As the old boxing saying goes, “The underdog needs a knockout just to earn a draw.” Well there was no knockout on September 16th, but there was a draw as Gennady ‘ Triple G’ Golovkin of Kazakhstan kept his middleweight belts after a controversial decision against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez of Mexico. This fight actually lived up to the hype and anticipation as it was compelling for all 12 rounds. In case you missed it, the scoring was 115-113 Golovkin, 118-110 Alvarez and 114-114.
When all was said and done it left a sour taste in the mouths of many though, especially those who believe Golovkin won the contest, which was the majority of fans. Boxing had the opportunity to grab the headlines for all the right reasons, but once again shot itself in the foot with the ensuing controversy and allegations of corruption. It was a great fight though and these are 10 things we learned from Triple G vs Canelo.
10. Don’t Leave it to the Judges
Boxing has an unfortunate and bizarre history of controversial and wrongful decisions, so last Saturday’s was nothing new. In fact, several high-profile experts such as Teddy Atlas predicted before the fight that there would be a controversial decision. Sadly, he was right. Most boxers in mega-fights don’t want to go the distance because of this as they know there’s a good chance they’re going to be shafted. They’d prefer to win by stoppage rather than going the distance to make sure this doesn’t happen. But although Golovkin and Alvarez gave it their all, they were simply too good defensively and possess the best chins in the business. This combination meant there was nothing they could do but leave the outcome in the hands of the judges.
9. Each Round is Equally Important
While we understand the reason and process of feel-out rounds early in the fight, boxers may want to think twice about them now. If Golovkin had won any one of the first two rounds on the scorecards he would have won the fight. He also would have won had he won any one of the final three rounds since all three judges controversially scored rounds 10 through 12 for Canelo. Perhaps they had no choice if the fight did indeed come with a preordained outcome? Let’s not forget that all 12 rounds are just as important when it comes to scoring and a concerted effort should be made to win each one of them. If not, it could come back to haunt you. Just ask Triple G.
8. Chins of Granite
To the average boxing and sports fan, they may have been amazed at the chins Triple G and Canelo exhibited over the 12 rounds. These guys were hit right on the button numerous times, especially Golovkin, but they didn’t even blink and weren’t wobbled at all. Boxing experts knew all along these guys had solid chins, but perhaps didn’t know just how well they could take a punch. Golovkin just kept coming forward since he doesn’t mind taking a shot or two to land one of his own and Canelo proved he could withstand Triple G’s legendary power. The ability to take a punch produces world champions and if Golovkin has the best chin in the business, then Canelo should deservedly be ranked number two.
7. Age Didn’t Matter
With Triple G being 35 years old and Canelo just turning 27 it led to an eight-year age difference. However, it wasn’t noticeable at all during the fight. Golovkin was the aggressor all night long and never appeared to tire at all. The younger Alvarez looked gassed a couple of times during the bout though, but always came back after catching his wind. But that being said, this fight may have been even better if it had been held a couple of years ago. Canelo and his Golden Boy promotion team waited as long as they could before signing on the dotted line as they assumed Triple G would slow down with age. If there is going to be a rematch, Golovkin should push for it to take place as soon as he believes he’ll be physically ready.
6. Billy Joe Saunders has no Chance Against Either One
The only major Middleweight Title Triple G doesn’t own is the WBO version, which belongs to 28-year-old Billy Joe Saunders of England. Saunders actually fought the same day as Golovkin and Alvarez, and successfully defended his title for the second time via a listless unanimous decision over Willie Monroe Jr. of America. Now, Saunders has been making a lot of noise about unifying the titles against the winner of the Golovkin vs Alvarez bout. But to be honest, he doesn’t stand a chance against either one of them at this stage. It would be the biggest payday of the Briton’s career, but he needs to seriously weigh his options here. He may suddenly see his bank account swell, but may not be in shape to enjoy his earnings after facing Triple G or Canelo. On the other hand, it could be a perfect fight for Golovkin.
5. Decision Could Lead to Trilogy
From the sounds of it, Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 Kos) is up for a rematch with Canelo (49-1-2 34 Kos), with next May being rumored as the date. The draw between the two could lead to a classic trilogy though, which would be a bonus for the fans. No matter who wins the rematch, the first fight will always be shrouded in controversy and doubt. The only way to really settle thing is in the ring and to hold three bouts. The only thing that could possibly derail an exciting trilogy would be a decisive victory by Triple G in a rematch, especially if it comes by stoppage. In a perfect world, the pair of them will also do battle again before too much time passes and Golovkin reaches his late 30s.
4. Punch Stats Favor Triple G
When it comes to the final CompuBox punch stats, they favor Triple G as he landed 218 of the 703 he threw for a connect rate of 31 per cent. Canelo landed 169 of 505 thrown for 33.5 per cent. Canelo landed just 23.6 per cent of his jabs by connecting on 55 of 233 while Golovkin landed 108 of 361 for 29.9 per cent. However, when it comes to power punches (anything but a jab), Canelo landed 114 of 272 for 41.9 per cent while Triple G went 110 for 342 for a rate of 32.2 per cent. However, it could be argued that Golovkin’s jab is also a power punch due to the way he throws it. Triple G also landed more punches than Canelo in 11 of the 12 rounds, more jabs in eight of the rounds and more power punches in five rounds. He threw more power shots in eight of the rounds though.
3. Boxing Needs Official Ruling Body
As critics of boxing will tell you again and again, there’s not really any proper national governing body for the sport. Fans shouldn’t expect to see much change while the promoters are choosing the venues, referees and judges. Naturally, they’re going to select officials who have a habit of siding with their fighters. A national administrative commission is needed to make sure everything is handled fair and square. The administration should be the voice of reason when it comes to naming referees and judges etc. For example, if Golden Boy is the main promoter for an event fans shouldn’t be shocked when their boxers are seemingly being favored by the officials. Promotion companies should be made to stick to promoting, marketing and selling fight, but nothing else.
2. Result Should Come as no Surprise
When all of the factors above are taken into consideration, fans shouldn’t have been taken aback by the result of the contest even though it looked like Triple G shaded it by a couple of points. Boxing is a huge business in Las Vegas since it attracts high rollers from all over the world. There’s nothing Sin City would like more than a rematch as it will fill the coffers once again. Once the money comes rolling in it can lead to allegations of corruption though since Canelo is a big draw there. But even based on the fight itself, rather than the scorecards, a draw is perfectly within the realm of reason as we’ve got the two best middleweights on the planet going to to toe for several title belts. The betting odds resembled the closeness of the matchup and it’s conceivable that Canelo earned a draw by winning two or three of the close swing rounds.
1. Adalaide Byrd Should Never Judge Another Boxing Match
Judge Adalaide Byrd has been taking an enormous amount of heat for her scorecard of 118-110 for Canelo and rightly so. It was one of the most ridiculous judging jobs of the last 50 years, but not her first inexplicable scorecard. Now if she had handed in a sensible card of something like 115-113 for Canelo, there wouldn’t have been as big of an outrage over the draw. Even Canelo’s promoter Oscar De la Hoya thought the score was way off mark, but he’s obviously in a position to state that since his fighter was the beneficiary of her ineptitude. Byrd gave the fourth and seventh rounds to Golovkin and that was it. But no matter how many times you watch the fight and bias your opinion towards Canelo in the close rounds, there’s no way you can justify giving Triple G only two rounds. However, Don Trella also has a lot to answer for as he gave the seventh round to Canelo, when it was clearly dominated by the champion.