LAS VEGAS — The only winner tonight was the UFC.
All the questions were supposed to be finally answered at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in front of a sold-out crowd of 22,358 fight fans when Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin finally met in the ring, but one judge scoring the bout had an other idea.
After playing second fiddle to the monster production that was Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor last month, Alvarez vs. Triple G was sold as a bout for boxing “supremacy” as not only was the middleweight crown at stake, but the face of boxing was also on the line as the world of Ultimate Fighting continues to take shots at the Sweet Science. But it turns out that the face of boxing is an ugly one as the long-anticipated battle ended in a baffling and frustrating split draw.
The judges scored the bout 118-110 Alvarez, 115-113 Golovkin and 114-114, allowing Golovkin to retain his unified middleweight bout.
“Today people give me draw. I focus on boxing,” Triple G said. “Look my belts, I’m still champion. I’ve not lost.”
While both fighters lived up to their end of the bargain, delivering uppercuts and right hands to the delight the crowd, the bizarre scoring was yet another example of what’s bleeding the sport of boxing.
Many believe the fight was close, like two of the scorecards show, but the 118-110 ruling, courtesy of Judge Adalaide Byrd, is what has people up in arms.
When the bell rang to signal the end of the fight, Triple G raised his hand to the loudest applause of the night for him. But when Byrd’s score was announced, boos rained down so loud that it was hard to hear the other two judge’s scores. A draw was the final outcome and yet another embarrassment for the sport of boxing. The Daily News scored it 8 rounds to 4 in favor of Triple G.
“Congratulations all my friends from Mexico,” Golovkin said after the fight. “I want a true fight. I want a big drama show.”
Immediately after the fight, boxers took to social media posts to vent their frustration. Former heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis tweeted, “Here we go again. ?? These scorecards were ridiculous! #canelovsggg.”
The most hyped fight of the year between two professional boxers ended in controversy.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
And Antonio Tarver added: “Boooooooooooo!!! Horrible decision but sadly I’m not surprised @GGGBoxing @Canelo I just hope GGG just move on to the next ?? @HBOboxing”
Alvarez entered the ring with the sort of confidence that Golovkin had not seen in recent opponents. Alvarez has repeatedly said he fears no man in the ring and when the bell rang to start the bout he was content to follow the blueprint of Daniel Jacobs and box. Alvarez would appear to fade under the intense pressure, especially in the middle rounds.
Triple G pressed the action behind a stiff jab that controlled the pace of the fight. He never allowed Alvarez to rest during any of the rounds. The plan was to apply pressure and force the smaller Alvarez into the most uncomfortable position possible.
“We knew this was going to be a war,” said Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez. “There were no surprises.”
It would be hard-pressed to find someone this morning who will say this bout lacked anything but a high-level competition. You are sure to hear all boxing fans here in the United States and abroad also agree that Triple G was robbed. Not to take anything away from a fine performance from Alvarez but when a judge only gives the aggressive and more effective boxer two rounds, then it’s clear why boxing is losing fans to UFC. A rematch clause will certainly be honored but it won’t make people forget Saturday night when the wrong face of boxing was revealed.
“Obviously yes, if the people want (a rematch),” Alvarez said. “He didn’t win, it was a draw. I always said I was going to be a step ahead of him.”
Alvarez was guaranteed $ 5 million, while Golovkin had a $ 3 million guarantee. Both were expected to make a great deal more on a share of the pay-per-view revenue.
What was lacking was the payoff.
“It’s not my fault,” Golovkin said. “I put pressure on every round.”