On the grandest boxing stage of them all, in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, Gennady Golovkin found himself robbed in front of a full house at the T-Mobile Arena, writes GARY LEMKE.
The unbeaten world middleweight champion didn’t lose the belts he put on the line against Canelo Alvarez, but the draw that was awarded, following 12 pulsating rounds of action, was nothing short of a disgrace.
And the scorecard of Adalaide Byrd, who saw the fight 118-110 in favour of Alvarez, was inexplicable. Either she was watching a different fight or heaven forbid, in the back pocket of some of the darker characters who are said to lurk in the sport. Perhaps tellingly, the odds of a draw tumbled from 30-1 to 15-1 in the hours before the boxers got into the ring.
Adalaide is the wife of Robert Byrd, who was the referee of the Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor event, and truth be told, she should have been at ringside for that farce, not at a match-up that was hyped as Fight of the Year.
The other two judges saw it 115-113 for Golovkin and 114-114, and therefore the verdict was a draw and a rematch between these two warriors looks likely. My scorecard from watching on TV was 116-112 for Golovkin.
In Las Vegas there is a history of the ‘house fighter’, the man favoured by the judges based on crowd support and, well, bias. Alvarez was that man in this encounter where he had hoped to inflict a first-ever defeat on the Kazakh star.
In a nutshell, judge Byrd reckoned Golovkin won only two of the 12 rounds, all of which, barring the first, were fought at a blistering pace. Her scoring seems criminal in every sense of the word.
Alvarez, the 27-year-old Mexican stepping up in weight to challenge Golovkin, whom many thought had seen better days at the age of 35, lacked nothing in courage and possesses a strong set of boxing skills. He turned professional at 15, and going into this fight had lost only one of his 51 contests – a points verdict to Mayweather.
But over the course of 12 rounds, Golovkin did more of a number on Alvarez than Mayweather was able to. While the early rounds weren’t altogether clear-cut, the tone was set early. Alvarez was more the boxer, ‘Triple G’ the come-forward fighter.
Both scored with powerful shots, although Golovkin was uncharacteristically hunting the head, whereas a significant number of his previous 33 knockout victims were softened up and hurt to the body. Plenty of power shots were thrown, but also plenty missed, a credit to the defensive abilities of both boxers.
As the fight got longer, Alvarez started sucking air, dropping his hands on occasion and hoping to find refuge on the ropes. Against Golovkin, though, there is no place to hide. He is relentless in coming forward and throws punches with real intent.
There were stages when a shot had Alvarez’s head turned sideways, but he shook his head as if to say, ‘I’m not hurt’, yet those were acts of bravado. The Mexican found himself in a world of pain, but he too, has a chin made of granite. He played a full part in an absorbing contest and managed to connect often enough with his own power shots, but there’s a reason why the Kazakhstan idol has never been knocked off his feet in a distinguished amateur, and now professional, career.
The deeper into the fight, the more the likelihood increased for referee Kenny Bayliss having to step in and call a halt to the proceedings. But each time Golovkin landed with a hurtful flurry, Alvarez somehow found the will to dig deep and fire back.
Both fighters jumped into the arms of their trainers at the final bell, raising their arms. Alvarez’s antics seemed more in hope and to appease the fans than in hope for a win. And when the cards were read out and a draw was declared, the Mexicans started to boo and even broke out into chants of ‘GGG’.
Mexicans know their boxing. At least two of the three judges at ringside clearly don’t.
Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images
You may also like