by David P. Greisman
Those monitoring Twitter during Saturday’s pay-per-view main event between Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara may have observed the amount of disagreement on the scoring of many rounds. Heck, BoxingScene’s Jake Donovan noted four swing rounds — rounds that could’ve gone either way.
“Scores expected to be all over the place,” he tweeted after the 11th.
There would indeed be a split decision, with judge Jerry Roth seeing the bout 115-113, or seven rounds to five, for Lara, only to be outvoted by Dave Moretti, who had it 115-113 for Alvarez, and Levi Martinez, who had it 117-111 (nine rounds to three) for the redheaded star.
Martinez was the clear outlier, turning in a card that was far more lopsided than the fight appeared to be. We’ll come back to him in a moment.
Moretti and Roth, unlike the writers and observers tweeting away the night, actually didn’t disagree on much at all. They had 10 of the 12 rounds in common. Both gave rounds 1 through 3 to Lara. They gave Round 4 to Alvarez. Both gave Round 6 to Lara. They gave rounds 7 through 9 to Alvarez. And both had Lara winning Round 10 and Alvarez winning Round 12.
That’s five rounds apiece for each man.
Their only differences were in rounds 5 and 11. Moretti had those rounds for Alvarez, giving Alvarez the 115-113 victory. Roth had ‘em for Lara, giving Lara the edge by the same tally.
Martinez, meanwhile, was in agreement with his two counterparts for half the fight. He, like them, had Lara winning rounds 1 and 3 and had Alvarez winnings round 4 and rounds 7 through 9.
He also agreed with Moretti on rounds 5 and 11, both of which were for Alvarez.
Where he was in the minority was with rounds 2, 6 and 10 — he was the only one to see those rounds for Alvarez — and round 12, which he gave to Lara.
Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal said he spoke with Nevada Athletic Commission executives regarding Martinez’s scorecard.
“They expressed concerns,” he tweeted. “NAC chairman Francisco Aguilar and exec. Dir. Bob Bennett said Martinez's scores differed by one third with Vegas judges Roth and Moretti. The width of those scores [is] what concerned them. And yes, they asked him to explain his card. Granted this was not an easy fight to score but the NAC said Martinez's work deserved to be scrutinized. I agree. Bottom line: don't expect Levi Martinez to judge a big fight in Vegas anytime soon.”
Going by “majority rules” to evaluate a judge’s performance shouldn’t always be the standard, given that you might have two judges see something contrary to what the rest of the boxing world sees.
This was indeed a tough fight to score at times. Of the swing rounds from BoxingScene’s highly respected Donovan, three of them were for Lara (rounds 2, 5 and 11) and one of them was for Alvarez (round 7).
Donovan’s final scorecard was a 114-114 draw, which puts him smack in-between Roth’s and Moretti’s cards. But if you turn his swing rounds in the opposite direction, Donovan could’ve had anywhere from a 115-113 win for Lara to a 117-111 win for Alvarez, matching Martinez.
On a side note, Moretti was never in the minority on Saturday night. At least one other judge agreed with him in every single round. Roth was in the minority for rounds 5 and 11, which were two of the swing rounds Donovan noted above.
Though Roth had it a close 115-113 win for Lara, Lara was never behind on his scorecard. He was up 39-37 after four, 59-55 at the halfway point, 77-75 after eight, and 106-103 going into the final round.
Moretti had Lara ahead for some time: 39-37 after four, 58-56 at the halfway point, and 67-66 after the seventh. It was tied up at 76-76 after the eighth, 86-85 for Alvarez after the ninth, and tied up again at 95-95 after the 10th. He gave Alvarez the final two rounds — and the victory on his card. Alvarez took five of the final six rounds on Moretti’s card.
The final time Lara was ahead on Martinez’s card was after the third round, when it was 29-28. Martinez had the fighters tied up after four, and then had Alvarez taking eight rounds in a row — rounds 4 through 11.
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]