Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Canelo-GGG feedback, Byrd fallout)
I’M NOT CRAZY, AM I?
Hope you had a blast at the fight. I just finished watching. I had it 7-5 for Gennady Golovkin, is that unreasonable?
My real question though is why does Canelo Alvarez always seem to have one ridiculously wide score out of step with what most other people seemed to see? It happened with his fight against Miguel Cotto, it happened with Floyd Mayweather, and now it happened again. I’m not crazy to think 118-110 is absurd am I?
Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Best. – Graham, Bangkok
You’re not crazy, Graham. Adalaide Byrd’s scorecard was indeed absurd. I don’t think Canelo’s mother believed her son won by that wide of a margin.
Why is there at least one ridiculously wide scorecard that favors Canelo in most of his competitive distance bouts? Well, I don’t know how it is in Thailand, but in the good ole U.S. of A. (and in most parts of the world) there’s a nauseating time-honored tradition of official judges giving the “star” the benefit of the doubt in rounds that are close (or even merely competitive). Being the “star” means that boxer is either the more popular fighter (in terms of ticket/PPV sales or TV ratings), the one who brings in more money, the “house” fighter (the one who is connected to the lead promoter or the more powerful promotional company), the fighter with more upside (meaning the more promising/lucrative future career), or a combination of these things.
No other jurisdiction in the U.S. “honors” fame and money as much as Las Vegas, a gambling city that is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Let’s go back 30
years to the fight that brought me back to boxing – the classic middleweight championship showdown between Marin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard. Hagler was the defending undisputed champ who had reigned for more than seven years, but Leonard – the 1976 Olympic gold medalist and media darling – was clearly the star in this mega-matchup. It was a close, competitive and compelling fight that could have gone either way a by a few points (depending on what you like in a boxing match) – and two of the official scorecards of 115-113 (one for Hagler, one for Leonard) reflected this – but one of the official judges, Jose Juan “Jo Jo” Guerra turned out to be a bigger Sugar Ray fan than 17-year-old Dougie. He scored it 118-110 for Leonard, which forever marked that fight as “controversial.” Funny (and sad) how boxing history repeats itself.
Fast forward 10 years and the new star of the sport, 1992 Olympic gold medalist and media darling Oscar De La Hoya lifted the WBC welterweight title from modern boxing great Pernell Whitaker in a fight that could have gone either way (and I believe the slight majority of ringside press scored it for “Sweet Pea”), however, two of the official judges (veteran Nevada officials Jerry Roth and Dalby Shirley) scored it 116-110 for The Golden Boy.
When De La Hoya made his foray into the 160-pound division in 2004, an unfocused and out-of-shape looking Oscar won the WBO title from Felix Sturm by unanimous scores of 115-113 (courtesy of Mike Glienna, Paul Smith and Dave Moretti) in a lackluster fight that most sober eyes scored for the unbeaten middleweight from Germany.
These favorable scorecards caused a lot of hardcore fans to dislike De La Hoya, but he also gained a good measure of sympathy by losing controversial decisions to Felix Trinidad and Shane Mosley (the rematch). All the of the fights I mentioned took place in Vegas, as did the bouts I’m about to bring up.
I thought Floyd Mayweather beat Jose Luis Castillo by one point in their first fight – most observers viewed it as a draw or a narrow points victory for Castillo, the defending WBC lightweight champ (HBO’s Harold Lederman scored it 115-111 for the hardnosed Mexican) – but judge Anek Hongtongkam bent over backwards for the “Pretty Boy” and awarded him a 116-111 tally. (The other two judges scored it 115-111 for Mayweather.) I thought Mayweather beat Zab Judah eight rounds to four, but by 119-109 (as official judge Glen Hamada scored it)? HELL NO. You can’t justify an 11-rounds-to-1 margin, but it was like Hamada was cheering for the house fighter that had more star potential.
I thought Burt A. Clements’ 117-111 tally for Mayweather in the first Marcos Maidana fight was poor, as was Robert Hoyle’s 118-110 score for Floyd in the Cotto fight. Both veteran Nevada judges were disrespectful to the defending titleholders, in my humble opinion.
And now we have Alvarez, who also received a ridiculously wide score – 117-111 from Levi Martinez – in the Erisladny Lara fight, which could have gone either way by a point or two, or been a legit draw.
Having covered the sport for almost 20 years, I’ve come to recognize certain Nevada veteran judges – such as Clements and Moretti, who gave us the 118-110 and 19-109 scores for Canelo in the Cotto fight – and, sadly, I’ve come to expect biased scorecards from them on occasion. Veteran boxing writers were just as leery of Shirley and Smith during my early years on the beat, and the veterans often lived down to their low expectations before retiring.
Byrd already had a shaky reputation, but going forward, she’s definitely going to be one of those longtime Nevada officials that the fans and the boxing media watch closely and scrutinize.
Doug: what a fight! Watching these two men battle it out for 12 rounds was amazing, and I for one refuse to let Adalaide Byrd’s totally and completely corrupt, bulls__t card ruin a wonderful fight. I think most are more upset about that than the draw, even though the draw itself I disagree with. Some thoughts:
- This fight went about how I thought it would, with Canelo having some success when he traded with Golovkin, but that being his downfall. He can win a battle, but lose the war, and I thought GGG won 116-112 after Canelo wanted nothing to do with standing and trading because of the heavy leather coming back. GGG wore him down, and Canelo would buckle or retreat when hit and GGG would shrug and smile. The look on Canelo’s face from rounds 5-9 seemed to scream, “How do I keep this crazy bastard off of me!” I think he was competitive, but he took a beating nonetheless.
- I’m not going to let Byrd’s s__ty card take away from what Canelo showed in the ring. He held his own, competed and lost a close fight. No shame in that, or his performance. If anything, this fight validates that Canelo and GGG are card carrying badasses who are going to put on some amazing fights when paired together. Here’s hoping for a rematch with an honest outcome!
- GGG’s title defense streak stays alive with a draw, correct? I’m not sure on that one. Also, do you think either fighter will take interim bouts before a rematch, likely on May 5th? I wouldn’t mind seeing GGG collect that last belt, or even Canelo, so we can have a fully unified middleweight division.
I’m glad this fight finally happened, and I think each man proved they are who we thought they were. I don’t want to hear any s__t about either fighter being anything other than elite ever again. I’m already pumped for the rematch! Thank you GGG! Thank you Canelo! And bad judging can eat a double decker s__t sandwich! – Tom, PA
I’m glad you are taking a positive view of what really was a compelling and quality 12-round championship bout, Tom. You are definitely in the minority.
I agree with you, both middleweights are elite fighters, and I can’t wait to see them do it again. (And I concur that poor-ass judges can eat a steamy turd sammich.)
This fight went about how I thought it would, with Canelo having some success when he traded with Golovkin, but that being his downfall. The fight went the way I envisioned it, as well, with Canelo looking sharp and formidable in spots but GGG being the more consistent aggressor/scorer over the distance (only the judges got it right and scored a close UD for Golovkin in my mind’s eye). However, I don’t think trading in the center ring with Golovkin was Canelo’s downfall. I think it scored points with the official judges (obviously) and might have earned him enough respect from Golovkin to keep the 35-year-old pressure fighter from attacking him hard whenever he was up against the ropes.
He can win a battle, but lose the war, and I thought GGG won 116-112 after Canelo wanted nothing to do with standing and trading because of the heavy leather coming back. That’s fair scorecard. I scored it 115-113 for Golovkin, while my broadcast partner, former featherweight champ Kevin Kelley, had it wider, 117-111 for GGG. The truth, as they say, is probably in the middle. I disagree that Canelo “wanted nothing to do with standing and trading.” He abandoned it in the middle rounds when he became arm weary, but he brought it back in the final rounds.
GGG wore him down, and Canelo would buckle or retreat when hit and GGG would shrug and smile. Just because Golovkin shrugged and smiled when he got cracked didn’t mean those hard shots from Canelo weren’t scoring points.
The look on Canelo’s face from rounds 5-9 seemed to scream, “How do I keep this crazy bastard off of me!” I think he was competitive, but he took a beating nonetheless. If Canelo really took a “beating” from GGG he would have been stopped, or he at least would have been worn out to the point that he would have been dropped or forced to take a knee at some point. It was a grueling fight – more so for Canelo than it was for Golovkin – but Alvarez was far from overwhelmed.
I’m not going to let Byrd’s s__ty card take away from what Canelo showed in the ring. You shouldn’t. Most fans (and some media) will. But you shouldn’t if you really respect prize fighters.
He held his own, competed and lost a close fight. That’s exactly how I see it. And there’s no shame in losing a competitive fight to a fantastic and formidable fighter like Golovkin.
GGG’s title defense streak stays alive with a draw, correct? That is correct. A champion retains his title(s) with a draw verdict, and that counts as a defense.
Also, do you think either fighter will take interim bouts before a rematch, likely on May 5th? I doubt it. Canelo has been a twice-a-year fighter since 2012, and he’s made it clear that his two fight dates are Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence Day weekends. Golovkin would like to fight more than twice a year, but at age 35, and after a physically demanding fight on Sept. 16, does he really want to risk more wear and tear on his body with a December fight (especially with the prospect of a mega-rematch next May)?
I wouldn’t mind seeing GGG collect that last belt, or even Canelo, so we can have a fully unified middleweight division. Frank Warren and Billy Joe Saunders wouldn’t mind, either.
BODY SHOTS KILL CONTROVERSY
There would be no need for a rematch had GGG went TO THAT BODY!! Where the hell did it go?
A KO late in the fight would have come. Everything else would have been smooth sailing had his body attack been there…plenty of opportunities in the fight. Not Abel Sanchez’s fault, he repeatedly asked for it.
Instead, it became a close, ‘good fight’ that went to the corrupt cards. Canelo did his job overall, not GGG. I think it’s your job now, Doug (as part of the media), to push for the rematch to be in MSG. No Adelaide Byrd near there, period!
Again, the story of the fight for me was GGG’s missing body attack. Had it been there, it would have been a late KO (Canelo clearly gassed out by the 8th). Ok, enough rantin from me. Thanks for reading. – Allan
Thanks for sharing, Allen.
Good questions about Golovkin’s once-vaunted body attack, which was missing against Daniel Jacobs and was missing against Canelo (who I thought did a fine job of tapping GGG’s body from time to time during their fight).
I think the answer might be in the class of opponent he’s faced in 2017. Jacobs and Canelo are elite-level boxers. They’re not going to stand in front of Golovkin long enough to allow the Kazakhstani killer to brutalize their livers and rib cages. They neutralized that part of his offense with lateral movement and well-timed counter punches.
If you recall, Golovkin generally landed his best body shots when he had his opponents pinned to the ropes. Jacobs did a good job staying off the ropes and Canelo did a fine job of defending and countering while leaning on the ropes.
I will indeed beat the drums for Canelo-GGG II to take place in NYC (maybe at Yankee Stadium if not MSG) or at AT&T Stadium in the Dallas, Texas area.
GREAT FIGHT, S__T SCORE
Hope you and the Fischer Clan are doing well. I’ve just had about 4 hours of sleep, because the fight was on at 6am here but I obviously had to stay up and get the full experience. Sleep deprived or not, my thoughts on the fight have been itching to spill forth in this email.
First of all, good job calling the action last night, really appreciated your commentary and it added a lot to the fights, not a huge fan of your table mates but still good job calling it.
Second, my scorecard was identical to yours, I had Canelo up 4-0 going into round 5, and I had it even going into round 9. Before the fight I was pretty confident GGG would end it around round 10, but Canelo moved, slipped and got his respect, at least in the early rounds.
At this point a decision seemed imminent and I was having Kovalev-Ward 1 flashbacks, I didn’t want the foreign fighter (or technically “more foreign fighter”) to get screwed over by some s__ty judging. Thankfully that didn’t end up happening but I have to say, Adalaide Byrd is definitely part of what is wrong with boxing, blindly scoring for the house fighter, lopsided cards that don’t reflect the fights, and just frustrating fans to the point where they become so cynical they jump ship.
Rant over, now back to the fight. I was screaming at my laptop for GGG to throw his overhand right more when Canelo was on the ropes, when he threw it, it landed and Canelo noticed, and when Canelo moved to the left he would walk into it, I just needed it a bit more from GGG, I still think he won but in the first few rounds he wasn’t throwing enough, and then the right wasn’t as often as I would have liked. Canelo got tired down the stretch, but very impressed with his composure to actually come back and win some late rounds (he won round 11 on my card).
I think in the rematch we see GGG start where he was in round 5, Canelo will wear the weight better, and maybe trade more and backpedal less, so he won’t tire as easily and we would have a real war on our hands. A draw was fine for now, but we need a winner.
Canelo vs Hagler
GGG vs SRL
Cheers. – Abed
Thanks for staying up late to share your thoughts, Abed. I’ll take Hagler by late stoppage (especially at the 15-round distance) and Leonard by close but unanimous decision (especially if the fight takes place in Vegas) in your mythical matchups. I agree with your take on the rematch. Now that both middleweights are more familiar with each other’s strengths and styles, they will likely fight with more confidence, which will lead to more action.
First of all, good job calling the action last night, really appreciated your commentary and it added a lot to the fights, not a huge fan of your table mates but still good job calling it. Thanks for the kind words but how the hell can you not be a fan of Beto Duran and “The Flushing Flash” Kevin Kelley? There would’ve been very little in the way energy and enthusiasm in the online PPV broadcast without that dynamic duo. Seriously, I can’t do what I do without a class host/blow-by-blow commentator like Duran; and with the very long and busy fight week of live streams I participated in I doubt my voice would have held out Saturday night without the presence of Kelley, who dropped excellent fighter-perspective insight throughout the show.
Second, my scorecard was identical to yours, I had Canelo up 4-0 going into round 5, and I had it even going into round 9. Roger Mayweather says most people don’t know s__t about boxing, but YOU know your s__t, Abed. Respect!
Before the fight I was pretty confident GGG would end it around round 10, but Canelo moved, slipped and got his respect, at least in the early rounds. Man, you were not alone in that presumption. Round 10 seemed to be the perceived upper limit of Canelo’s punch resistance and stamina in the view of most hardcore fans and insiders (including the venerable Coach Schwartz). They figured Canelo didn’t hit hard enough to earn Golovkin’s respect (and/or that his defense and lateral movement was enough to avoid contact when he needed to). I figured that he was young, strong, experienced/ring savvy enough to hear that final bell. Canelo may not be an elite puncher, but his hands are fast and heavy enough keep from being steamrolled by anyone.
At this point a decision seemed imminent and I was having Kovalev-Ward 1 flashbacks, I didn’t want the foreign fighter (or technically “more foreign fighter”) to get screwed over by some s__ty judging. Well, Golovkin got screwed, but at least it wasn’t a unanimous f__king from the official judges.
Adalaide Byrd is definitely part of what is wrong with boxing, blindly scoring for the house fighter, lopsided cards that don’t reflect the fights, and just frustrating fans to the point where they become so cynical they jump ship. No doubt about it. And if the NSAC can’t do something about poor/biased judging (there was another head-scratching scorecard on the Canelo-GGG undercard when one judge had Francisco Rojo winning what was a close nip-and-tuck battle with Ryan Martin by nutty 98-91 margin), I think promoters should look to stage their major shows in other states.
QUICK CANELO-GGG RUNDOWN
Hey Doug, here are my quick thoughts in the aftermath of the big fight:
- It was a great fight, and Canelo proved to all his doubters that he’s a true warrior who doesn’t crumble under adversity.
- Although the decision was terrible, Canelo shouldn’t be blamed for it the way Bradley was blamed for “winning” the first fight against Pacquiao. Even if he thinks he won the fight; it’s damned hard to be objective when you’re in the thick of it.
- Even though Canelo possesses the speed, the flashier counters, defensive slips, ect. GGG proved that he is overall the better BOXER. He beat Canelo with basic fundamentals. He cut the ring off beautifully. He dictated with the jab. He made subtle blocks and rolls to evade fire. He countered Canelo’s jab with the overhand right beautifully, and every time Canelo covered up he punished him with the uppercut.
- I feel bad for GGG. He’s been angling for a super fight for so long and he finally landed it, won it, then got stiffed by two of the three judges. Sure, this means we get to see a great fight again but I can’t help but feel for the guy.
- Adalaide Byrd needs to be suspended. I had the fight 8-4 GGG but could also see it 7-5. 10-2 for Alvarez is indefensible. If there is any justice she’ll get more then just a slap on the wrist from the NAC.
Thanks. – Jack E.
Hey Jack! Thanks for the quick thoughts. Here are mine:
It was a great fight, and Canelo proved to all his doubters that he’s a true warrior who doesn’t crumble under adversity. I agree 100%, but sadly, he won’t receive his due respect because of Byrd’s sickeningly biased scorecard. Even fans (and some media) that predicted that Canelo would be dominated to a middle-rounds stoppage will feel justified in disparaging him and his career because of the track record of unfair scoring in his favor (by at least one of the official judges) over the years.
Although the decision was terrible, Canelo shouldn’t be blamed for it the way Tim Bradley was blamed for “winning” the first fight against Manny Pacquiao. Even if he thinks he won the fight; it’s damned hard to be objective when you’re in the thick of it. Again, I agree, but most sports fans are not that rational/reasonable. Many didn’t like Canelo to begin with and now they flat-out hate him, regardless of how well he fought the odds/media favorite. But I’ll say this: anyone who defended Bradley against his fan antagonists following the awful decision he was awarded vs. Pacquiao that is now pissing all over Canelo is a hypocrite.
Even though Canelo possesses the speed, the flashier counters, defensive slips, etc. GGG proved that he is overall the better BOXER. He beat Canelo with basic fundamentals. Once again, I agree. I thought Golovkin was the more consistent fighter (in terms of offense and ring generalship) throughout and I think he was in control of the majority of the 12 rounds.
He cut the ring off beautifully. I didn’t think he was at his best in this department. He was effective in closing the distance, but not as destructive as we’re used to seeing him.
He dictated with the jab. No doubt. Canelo flashed a sharp jab early on, but he couldn’t keep it up.
He made subtle blocks and rolls to evade fire. Agreed. But he also got clipped with a disturbing number of flush uppercuts. I thought he was painfully vulnerable to that particular power shot.
He countered Canelo’s jab with the overhand right beautifully, and every time Canelo covered up he punished him with the uppercut. He did on occasion, particularly during the middle rounds, but he also missed with the right hand often during the first half of the fight.
I feel bad for GGG. He’s been angling for a super fight for so long and he finally landed it, won it, then got stiffed by two of the three judges. Sure, this means we get to see a great fight again but I can’t help but feel for the guy. Don’t cry Golovkin a river. This fight and event did wonders for his career. His profile, brand and bank account have never been higher thanks to the Canelo showdown. GGG merchandise sales in the U.S. picked up like crazy during this promotion and absolutely exploded the week and weekend of the fight. I’ve never seen so many people sporting GGG gear as I did in Vegas. And a lot of fans that wore “Canelo” hats and headbands going into the fight were wearing “GGG” merch after the event. Golovkin made A LOT of new fans. His stature in the sport is unchanged, he keeps his belts, and he’s in position for an even bigger event with the inevitable rematch.
Adalaide Byrd needs to be suspended. No s__t. Won’t happen, unfortunately.
I had the fight 8-4 GGG but could also see it 7-5. Those are fair scorecards.
10-2 for Alvarez is indefensible. If there is any justice she’ll get more then just a slap on the wrist from the NAC. There is very little justice in boxing and even less in Vegas.
JUDGES SCREW IT UP AGAIN
It was (for me) a mixed bag this weekend as a boxing fan. It all started with a bang on Friday night on ESPN. Claudio Marrero and Jesus Rojas for an interim featherweight title produced one of the best scraps I have seen in awhile. Marrero’s slick style and hand speed were a pleasure to watch as Rojas, coming forward throwing big punches looked to solve the problem Marrero presented. In the seventh he did just that with a smashing knockout that came from nowhere. It looked like Marerro was going to get up made no effort and it was over that quickly. A good start to my boxing weekend.
Saturday night I was pumped for Triple G/ Canelo. I knew this wasn’t going to be Hagler/Hearns II (we may never see anything like that again) and it looked for the first couple of rounds that Triple G was flat and Canelo was going to outbox him….then G seemed to find some rhythm and began to take it to Canelo, who proved he has a good chin (although his eyes got glassy and faraway looking a couple of times) and he was able to move his head in a way that Golovkin never really landed his best sunday punch. There was some good action back and forth but I don’t think Canelo ever hurt Golovkin and in the end I thought Golovkin had won the decision. He definitely put more hurt on Canelo. It was a good fight. I was so let down by what the judges rendered. There will be debate over who won but one thing to me is for sure. Someone deserved to get the decision. No way was that fight a draw.
Right away the pundits were talking rematch but I am not even interested in that kind of talk at this point. The Vegas judges just sucked all of the joy out of the evening for me. Don’t get me wrong I am still a boxing fan to the bone so bring on the next big fight (or weekend card).
One of your writers Mike Coppinger wrote that this was the fight that boxing need and deserved, but the event was sadly diluted by the judges’ decision.
I know I am not alone after reading some comments on your site right after the fight. I am really interested in your take Doug. – David, Nashville
There’s no denying that the scorecards for Canelo-Golovkin (particularly Byrd’s tally) detracted from an excellent fight and a well-promoted/anticipated/attended event, as well as the sport of boxing, which has had a resurgent year.
But given my particular experience and perspective, I think boxing will get beyond this latest black eye and continue to work its way back into the general public’s consciousness. Why? Well, keep in mind that the boxing event brought me back to the sport was also a high-profile controversial middleweight championship – Hagler-Leonard. The fact that the reigning champ was “robbed” didn’t turn me off to the sport. They manner in which their styles meshed in the ring was far to fascinating to me to get sucked in and jaded by the ugly politics and unprofessionalism of the sport. I continued to watch boxing with gradually increasing interest, in part because my guy Leonard continued to fight, but also
because I started following the careers of other boxing standouts (including young heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, 1984 Olympic darling Mark Breland and this junior lightweight Mexican badass named Julio Cesar Chavez) during the long buildup to Hagler-Leonard. And while following their burgeoning careers, I made sure to watch the U.S. Olympic squad that took part in the 1988 Games (which included Roy Jones Jr., Ray Mercer, Riddick Bowe and Michael Carbajal) and I learned about other up-and-comers, such as Meldrick Taylor, Terry Norris, Michael Nunn and James Toney.
So, my point is that the build-up to Canelo-GGG and the fight itself likely made some new boxing fans. The controversy will push some fans away, but others will anticipate the rematch and follow the continuing careers of both Golovkin and Alvarez, and in doing so, they will learn about other top-notch boxers that have yet to hit their peaks, such as Anthony Joshua, Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko and Mikey Garcia. The curious casual fan that missed watching Canelo-GGG live but has been sucked into post-fight maelstrom of controversy might be tempted to check out the replay on HBO this Saturday, and those that do will be treated to the artistry of Jorge Linares. This is how one catches the boxing bug.
Claudio Marrero and Jesus Rojas for an interim featherweight title produced one of the best scraps I have seen in awhile. That was a darn good fight, wasn’t it? It was an entertaining blend of gutsy, high-volume boxing and relentless, power-hitting pressure fighting. I like what I saw from both fighters, but I felt that Marrero was unfocused and too hyped up throughout the bout.
Rojas is on a nice roll, and I think the heavy handed Boricua is a very nice addition to the deep featherweight field.
Saturday night I was pumped for Triple G/ Canelo. I knew this wasn’t going to be Hagler/Hearns II (we may never see anything like that again) and it looked for the first couple of rounds that Triple G was flat and Canelo was going to outbox him….then G seemed to find some rhythm and began to take it to Canelo, who proved he has a good chin (although his eyes got glassy and faraway looking a couple of times) and he was able to move his head in a way that Golovkin never really landed his best Sunday punch. So instead of Hagler-Hearns (which is a near-impossible standard for any middleweight clash), we got a poor man’s Hagler-Leonard.
There was some good action back and forth but I don’t think Canelo ever hurt Golovkin and in the end I thought Golovkin had won the decision. Bullets wouldn’t have stopped GGG on Sept. 16. Canelo hit him with shots that would have deterred all of the other top middleweights, but Golovkin’s chin and will power are unmatched.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer