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Canelo-GGG: Don’t let one atrocious scorecard ruin an excellent fight

Photo / @HBOBoxing
17
Sep

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – It wasn’t Hagler-Hearns but it damn sure was entertaining.

The expectations were inexplicably high for the long-awaited showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin to the point that it was unlikely that the two would ever reach that point. However, it was certainly an action-packed battle of middleweights that kept fight fans on the edge of their seats.

Everything was moving along quite well as the fight featured multiple ebbs and flows from both fighters. Canelo showcased exceptional speed and upper-body movement while GGG hunted his red-headed prey during every single minute of their 12-round affair. The exchanges were ferocious, the crowd was rabid

Photo / @HBOBoxing

and social media was on fire as GGG and Canelo delivered a show worthy of an immediate rematch.

The only problem was one particular official scorecard that completely soured those watching on what was an excellent fight.

Adelaide Byrd’s atrocious 118-110 scorecard in favor of Canelo had the 22,358 fans in attendance — along with those watching at home and the members of the media — gasp in horror. This wasn’t the first time that Canelo was the beneficiary of an abysmal scorecard. The Mexican lost what appeared to be a one-sided fight against Floyd Mayweather in 2013 but was gifted a 114-114 score to salvage a majority decision loss. After a nip-and-tuck fight against Erislandy Lara in 2014, Canelo was up on one scorecard with an eyebrow-raising 117-111. The 2013 showdown with Austin Trout that eventually set up the Mayweather fight was won by Canelo. However, a scorecard of 118-109 was bizarre considering that he was up 115-112 and 116-111 on the other two scorecards.

Byrd gave GGG only the 4th and 7th rounds. She completely overlooked the fact that Golovkin was the aggressor for the entirety of their 12-round affair and out-landed Canelo in every round but two with an overall Compubox line of 218-169 in his favor. There’s simply no way that Byrd should have seen the fight by such a wide margin … for either fighter.

Photo / @HBOBoxing

The challenging part is trying to convince the world to not let one abomination of a scorecard ruin what was 36 minutes of violent chess. Alvarez countered and circled the ring while Golovkin snapped his jab and fired punches with ill intentions. This wasn’t a fight with a clear winner as you could make a convincing case for either fighter. The idea that this fight ended in a split draw is far from outlandish. And if Byrd scores the fight for Canelo with a more reasonable tally of 115-113 or 116-114, we’re not having this conversation.

Whatever margin that Byrd decided to score the fight in favor of Canelo wasn’t going to change the fact that it was going to end up as a draw. It’s just that the score was so egregiously wrong that we couldn’t help but focus on it.

That conversation about Byrd’s inability to properly score a fight will carry on today and perhaps the next few days. But, ultimately, we’ll forget about it. Hopefully, the NSAC won’t forget about it and take proper measures to ensure that better judges are ringside for some of the sport’s biggest fights.

Photo / HoganPhotos

What we should remember is an excellent fight that is begging for a rematch. We should be talking about Canelo’s gutsy performance and how he proved he could throw down with the boogieman of boxing. We should also be talking about Golovkin, an indestructible force that refused to back down and was economical and accurate.

There’s absolutely no reason why these two shouldn’t face each other on Cinco De Mayo in 2018. Although Canelo was relatively non-committal on the idea, Golovkin wasted no time agreeing to that idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to see these two attempt to bludgeon each other for another 36 minutes?

But, here we are, discussing a scorecard that really didn’t have a bearing on the result. We should be upset because Byrd will likely be back to ruining somebody else’s future with a stroke of the pen. But to criticize the fight and boxing’s excellent 2017 is a step too far. It’s an evil that we wish wasn’t necessary but it continues to run wild in the sport of pugilism. Fortunately, it didn’t end up in skewing the entire decision. But it’s certainly something that fight fans have every right to trash.

The good news is that these two are likely to face each other again and we’ll get another 36 minutes of violence.

Boxing needed a fight like this. Before Michael Buffer read the scores, everyone gushed about the fight on social media. The arena was buzzing and whispers of a rematch began floating into the T-Mobile Arena air. Maybe their next fight will be Hagler-Hearns considering that they’ll be a little more familiar with each other. Who knows? But what we do know is that this chapter has yet to be closed and it is almost certain to be just as good, if not better, the second time. Both fighters (and fans) wanted closure on September 16th and didn’t get it. But the business of boxing will boom in 2018 when these two meet again.

And as long as Adelaide Byrd isn’t ringside, outside or within 1000 feet, we should be fine.