Canelo Álvarez and Gennady Golovkin fought to a controversial draw on Saturday, and it was a bad decision. The sport of boxing is known for terrible judging for a reason, and hot on the heels of peak interest for the sport as a result of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, what it didn’t need was a hugely poor decision ... but they got one anyway.
It’s not that one boxer completely obliterated the other — in fact, it was a very close bout. But bouts can be close and still decisive one way or the other. On Saturday, Golovkin spent nine of the 12 rounds beating up on Álvarez up against the ropes, eating few shots in between.
One judge scored the contest 115-113 for Golovkin, a very reasonable score. One judge had it a 114-114 draw, which I personally don’t agree with but that isn’t completely out there in the realm of bad judging.
Another, Adalaide Byrd, scored the bout 118-110 in favor of Álvarez. That’s a problem.
We don’t know how well the fight did in regards to pay-per-view buys and viewers as a whole, but Álvarez is arguably the biggest name in the sport not named Mayweather or Pacquiao. His only career loss to this point was to Mayweather.
After Mayweather vs. McGregor, everyone who knew something about boxing got out there and said that Álvarez vs. Golovkin was the real marquee fight to watch.
And it was! Golovkin started off tentative, respecting Álvarez’s skill, but ultimately the fight turned into a highly technical, controlled brawl that saw the two very best active boxers in the sport trying to take each other out. Álvarez was all but spent going into the 10th round when his corner yelled at him and told him he had to be perfect.
There was drama, but good drama. There was excitement. There was excellent, high-level boxing the likes of which everybody should experience watching at least once. And then there was that absolutely terrible scorecard from Byrd.
There isn’t any justification for it. Álvarez was beaten up for the majority of that bout, and only really dominated very late in the fight. It’s not that a draw is the worst outcome in the world, it’s that a 118-110 card in favor of Álvarez is so laughably out of line that I didn’t believe it when I heard it.
There’s no justification for that card, a card turned in by a judge known for backwards decisions over the years. Anybody tuning into boxing after having their interests piqued by Mayweather vs. McGregor deserve better than that decision. The sport of mixed martial arts made huge gains with that bout due to McGregor’s ability to stay in the fight until late, and it made huge gains again with this high profile botched boxing decision.