Golovkin fell to 38-1-1, with 34 knockouts.
The Mexican blamed the test failures on eating contaminated meat in his native Mexico. "I am a great fighter and I am a great rival and I showed that tonight". "It was a clear victory". Judge Adalaide Byrd scored the fight 118-110 Alvarez over GGG, who many thought was the victor.
But Golovkin was never able to press home his advantage, and each time Alvarez was able to evade the looming danger to slide away and respond with blows of his own. It was a starkly different game plan than the one Alvarez employed one year earlier.
While Golovkin appeared to take issue with the result, there was little sense of controversy about Saturday's outcome.
"If the people want another fight, we'll do it again", Alvarez said.
"We had a great fight, the one we expected the first time around", Sanchez said.
Like his promoter Oscar De La Hoya before him, Alvarez's matinee idol looks and ability to fill arenas attracted criticism that he's a pretty boy and more sizzle than steak. "Unfortunately we didn't get the knockout", he said.
It was about as close as could be, too.
Golovkin threw and landed more, according to CompuBox, but Alvarez landed at a significantly higher percentage. If Moretti and Weisfeld would've scored the 12th round for Golovkin, all three judges would've had it even when it ended (114-114). To add to the drama, the two fighters also clashed heads. Such was the manner of his win, though, a third and final fight between the pair is all but assured.
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Nearly immediately there was talk of a third fight between two middleweights who now know each other well.
He was approached on a couple of occasions to discuss the fight but was clearly not having it.
All judges were in agreement for the first six rounds, it was 4-2 at that stage and we ringside had it the other way around to Golovkin.
There was plenty of respect between the two fighters in the opening round, while Canelo continued to take it to Golovkin - pushing the defending champion onto the backfoot.
The good news is almost every single stakeholder Saturday night was quick to express hope that a third bout is now in order.
He has an argument that he won, but the so-called boogeyman of the middleweight division fought 24 rounds against a guy moving up in weight to face him and couldn't knock him down once. Though he has 52 pro fights under his belt, he's only 28 and is still showing signs of growth.
Could the fight have gone either way?
But Alvarez - who sustained a cut above his left eye which worsened as the bout developed - began to close distance in order to nullify Golovkin's jab.