May 12, 2016
May 12, 2016
Floyd Mayweather

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THE fight was more than two-and-a-half years ago – but the controversy surrounding Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Canelo Alvarez still lingers. According to the vast majority who watched the bout, Mayweather dominated Alvarez a 12-round in a super-welterweight unification showdown – but it was a majority decision, with judge CJ Ross tabbing a 114-114 draw. Ross’ card is still talked about today – BN editor Matt Christie mentioned it in his recent Alvarez v Amir Khan preview, describing it as “ludicrous.”

“UNTOUCHABLE” was the one-word headline on BN’s front page, and then-editor Tris Dixon, at ringside, gave Mayweather every one of the 12 rounds. Many ringsiders did the same, he said, though “a few had given Alvarez one round, some even a couple.”

Well, studying the three officials’ cards, it would appear that none of them was watching the fight the ringside press saw. They both had Mayweather winning – Craig Metcalfe by 117-111, Dave Moretti by 116-112. Convincing margins, certainly, but not a whitewash either. The press gave Alvarez two rounds at best – Metcalfe gave him three, Moretti four.

And things get even more interesting when we study the cards in detail. There wasn’t one even round out of 36, so well done to the judges on that. Five of the 12 were scored unanimously – the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh to Mayweather, the 12th to Alvarez. So that left seven rounds split 2-1 – the majority being down to Ross’ incompetence in scoring for Alvarez while the other two voted for Mayweather, right?

Wrong.

There were just TWO sessions where Ross was the “odd one out” – scoring the first and eighth to Alvarez when her colleagues favoured Mayweather. In all the other five, Ross’ card tallied with Moretti’s – with Metcalfe the one out of step. Ross and Moretti gave Alvarez the third, ninth and 11th, with Mayweather taking the second and 10th. Metcalfe had all five the other way round.

Dave Moretti is a respected judge, and Ross’ card tallied with his on 10 of the 12 rounds. How bad’s that? If we’re going to castigate Ross for her card, then surely Moretti – who differed on only two sessions – can’t escape censure either? And if we’re going to criticise Ross for scoring two rounds differently from both her colleagues, what do we say about Metcalfe, who was out of step on five?

Or do we say the press got it right, the judges were all wrong – with Metcalfe the least bad, Ross the worst?

There’s another twist – as mentioned, Mayweather won four rounds unanimously, and two on the cards of Metcalfe and Moretti while Ross voted for Alvarez. That leaves six of the 12 rounds where at least one judge other than Ross favoured Alvarez. Food for thought – or proof of incompetence?

I knew Ross had decided to take a break from judging following the Mayweather-Alvarez controversy.  I hope she considers coming back. She clearly loves boxing, she’s got a lot to give – and, from the evidence of her colleagues’ cards, she’s not that bad a judge.