LAS VEGAS: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez is eyeing a trilogy with Gennady Golovkin after ending the middleweight champion's unbeaten reign here Saturday.
Mexican star Alvarez produced a performance of guts and resilience to inflict the first defeat of Golovkin's career with a majority decision at the T-Mobile Arena.
The win wiped away months of simmering acrimony which stemmed from Alvarez's failed drugs test in February, forcing the cancellation of a rematch scheduled in May.
Alvarez, who fought a controversial draw with Golovkin a year ago, said he would be ready for a third installment, possibly later this year.
"If the people want another round, I'll do it again," said Alvarez, who improves to 50-1-2.
Victory was sweet for Alvarez, who had been accused of "running" during last year's first encounter by Golovkin's camp.
On Saturday's the 28-year-old from Guadalajara, roared on by a large contingent of Mexican fans, took the fight to Golovkin throughout.
He took control with a dominant spell in the middle rounds before holding off Golovkin down the stretch to claim a 114-114, 115-113, 115-113 win.
"We knew the best way to beat him was to make him go backwards," Alvarez said.
"It was my plan from the beginning. At first I aimed for the knockout, I didn't. I'm satisfied with the way we did it today."
While Golovkin's camp felt he had done enough to clinch victory, there was little sense of injustice following the fight.
The 36-year-old, who needed eight stitches in a cut above his right eye, insisted he had not felt under pressure during 12 punishing rounds.
"I felt very comfortable," Golovkin said. "I think we controlled the fight. Even though he was not running this time, it doesn't mean he was controlling the fight.
"We were controlling the fight. I feel fine."
Golovkin's trainer Abel Sanchez meanwhile admitted he hoped to see a third meeting between the two.
"Canelo is a champion today, he deserves it, he fought a great fight," Sanchez said.
"There was only one or two rounds between them. It's obvious that these two guys can make great fights. Hopefully there'll be a third fight."
Golovkin added: "Of course we would like to have a third fight if we can negotiate that."
Sanchez meanwhile brushed off suggestions that Golovkin had once more been on the wrong end of a dubious performance by the three ringside judges.
"We appreciate the support but we can't be hypocritical and stand here complaining about every decision we lose," Sanchez said.
"The judges saw the fight in Canelo's favour tonight. Maybe the next time they'll see it in our favour. We can't take that away from Canelo. He fought a great fight."