Golovkin kept up a steady attack on Alvarez for failing two tests for performance-enhancing drugs in February and a defiant Alvarez vowed to humiliate Golovkin.
Their first meeting nearly exactly a year ago was similarly close, although on that occasion the fight ended in a draw. This time around, a victor was declared as the judges who saw the tilt tipping over to Mexican's side, 115-113, outnumbered the lone judge who scored the fight 114-114.
Alvarez was guaranteed US$5 million to US$4 million for Golovkin, though both fighters were expected to make many millions more from the biggest pay-per-view in boxing so far this year.
Canelo fought a great fight, congratulations. However, he left the ring without speaking, heading back to receive medical treatment on his eye, which required stitches.
It was his first defeat since the 2005 world amateur championships. I feel satisfied because I gave a great fight. At first I aimed for the knockout, I didn't.
"I will come back guys", he said. "This is a very important victory to me and my country, and my country will be proud". I want to thank everyone who believes in me. "This is for them and long live Mexico". "GGG" left the ring and did not give the customary post-fight interview to HBO Boxing analyst Max Kellerman.
Golovkin told reporters afterwards: "I'm not going to say who won tonight, because the victory belongs to Canelo according to the judges". I thought it was a very good fight for the fans, and very exciting.
Conlan tweeted: 'I don't think it was robbery, had Canelo winning and I really wanted Triple-G to win. "At the end of the day it was the wrong decision".
This carried on much the same in rounds eleven and twelve, with Canelo showing a granite chin to stand up to a hailstorm of Golovkin power shots.
Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin fought 24 rounds in the space of a year, with little to pick between them. Intent on making the judges' jobs even harder this time around, each fighter consistently had an answer for the other, taking a hit and promptly giving one in return.
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