“I feel terrible… This is terrible.”
–Triple G, on losing via draw with Canelo
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I started to call this, “The Heist: GGG Gets Robbed In Las Vegas.” But you should already know that.
Saturday night in Sin City at T-Mobile Arena, nearly 23,000 predominately Mexican fans showered Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34KOs) with the most thunderous ovation of joy I've ever heard a fighter receive on his way to the ring.
You could actually feel the building shake, as that pattern would repeat itself several times during a tremendous superfight with Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33KOs). That record should be 38-0.
After a very tense first round that could've gone either way, every time Alvarez landed ANYTHING of significance the partisan crowd would erupt. There is absolutely no way that this did not influence the judges; particularly, the egregious Adelaide Byrd, who should never be allowed drive a vehicle again– much less judge a prizefight ever again.
Some people are fired right away–their past good contributions being overridden by even just one negative one. We don't care how many she judged right out of 120 fights. What's bothersome most about Byrd now, is wondering just how helpful has she been in being awful at what she does?
When you want the best anything, you don't aim for expectations that are low. Golden Boy one would think would know Byrd had a pattern of being swayed by the crowd favorite in the past, and I'll be damned if they didn't hit the jackpot in Vegas on Saturday night. I asked a top sanctioning body official about their thoughts on Canelo's thrashing of the WBC (despite benefiting from their bending of middleweight 160lbs to 155 for him) and organisations' decision to give Alvarez an additional 7 hours to rehydrate. He just smiled a smile that said, “It's all about the money, baby.”
I scored this fight 116-112 for Gennady Golovkin– after talking myself out of 117-111. I felt just as terrible for Triple G as he did on the podium during the post fight press conference. I was as angry and as bewildered as ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas, who completely lost his mind on LIVE air with Stephen A. Smith after the bout.
What separates boxing from say, the NFL or the NBA, is fans don't have to click “Buy” for $70 on their remotes or tablets before before having angry remorse over a game. With boxing history on the line, possible corruption matters more, when we consider these type of fights are rare.
Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy (who were sensational in promoting Canelo V GGG) can brag all they want about LIVE attendance and closed circuit numbers, but the Mexican fans were pissed at their new age “Golden Boy.” You should never poison your own blood– you just might need a transfusion and receive your own medicine.
TRIPLE G WON A TACTICAL WAR
Let's be very clear about something: We witnessed a beautiful fight Saturday night. It consisted of great ebb n flow; possessing the type of competitive melodrama that either kept you glued to your seat with extreme focus, or standing up and cheering loud enough to lose your voice.
But Gennady Golovkin clearly defeated a great champion in Canelo Alvarez. He not only consistently defended his middleweight “Supremacy”, but he also challenged the Lineal and RING champion into a fight for survival.
GGG reduced the ring size for Canelo, exhausting the Mexican star with a claustrophobic presence and a piercing jab. Both men were brilliant in different ways defensively, but Canelo worked far harder, engaged in defensive surrender throughout before occasional gung-ho offensive bursts.
At the end of 12 rounds, the most astute fanbase on the planet and the same Mexican contingent that roared in approval for Alvarez, was booing him vociferously. Too much is being made out of judge Byrd's preposterous 118-110. That's not the only reason why they were booing. It's that the fight was NO CLOSER than 115-113, Golovkin. 114-114 is also a joke.
More than any other fanbase, Mexicans are fair. They know that Canelo lost this fight outright, ultimately not living up to his now infamous catch phrase: “We don't fuck around in Mexico.” Canelo was brilliant in spurts and showed remarkable resolve, but it's always a tell-tale sign that a fighter is losing when he becomes out of character because of his opponent.
Golovkin speared Canelo backwards with his thunderous jab all night and ravaged him with hooks and uppercuts. I struggled to give Alvarez more than three rounds. Even during the 10th – his most successful round where he landed bricks on Golovkin, GGG still wound up roaring forward with boulders to let Canelo know it's not a good idea to go toe-to-toe with him.
Canelo would routinely believe this and back down. He did this, while often backing up and dancing away from punishment with his arms down and mouth wide open. He displayed this disposition in virtually every round from 2 to 12. Those are attributes of a man who is losing rounds and relenting from his opponent's power.
In a staredown, the one who looks away first has lost the staredown. To draw comparison, GGG made Canelo look away all night and forced him into an uncommon retreat.
He lost. It's as simple as that.
Teddy Atlas had it no less than 117-111, Golovkin. ESPN analyst Dan Rafael had it 116-112, Golovkin. An identical score from HBO commentator Harold Letterman. I asked Thomas Hauser how he had it, his scorecard read 115-113 for GGG. I got to trainer Joel Diaz before the rest of the media got to him, he was passionate about a Golovkin victory. He got robbed. I'll go this far… Any media member that really thinks Canelo won this fight is a person I cannot trust.
GOLOVKIN IS AN HISTORICALLY GREAT MIDDLEWEIGHT PAST HIS PRIME
It's a shame we got to know Golovkin only 5 years ago, when he was 30. Think about something… The great Julio Cesar Chavez started a real decline during the Pernell Whitaker farce of a draw (the only outcome Canelo V GGG can be compared to in criminal conspiracy). He was age 30 at that time, before Frankie Randall came along and dropped him for the first time ever while getting a shocking UD victory.
After Jacobs gave Golovkin his own Randall without knocking him down, I'm pretty sure Canelo was to Golovkin what De La Hoya was to Chavez. I thought a 33 year-old Marvin Hagler clearly lost to a 30 year-old Sugar Ray Leonard in April 1987. Golovkin, by comparison at 35, defeated a 29 year-old Daniel Jacobs and really beat a 27 year-old Canelo Alvarez in 2017.
What does this all mean? Throw in his record breaking title defenses and Gennady Golovkin is a greater champion than Chavez and Hagler, and one of the greatest middleweights of all-time. I believe Triple G would've beaten a prime Hagler based on his 1984 struggle with Juan Roldan.
I can only wonder what Golovkin would've been as a pro under the tutelage of Sanchez, for the same length of time Canelo has been with the Reynoso brothers. What would his 20s have yielded?
But what is now clear about Golovkin, in what should've been a clear victory over Canelo, is he is a pitcher who has lost his best fastball. Losing speed-velocity as a puncher who has developed heavier legs and feet due to age, means he'll have to take more punishment to win going forward.
If I was Golovkin, I'd take Miguel Cotto up on his offer for a showdown at Madison Square Garden on December 31st. Beat him up, then just pull a Hagler and retire.
He deserves to go out the winner that he is.