Canelo vs. Golovkin, Bad Judges, Bogus Decisions, and How it Affects Boxing

Canelo Golovkin Boxing

NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett speaking at the Canelo vs. Golovkin Post fight Press Conference (c) The Associated Press 2017

“there’s not one person sitting in this audience that…whatever their profession, haven’t had a bad night. She was off her mark tonight.”

-Bob Bennett at the Canelo versus Golovkin Post-fight Press Conference.

This year boxing got the fight it wanted, clamored for, and needed. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin would finally meet in a ring on September 16th 2017. The timing was great after the “Money Fight” between Mayweather and Conor McGregor.

Canelo Alvarez

Canelo at a public workout (c) The Associated Press 2017

The fight was everything a fan could ask for. It was an entertaining fight between two top tier fighters that was a toss up. GGG was favored but there were many pulling for Canelo believing that he was reaching his peak and would be able to even deliver a knockout against Golovkin.

Alvarez Golovkin Boxing

Canelo vs. Golovkin (c) The Associated Press 2017

Canelo outworked Golovkin in the early rounds and easily won the first two rounds. Utilizing his counter punching ability to catch Golovkin coming in.

Golovkin.jpg

Golovkin delivering a left hook (c) The Associated Press 2017

 

As Golovkin got used to the bright lights and Canelo’s counter-punching style he began to take over. He used his jab to perfection keeping Canelo on his backfoot while landing power punches up stairs.

Alvarez Golovkin Boxing

Canelo delivering an uppercut (c) The Associated Press 2017

Canelo ultimately came out strong in the championship rounds which left most people wondering who could win the hotly contested fight. Many people scored the fight in the 115-113 and 116-112 range for either fighter. More people had the fight leaning towards GGG as he dictated the pace of the fight.

Alvarez Golovkin Boxing

The final bell rings (c) The Associated Press 2017

The result was a far different one that only few saw coming given what they saw transpire over 12 rounds. A draw, it was scored 115-113 (Golovkin), 114-114 (Draw), 118-110 (Canelo). The arena was immediately booing. The fight party I hosted was outraged too, “how? what were they seeing?” said one viewer.

Canelo Golovkin Boxing

Golovkin at the Post fight conference (c) The Associated Press 2017

And therein lies the million dollar question…What fight were they watching? Fans are fans, many have never stepped into a boxing ring at a competitive level, however the 118-110 score was insulting the intelligence of fans that have been loyal to the sport and know a robbery when they see it.

Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley

Pacquiao vs. Bradley (c) The Associated Press 2012

Back in 2012 Manny Pacquiao lost a bogus decision against Timothy Bradley where many people had him winning the fight.

Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley

Bradley Celebrates his Split Decision victory over Pacquiao (c) The Associated Press 2012

The judges scored the fight, 115-113 (Pacquiao), 115-113 (Bradley), and 115-113 (Bradley). HBO Boxing expert Jim Lampley weighed in “That is a terrible, bogus decision…Tim Bradley has scored an upset split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao. God only knows how,” said Lampley. Bradley suffered tremendous backlash from the boxing community and fans, it felt like he didn’t even win. 

 

Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez, Cynthia C.J. Ross

CJ Ross judging the Canelo vs. Mayweather fight (c) The Associated Press 2013

In 2013, Floyd Mayweather was dumbfounded after his technical wipeout of Canelo was ruled a majority decision as judge CJ Ross had it scored 114-114. Even Chepo Reynoso, Canelo’s Manager, said “no…no… that was not a draw.” Imagine what the fan backlash would have been against Canelo if the judges gave him a draw or victory he did not deserve over Mayweather?

There are many other gross boxing decisions like: Paul Williams versus Erislandy Lara, Mayeather versus Castillo 1, and Maligniaggi vs Diaz. The problem is this is not new. This inept judging rears its head ever so often and can ruin big fights.

In a sport that is always being labeled as “dying” this ineptitude does nothing but hurt the legitimacy of the sport. It is an asinine and downright stupid notion that you have to knock out the champion if you’re an underdog to win. But many times it seems like that’s the only way to avoid a bogus result. Or to take power away from the judges as they say.

What if you’re a technical fighter that doesn’t have knockout power? You can still be screwed. Mayweather completely dismantled Canelo and he was nearly robbed. What if the two fighters are so evenly matched that a Knockout is not likely to happen or both fighter have strong chins? At the highest level fights can be a beautiful chess match where a knockout is not likely to happen due to the high level of skill in the ring.

Alvarez Golovkin Boxing

Canelo vs. GGG (c) The Associated Press 2017

Canelo and Golovkin were so evenly matched that they created a great fight, the finish was the issue, it made it feel as if the fight was tarnished. It is not fair given the fact that both of these fighters put their lives on the line every time they step in the ring.

Judges are actors in the fight game, they are there to help decide who won given their efforts in the ring. But now every time a big fight comes around and it goes the distance fans are thinking…I hope the judges don’t mess this up. It’s become about the judging more than the action and the athletes that put their lives on the line in that ring.

The Curious Case of AB, Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner

Adrien Broner (c) The Associated Press 2016

Call him AB, About Billions, The Can Man…the heir apparent to Floyd Mayweather’s throne…well not anymore. Broner was heralded to accomplish great things as he had prodigious skills and punching power in his rise through the lower weight classes. He also had an “it” factor to him, he was entertaining to watch inside and outside the ring.

He adopted the “heel” persona that worked so well for Floyd Mayweather Jr. He was more than happy to stir controversy by being the bad guy. That mixed with his prodigious skills meant he was being groomed for big things and guess what…he could back it up.

Daniel Ponce De Leon, Adrien Broner

Broner vs. Ponce De Leon (c) The Associated Press 2011

Broner tore through the lower weight classes by defeating Daniel Ponce De Leon, Antonio De Marco, and Gavin Rees. Then he did something only a few fighters have attempted to do, win a belt two weight classes above his current weight class. Broner was the current Lightweight champion and he made the jump to Welterweight. This is where his career truly took off.

He challenged for Paulie Maligniaggi’s WBA World Welterweight title and the two not only made for an exciting fight in the fing but one of the most entertaining build ups boxing has seen in a while. Paulie made for a good dance partner in and out of the ring. The storyline heading into the bout was that Broner was comforting one of Maligniaggi’s ex-girlfriends which drew the ire of Maligniaggi. It was entertaining TV from the beginning to the end of the promotional tour.

The fight was close with Broner winning via split decision by a slim margin on the cards. Broner continued to dig in with some insults, by saying “I beat Paulie, I left with his belt and his girl.” From that moment on Broner gained notoriety as a brazen and unfiltered personality with star power and the skills to match.

His next challenge would truly prove if he was a flash in the pan or the real deal as he took on Marcos “El Chino” Maidana. Broner bought the same bombast to the promotional tour and ring, however “El Chino” was a ruthless opponent with a stone cold demeanor that would test him like no other.

                  Broner arriving to his fight against Maidana (c) Showtime 2013

Would this bout be his career defining moment or would he be exposed. He illustrated his defiance to convention by appearing to hump Maidana in the 1st round which lit a fire under “El Chino”.

Marcos Rene Maidana, Adrien Broner

Maidana lands a right hand on Broner (c) The Associated Press 2013

Maidana would land a vicious right hand in the second round that would knock down Broner for the first time in his career. An onslaught ensued where Maidana continued an unrelenting assault. Broner should flashes of brilliance landing some counter-punches on Maidana, but in the 7th round lightning struck twice when Maidana knocked down Broner again.

Marcos Rene Maidana, Adrien Broner

Broner knocked down (c) The Associated Press 2013

Maidana ultimately won the bout as Adrien “The Problem” Broner was solved. After all the trashtalk and all the bravado Broner was defeated suffering the first loss in his career. He vowed to have a different attitude and said the loss was a good thing for his career. He bounced back with three consecutive victories over Carlos Molina, Emmanuel Taylor, and John Molina Jr.

Adrien Broner, Carlos Molina, Kenny Bayless

Broner vs. Molina (c) The Associated Press 2014

Broner would earn a chance at redemption against Shawn “Showtime” Porter. Throughout the fight Broner had no answer to Porter’s aggression. Porter and Maidana fought a very similar pressure style of fighting, to whit Broner struggled with all fight. He would try and hold, clinch, and resort to underhanded tactics to keep Porter off him. Most notable was Broner shoving the palm of his glove into Porter’s face.

Broner seemed to step on the gas in the 12th round and landed a flush left hook that knocked down Porter. Broner lost via unanimous decision despite his late round flurry. Similar doubts once again resurfaced about Broner’s potential to be a blue chip top fighter. It seemed like every time he needed to step up he could not rise to the occasion.

Adrien Broner

Broner at the Ashley Theophane Press Conference (c) The Associated Press 2016

Broner would rebound by defeating Khabib Allakhverdiev, Ashley Theophane, and Adrian Granados. Broner would yet again be faced with an elite fighter in the unbeaten Mikey Garcia. Would he be able to step up his game and be brilliant when he most needed to be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adrien Broner, Mikey Garcia

Broner prior to facing Garcia (c) The Associated Press 2017

From the beginning of the bout Garcia dominated the pace with Broner saying “you can’t hit me”, the replays showed otherwise. Garcia landed solid punches to the body while pot-shotting effective shots upstairs. There were stretches throughout the middle rounds where Broner was incredibly inactive. Broner looked dumbfounded unable to adapt to the masterful Garcia.

Broner like in his fight with Porter flipped the switch in the final rounds and landed some strong punches on Garcia. The punches affected Garcia, as his nose started bleeding almost immediately.

Adrien Broner, Mikey Garcia

Broner vs. Garcia (c) The Associated Press 2017

Broner would again lose to an elite fighter as Garcia defeated him via unanimous decision. Once again Broner could not perform when the lights were at their brightest. Broner has all the talent in the world, but what he lacks is heart.

Broner is like the kid who is naturally intelligent, but fails to prepare for the big test. They may do well due to their natural intelligence, but they didn’t do as well as they could. The biggest problem is not that they didn’t do well, but they are allowed to make excuses. I’m smart, this test doesn’t define me….I am skilled and talented this fight doesn’t define me.

Adrien Broner, Mikey Garcia

Broner in his corner (c) The Associated Press 2017

At this level it takes heart. There are many talented fighters out there. You can’t cram for the test. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Natural talent can only take you so far, every time Broner has faced an elite fighter he’s lost.

Omar Figueroa, Jr., Nihito Arakawa

Figueroa (right) landing a punch (c) The Associated Press 2013

Broner is rumored to fight Omar Figueroa in Spring. Figueroa is another blue chip fighter who recently sent Robert Guerrero into retirement. If Broner wants to erase his past he will have to dominate Figueroa and be brilliant. Figueroa isn’t going to make it easy, and therin lies the key to redemption, can Broner dig deep and be as great as he can be under pressure. If not he may be doomed to be the fighter with all the talent in the world, but no heart to fight at his best when needed to the most…not just when it’s easy.

How Mayweather Changed the Fight Game

Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez

Floyd Mayweather celebrating (c) Associated Press 2013

He has called himself “TBE” the best ever. His most passionate fans will ascertain that he’s indeed the best and then some. His detractors argue that he manufactured his career by picking his opponents through meticulous matchmaking. The truth lies somewhere in between his prodigious boxing skills and the business model he manufactured and perfected.

“Boxing has always been independent contractors vying for their own short term interests, often times at the expense of the long time health of the sport” said HBO Boxing Analyst Max Kellerman in an interview with EsNews. Kellerman explains the state of boxing with the tragedy of the commons, a sociology/economics theory that essentially argues when there is open access to something whether a field, a fishing ground, etc… and there are no regulations, it can become easy for someone to take advantage of the situation and profit off the anarchy while hurting everyone else.

How does this theory tie in with the state of boxing? Well some would argue that Floyd Mayweather Jr. made boxing better for the fighter despite the lack of rules and structure, and in many ways he has.

The stories of promoters robbing their fighters are a dime a dozen… “They stole like 16, 17, 18 million from me, I never got to see my money,” said former junior middleweight champion Ricardo Mayorga in an interview on his former promoter Don King. Mayorga is not the only one who has accused King of stealing their hard earned money. “Iron” Mike Tyson had his tussles with King claiming he robbed him of millions.

Don King

Don King (c) Associated Press 2014

“You can talk about Don King, you can talk about Bob Arum, to me those guys are thieves,” said Mayweather in an interview with FightHype.com

Promoters for many years were able to make millions off their fighters due to this lack of structure. As Kellerman said boxing is really just a group of independent contractors seeking to maximize their interests. Mayweather flipped the script and became his own boss cementing his legacy upon his defeat of Oscar De La Hoya.

He soon transformed from “Pretty Boy” to “Money” and further cemented himself as the top draw in boxing. As he toppled Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Victor Ortiz, Shane Mosley, and Miguel Cotto he cemented himself as the man, he would never again be the B-side.

Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto

Mayweather vs. Cotto (c) Associated Press 2012

Upon signing his record breaking deal with Showtime, Mayweather set in motion a new business-model that brought him incredible success and further added to his undefeated streak. Mayweather picked all his opponents carefully while maximizing profit and reducing risk. Mayweather became the ultimate A-side fighter, no matter what fight he was in he would always call the shots. Where promoters in the past would take advantage of the fighter with complete disregard for the fighters’ health and safety, Mayweather gave ownership back to the A-side fighter.

While this all sounds very positive, it has also been incredibly detrimental to the sport. Mayweather fought substandard opposition in the final stretch of his career with the exception of Manny Pacquiao, and a very young Canelo Alvarez en route to his 50-0 career and there was no way of stopping him from doing so. In other sports the promoter or central authority would mandate that the best fight the best.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Alvarez, Cynthia C.J. Ross

Mayweather vs. Canelo (c) Associated Press 2013 

Mayweather in essence became bigger than boxing, the last major star outside of Manny Pacquiao, this “lineal A-side” brand gave him so much power that it turned the boxing world upside down.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao

Mayweather and Pacquiao (c) Associated Press 2015

The model he constructed in essence is become the top dog and call all the shots…pick who you fight, where you fight, how you fight (gloves), and even when you fight (Cinco de Mayo weekend and Mexican Independence day weekend). The tragedy of the commons is no longer that promoters take advantage of their fighters for their own reward, but that the lineal A-side takes advantage of the lack of central authority to make substandard fights at his command while pulling all possible strings to tip the scale in his favor.

While this is great for the lineal A-side all other fighters are getting the short end of the stick. Fighters in Mayweather’s era were waiting to hit the Mayweather sweepstakes and make some money by fighting Floyd or even Pacquiao, but the sweepstakes was never about matching the best with the best. Therein lies the large downside to this model, fights happen, but are they the best fights possible? If your answer is no, that’s a safe bet.

This is not to discredit Mayweather’s career, many of his critics forget about his defensive wizardry and matrix like skills, he’s an amazing fighter who deserves to be in the hall of fame. It’s just the model he introduced while it benefits the lineal A-side, it deprives the sport of quality fights that could be made if a fighter were mandated to do so.

Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara

Canelo Alvarez celebrates his victory over Erislandy Lara (c) Associated Press 2014

Many would argue that the new “lineal A-side” is Canelo Alvarez. He dictates who he fights, when he fights, how they fight, and where they fight. He has taken over the dates Mayweather previously owned and runs a similar business/career model to him. After his controversial draw with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in September we are all eager to see who wins the Canelo Sweepstakes in May. The bright side, however, is that it does indeed seem that Canelo has a vested interest in fighting boxers that are legitimate threats to his crown.

Alvarez Golovkin Boxing

Canelo vs. GGG (c) Associated Press 2017