At the end of a contest which showcased the expert skill level of two of the sport's finest practitioners, Alvarez scored a 114-114 115-113 115-113 majority decision. On the eve of Mexican Independence Day, "The Pride Of Guadalajara", Mexico, finally triumphed.
The 36-year-old Golovkin (38-1-1) stormed out of the ring following the decision, having tasted defeat for the first time in his professional career.
"It was a great fight, seriously", Golovkin said. "It was a clear victory".
A third fight will nearly certainly happen, and for that fight fans have to be grateful.
Many argued the two-weight world title holder "robbed" Golovkin of another victory. "We'll see how it plays out, but if the second fight was better than the first fight and if the third fight is better than the second fight, then I think fans are really in for a treat".
Well, not exactly. Even if the judges did their job and scored the first fight for Golovkin, both fighters did enough to show that this weekend's rematch was warranted.
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Golovkin added: "Of course we would like to have a third fight if we can negotiate that".
While Golovkin appeared to take issue with the result, there was little sense of controversy about Saturday's outcome.
"I had it close going into the 12th round", Sanchez said. "Great fight with two great champions!"
Both fighters fought cagily from the outset, reluctant to trade heavy blows.
On all three judges cards Alvarez dominated the middle rounds from the fifth through to the eighth, building a handy lead to defend in the closing stages.
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"Under the right conditions, yes", Golovkin said of a rematch. Golovkin is motivated to hurt Alvarez.
Golovkin threw and landed more, according to CompuBox, but Alvarez landed at a significantly higher percentage.
An array of stars from the movie and sports world were amongst a crowd of 21,965 for the most anticipated fight of the year, with LeBron James rubbing shoulders with Hollywood icons such as Denzel Washington and Will Smith.
In the years which followed his humbling 2013 defeat to Floyd Mayweather, many media members were quick to point out how Alvarez had learned from the former PPV king when it comes to the business side.
Not least the failed drugs test that Canelo had earlier this year which caused the rematch to be put back. Called a diva and a heel by many in recent months, Alvarez very much acted the part of a must-see performer as the biggest pay-per-view draw in American boxing.
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