“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.
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.
Canelo outworked Golovkin in the early rounds and easily won the first two rounds. Utilizing his counter punching ability to catch Golovkin coming in.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back in 2012 Manny Pacquiao lost a bogus decision against Timothy Bradley where many people had him winning the fight.
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.
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.
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.