There’s nothing quite like watching a world championship fight live. Nothing gets your heart beating faster and the adrenaline flowing like watching two great athletes give each other and the fans all they have. Nothing like boxing at it’s best can make you feel alive!
And nothing like a judge’s scorecard can make you wish you were dead.
But I’ll get to that later…
I couldn’t hear the HBO commentary team very clearly during this fight because every seat in this sports bar was taken and every person in that seat was there to watch the fight. They were applauding to the national anthems (We are Canadian, remember), roaring when the fighters were introduced and exclaiming and reacting with every shot that landed. But going into the fourth round, I might have heard Jim Lampley say that Canelo was outboxing Golovkin.
I couldn’t fully disagree with that assessment. At the start of round four I had Canelo ahead, two rounds to one. Maybe Golovkin heard Lampley and the others, maybe he established a brief psychic link with me and saw my scorecard and knowing how accurate I am, changed his tactic. Or maybe it was all part of his plan, get a good feel for Canelo’s power and then start to chop away at him like I predicted he would in my most recent podcast.
After the fourth round I was finding it more difficult to score round for Canelo. He would have moments where he would look good but then Golovkin would keep coming forward and have more moments and looked better in them.
Rounds five and ten were arguably the best of the fight with the latter making everyone around me jump out of their seats as Golovkin got rocked by a hard shot from Canelo. It looked like the Mexican superstar was able to turn it around but shockingly, the older Golovkin was able to weather the storm and came back to take control for that round. I felt that one big moment in the round didn’t justify winning it when you spent every moment afterwards on the back foot.
A Golovkin fan next to me between rounds pondered why Triple G wasn’t taking as many risks against Canelo since obviously he seemed to be able to take his best punches.
“He’s no fool,” I explained. “He respects Canelo’s power and for good reason; he’s the one in the ring with him. He also knows that he’s in control.”
If there was something I wanted to know, it was why Golovkin wasn’t going to the body like we had seen him do in the past? Was he so focused on getting the knockout that he wanted one that would be more dramatic? After all, you don’t see many body shots that are put into highlight reels.
Going into the final round, it was obvious from what we could hear Canelo’s corner telling him that they had to have known they were behind. And despite winning the final round on my card, I felt that it wasn’t enough to win the fight. If it’s a 12 round fight, you need to win more than three rounds to win. The cheers from everyone in the bar at the final bell signaled that the fight lived up to expectations. We wanted to have a fight that delivered and it did.
This was boxing!
I thought the outcome was obvious. While my card was nearly identical to Harold Lederman’s (I gave Golovkin round 11), I still thought that at best the scores of the official judges would reflect something identical if not similar.
“Adelaide Byrd scores it 118-110…for Canelo,” said Michael Buffer.
There was a chill that went throughout the entire bar as if the volume of life itself had been cut.
When the announcement that Dave Moretti had scored it 115-113 for Golovkin, it looked like sanity would prevail.
Then of course, the final judge, Don Trella, had it scored a draw at 114-114. The groans and chorus of boos from those in Las Vegas & with me in Calgary were hard not to agree with.
This, too, was boxing.
With the decision now several hours old I’m still having a hard time seeing a draw and perhaps when I wake up tomorrow it will be easier but there’s no way that I’ll ever be able to see Canelo Alvarez winning ten out of twelve rounds. Adelaide Byrd gave boxing an unnecessary black eye either out of corruption or incompetence but a scorecard like this shows that she’s barely fit to judge an amateur exhibition bout at the local bingo hall.
There’s no point in asking what happens next because the most obvious answer is a rematch. The only question is, will it be the rematch that’s next. While Canelo does have a rematch clause (Golovkin did not), his promoter Oscar de la Hoya clarified at the post-fight press conference that no word if Canelo would execute that clause immediately.
This was a fight that boxing fans have wanted for two years; it was a fight that took so long in negotiating that Gennady Golovkin was prepared to not bother with it and move on; it was a fight that had the potential to be a great fight and it came close; it was a fight that the people wanted.
Let’s not wait too long for a rematch.