Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin did their part Saturday night to make their middleweight showdown a memorable one, putting on the kind of big drama show both had promised. They traded big shots and battled for 12 rounds, and when it was over they leaped into the arms of their corner men, both certain they had won.
That the judges ruled it a draw wasn’t out of line. It was that kind of fight, a close, tense bout that could have gone either way, but only slightly.
Unfortunately, one judge somehow had Alvarez winning all but two rounds. The 118-110 margin in favour of Alvarez by Adalaide Byrd was so stunningly off that it dominated the talk at a post-fight press conference that otherwise would have focused on one of the better fights of the year.
Perhaps overlooked by those complaining about the score is that if Byrd had Alvarez winning by a closer margin, say 115-113, the fight would still be a draw and no one would be talking about the judges. It wasn’t that she necessarily got the winner wrong, but by too big of a margin.
Still, there was plenty of venom on social media and from outraged television types for Byrd’s inexplicable card. Golovkin also wasn’t happy about the scorecard in a fight he seemed to be controlling until Alvarez rallied in the late rounds.
The other two judges saw the fight that most at ringside thought they were watching, a bruising affair that appeared to be going Golovkin’s way until Alvarez rallied to take the last three rounds on all three scorecards.
One favoured Golovkin 115-113, while the other had it 114-114.
According to the head of the Nevada Athletic Commission, Bob Bennett, Byrd feels terrible about the entire situation. She is under review, but has not been punished by the NSAC.
“She is not under suspension or been reprimanded in any way. We had a debriefing after the event. She feels terrible that she saw it differently from the other two judges. She explained what she saw and she feels shattered. We’ll review everything in the next few days with the commission and (NAC chairman) Anthony Marnell," Bennett told the Las Vegas Review Journal.
“Adalaide and I will sit down and watch the fight and go over it round by round. She’ll articulate to me what she saw and we’ll move forward.
“She’s an outstanding judge who had one bad night. She’s a professional who always wants to get it right. She looks forward to watching the fight again and seeing what she missed.
“Anyone reporting corruption couldn’t be any further from the truth. Adalaide is a woman of integrity and a judge many around the world have requested for.”