For years, the most prevalent topic in professional boxing has been the sport’s long history of mismatches and corruption. Boxing has been put in an awkward place due to irrelevant and lopsided fights, such as Floyd Mayweather vs. Arturo Gatti, Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ray Austin and Roy Jones Jr. vs. Glen Kelly. The recent Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor matchup featured perhaps the most incredible discrepancy in boxing history. The match between a top-10-of-all-time boxer and an amateur who had never participated in a professional boxing match was a weird situation for the sport.
This past weekend, however, boxing fans got all they could have wished for in the matchup between Canelo Álvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. The fight went back and forth for 12 rounds, captivating the attention of fans all around the world. Unlike the very disappointing Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout, both boxers were standing and trading for the duration of the fight. The fight was supposed to give fans a clear answer to who was boxing’s best fighter in the middleweight division, which caps at 160 pounds. Both fighters put on world-class performances, but at the end, a clear winner was not crowned.
Mexican star Álvarez, came out of the gate hot, showing all his tools very early in the fight. Álvarez has had a very respectable career, with the lone loss on his 49-1-1 record coming at the hands of Mayweather.
With Álvarez winning the first few rounds, Golovkin turned up the heat and began to dictate the pace of the fight for most of the middle and late rounds.
The reigning IBF, WBC and WBA Middleweight Champion came into the fight touting a 37-0 record, 33 wins coming by way of knockout. Golovkin delivered an abundance of clean shots and had Álvarez against the ropes for most of the fight. He had a great game plan using his three-inch reach differential and excellent jabs to set up vicious combinations.
Álvarez came back around in the late rounds, but it looked like Golovkin had done more than enough in wake of the official decision.
The true story of the fight came after the official decision following the end of it. Judge Dave Moretti scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Golovkin, judge Don Trella had it tied at 114-114, but chaos broke out when judge Adalaide Byrd scored the fight 118-110 in favor of Álvarez.
To many fans, this was one of the worst scorecards in boxing history. Longtime boxing trainer and current ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas was very upset with the decision and, in a rant with Stephen A. Smith, blamed boxing’s administration, most notably the Nevada Athletic Commission.
This has been a commission that has been criticized before, not only within the sport of boxing, but also by UFC president, Dana White. White cited a level of incompetence in the commission, which was on full display, especially during this fight.
This decision once again puts boxing in an uncomfortable place as many fans were shocked and felt they were cheated at the hands of the judges. Both fighters expressed interest in having a rematch following the split draw, but nothing has been finalized as of press time.
The decision will have a huge effect on the boxing world and administration. More news will be available in the weeks to come.