Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez staged a great fight, and unless you expected Hagler-Hearns all over again, this lived up to the billing. It was a cross between a war and a truly high-level tactical boxing match, but it’s a fight that I’m confident GGG clearly won. My 117-111 scorecard was probably wide (update: Upon reflection, round 12 should go to Canelo), and 115-113 is acceptable. Canelo definitely had the advantage in the early rounds, but after round 4 it was a fight in GGG’s favor. What the hell was Adelaide Byrd watching? Seriously, what was she watching? How could she have possibly given Canelo 10 rounds in that fight? I am truly dumbfounded. That is one of the single worst scorecards I have ever seen in MMA and boxing. This fight ended in a draw, and it should not have. Golovkin keeps all of his belts, which is the only good news out of this.
People get annoyed about terrible boxing judging, and they have every right to be. My concern here is that Adelaide Byrd regularly features on UFC shows in Nevada, and she as turned in complete bullsh-t scorecards in the past, including being one of the two judges to have Leonard Garcia beating Nam Phan the first time around. I even wrote about how Top Rank was concerned with Adelaide Byrd’s sketchy history and wanted her not to be a part of Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Nicholas Walters. Adelaide Byrd should never judge a major fight ever again.
There is a rematch clause, we need to see a rematch, and hopefully it’s anywhere but Nevada (or Texas), but I doubt it. Damn you, boxing.
More thoughts on tonight’s card:
- The crowd was largely in GGG’s favor by the end of the fight and during the post-fight interview you could hear loud jeers for Canelo, who thought he clearly won 7-8 rounds. I don’t blame him, because he’s managed a 119-109 vs. Cotto (very lopsided), a 114-114 vs. Mayweather (not even close), and one-sided scoring in an otherwise close battle with Austin Trout. His style evidently is super favorable for judges to give him rounds he didn’t win.
- HBO’s commentary was absurdly bad. They were embarrassingly one-sided in Canelo’s favor and often not calling the action at all. I’ve given Showtime some stick in the past, but they’re just so much better at broadcasting boxing.
- Golovkin really gave Canelo problems with his pressuring style and he really overwhelmed Canelo in the middle rounds, and GGG was definitely landing the more telling punches. Both men exemplified outrageous chins with the bombs they were connecting on. I thought GGG’s jab was really posing problems for Canelo, and one he established that, he went to his power punches. Canelo finished well in the final couple of rounds, but even then I still felt like Golovkin was doing great work that went largely unnoticed.
- Very interestingly, GGG did not go to the body very often. Canelo was winning the early rounds through his body work, and GGG stayed head-hunting for the most part. If we get a rematch, it’ll be interesting to see a tactical shift so that we see GGG go back to more body punching, because Canelo did have phases in the fight where he was ducking and slipping Golovkin’s power punches, and that’s where GGG’s lack of pure speed is a real disadvantage.
- Joseph Diaz Jr. became the #1 challenger for the WBC featherweight title currently held by Gary Russell Jr. “JoJo” took apart short-notice replacement Rafael Rivera for a comfortable unanimous decision win. Diaz has really clean technical skills and stays disciplined, but he’s definitely not one to set a fast pace (relative to his weight class) and lacks any meaningful power. In the event Russell vs. Diaz happens, I back the speedy Russell Jr. to win.
- In a junior featherweight bout, Diego De La Hoya improved to 20-0 (9 KOs) and handed a good fighter in Randy Caballero his first professional loss. He really ripped Caballero to the body (and also threw his fair share of low blows), was clearly the more offensively potent fighter and kept winning the “phone booth exchanges” that Caballero insisted on initiating. I am normally one to champion corner stoppages when it’s a bludgeoning, but HBO’s commentary was over-the-top for this one, and Caballero going the distance really wasn’t some outrageous outcome.
- Lightweight prospect Ryan Martin edged out heavy underdog Francisco Rojo by split decision. I think you can make a case for a Rojo win based off of his early round success, but the one judge who had it 98-91 is way out there. Martin seemed to struggle with Rojo’s body shots and pressuring style, but did better when he had time and space to work in the center of the ring. Martin doesn’t sit down on his punches and that’s part of the reason his KO percentage is just 55%. Not a great performance by Martin, but a win is a win.
- For curious Bloody Elbow readers, the next major boxing card we’ll provide extensive coverage for is Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev, which is on October 28th and is a daytime show for North American viewers. Also be on the lookout for the October 14th 154-pound tripleheader on Showtime, featuring Jarrett Hurd vs. Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha, and Jermell Charlo vs. Erickson Lubin.