the first fight.
A third fight is not only the most lucrative option for both, it's necessary to bring closure to this chapter of their careers. They each fought a final round Saturday as if they'll never meet again, leaving everything in the ring. And that's all the more reason to book this matchup again.
Canelo's image thanks him for his performance
It's a difficult thing to quantify, but there is no question Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) came into this rematch under a lot of pressure.
The pre-fight video package, for instance, featured Alvarez shadowboxing in a ring, alone, as disparaging comments from his critics scrolled across the screen. He had a lot to answer for Saturday, as the recipient of last year's questionable scorecards and the provider of a positive drug test in March.
That video package concluded with Alvarez facing the camera, holding a finger to his lips. He then made his point in the ring. While it's probably unlikely he'll avoid any future talk of controversial scoring, tainted beef or conservative game planning, Saturday went a long way in moving him past these recent controversies.
Even Golovkin's trainer Abel Sanchez, who spent the last 12 months berating Alvarez in the media, believed as much.
"I said it in many interviews," Sanchez said. "He had a chance to erase the issues he had in May [when the rematch was initially scheduled], and he erased the issues he had in May. He's a great champion. That's the kind of fight I expected. And it's the kind of fight the fans expected."
Make the fight now, because GGG isn't getting any younger
Sometimes boxers get old overnight. Everyone knows that. And while Golovkin didn't look old Saturday, he is no spring chicken, either.
Golovkin will turn 37 in April. Alvarez just turned 28 this summer. According to ESPN Stats & Information, in the past 14 title fights that have pitted a fighter over the age of 30 against one under the age of 30, the younger athlete is 11-2-1.
Alvarez deserves full credit for not only coming up with the strategy he had but executing it in the way he did. At the same time, it's difficult to not consider Golovkin's age after seeing him significantly backed up in a fight for the first time in his career. He also struggled, at times, to hide the effect of Alvarez's body work.
On Saturday, Alvarez expressed interest in taking a fight in December, but the priority for both he and Golovkin should be this trilogy. You can't say age cost Golovkin in the rematch, but it's only going to become a bigger factor in this rivalry, the more time goes by.