WHILE it fleetingly conjured up memories of great fights gone by, Canelo-Golovkin will ultimately be remembered alongside the most infamous decisions in history. As many predicted, the eagerly awaited showdown was marred by a controversial outcome on the cards as the 12-round contest was declared the most horrible draw since Lennox Lewis was cheated out of victory over Evander Holyfield in 1999.
A thoroughly outrageous score of 118-110 in Canelo’s favour handed in by Adelaide Byrd immediately took the shine off what had been a wonderful contest, albeit one that appeared to have been won by Golovkin. The Kazakh did get a 115-113 nod, before a tally of 114-114 confirmed the draw.
Not since Marvin Hagler lost his world title to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987 has there been such controversy in a middleweight championship bout. Perhaps repeated viewings of this contest will be kind to Canelo like they have been to Leonard (who was also on the right end of a highly contentious 118-110 score back then), but for now – here at the T-Mobile Arena –the smell is unbearable. A draw, if three close cards had been returned would have been sufferable, but Byrd’s tally is simply outrageous.
The bout started slowly but by the fourth, Golovkin seemed to be in control as his jab began to dictate. A superb fifth session saw both exchange before the WBA, WBC and IBF champion upped his output during the middle rounds. By the 10th – another wild session – Golovkin appeared to be cruising to victory.
Canelo changed his approach as the minutes ticked down, his habit of waiting on the ropes and inviting punishment was replaced by initiating his own attacks. The Mexican certainly finished strongly, but the result seemed a formality at the final bell.
When Michael Buffer read out the 118-110 score nobody in the arena was surprised. But then when Canelo’s name quickly followed boos almost took the roof off. Canelo, the fan favourite throughout the build-up and the early rounds, suddenly became public enemy number one. Indeed, at this juncture, only a rematch could possibly lead to forgiveness.
But don’t blame Canelo. Blame this rotten stinking sport. And while you’re at it, blame Adelaide Byrd. Serious questions must be asked about how she only scored two rounds to Golovkin. It’s possible she was swayed by the crowd who initially cheered Canelo’s every swing, but such adoration was not present in each of the 10 rounds she scored for the Mexican. Whatever her reasoning, we must be allowed to hear it.
Boxing was relying on this fight tonight and as a contest, it was thrilling, no question. But any new fans the action created would surely have been repulsed by what followed. How could you possibly explain that score to someone who had never seen boxing before tonight?
You can’t. Of course you can’t.