LAS VEGAS – When Dmitry Bivol arrived at T-Mobile Arena to a chorus of boos on Saturday night, he was already losing the fight against Canelo Alvarez.
The reigning WBA “Super” light heavyweight world champion dominated from the opening bell, as he used his superior size, range, jab, and combinations to retain his belt for the fourth time via unanimous decision, albeit an attempt from the judges to give the fight to his opponent.
The jokes that typically make the reel on Canelo fight nights became a reality. ‘Canelo is already up 3-0, and the bell hasn't even rung.' In this case, it was 4-0. Judges Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti, and Steve Weisfeld all scored the first four rounds for Alvarez, who was not effective for much of the fight and landed 84 punches, a career-low for the four-division world champion in a 12-round bout.
All three of these individuals should be fired. I have no interest in hearing these guys speak before the Nevada State Athletic Commission and attempting to justify their scores because you can't. They should be taken to task by the commission, but we all know that won't happen. After all, they did nothing to Adelaide Byrd when she scored the first Canelo-Golovkin bout 118-110 in favor of Alvarez. She was back to work one month later as if nothing had ever happened.
This situation is reminiscent of a college professor noticing that three of their students sitting near one another had the same answers on an exam, yet all scored a 22 percent. In the real world, you get kicked to the curb for stealing time off the clock, and in boxing, you get promoted. The judges were paid $8,000 apiece on Saturday night, and for what it's worth, if I were in control, not only would I move to terminate them, but I would also push for the forfeiture of their checks.
It's a miracle that Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs), 31, of Russia, won the fight in retrospect. I'm sure some of you are thinking, ‘But the right guy won the fight' or ‘The crowd was roaring; they may have been distracted.' I don't want to hear it. Cut it out with the excuses. Everyone on press row that I spoke to, with the exception of one individual—who scored it 116-112—had a tally of either 117-111 or 118-110. From my ledge, to be cute, I had it 117-111. Therefore, the crowd didn't affect us, so why the double standard?
The fact that Bivol needed to win the 12th round to win the fight is an absolute disgrace. We're talking a combined 89 years of experience between Cheatham, Moretti, and Weisfeld, not exactly a rookie class. In any other industry, you're likely to get the best results. Unfortunately, boxing doesn't work that way. It is clear that the business of boxing wanted Canelo to win, but Bivol was so dominant they couldn't take the win away, as they would have risked a riot.
Historically speaking, these judges aren't alone. Stanley Christodoulou (118-109 for the Austin Trout bout), C.J. Ross (114-114 for the Floyd Mayweather fight), who disappeared off the face of the planet and rightfully so, and Levi Martinez (117-111) for the Erislandy Lara contest) are all guilty. We can go a step further.
Looking back at the rematch between Canelo and Golovkin in September 2018, Moretti and Weisfeld can be examined under a microscope again. Golovkin clearly won the 12th round, but those two scored the final frame for Canelo, which gave him the majority decision win. Had they not, it would have been another draw. You have to analyze every scorecard with a grain of salt, whether it's a wide score or a very close one because often, people miss the little things.
Over the years, the accumulation of these incidents has led to an unfair backlash against Canelo. Fans have turned against him instead of focusing their energy on the administrators of the sport that are responsible for this taking place. Alvarez can't help that he is the most popular fighter, nor does he judge fights. His job is to box, as shown by his immaculate resume, which dare I say, is not only the best in boxing but also arguably of his era, other than Manny Pacquiao.
Out of all the styles that were available between 168 and 175 pounds, to his credit, Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) chose the most daunting, difficult task in Bivol. And although he came up short, he's still an elite fighter, a top pound-for-pound talent, and a lock for the Hall of Fame, having won world titles at junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight (where he became the first-ever undisputed champion), and light heavyweight.
Anyone who says otherwise is simply a hater. But the nonsense that is pulled for him behind the scenes does a disservice to him and, above all, the sport of boxing. Because instead of talking about his resume, fearlessness, or signature performances and victories, we're again on the topic of questionable scorecards and shady behavior. If we continue to feign ignorance on this matter and stay silent regarding these wrongdoings, it will eventually destroy boxing and lure its fans toward UFC.