By Richard Ray:
I try not to engage in any public activity in an emotional state. That includes when writing about anything personal, political or sports. So I had to take a timeout after witnessing yet another horrendous decision in a boxing match. As entertaining as it may have been, I just cannot do the emotional tantrums like the the one boxing commentator Teddy Atlas unleashed with Stephen A. Smith immediately after the bout.
Sports are supposed to be about playing games, but for a myriad of reasons, sports have taken on serious if not epic portions in the lives of many. If you are one of the disinterested then I am speaking a foreign language, but to most others, even casual observers, sports from personal interaction to rooting for the home teams has become a multi billion dollar industry. Case in point the $500-$600 million dollars generated in just one night by the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather boxing match is just one example of how consuming sports is to most from an observant, participant and financial standpoint.
The Mayweather vs. McGregor fight caught the interest of even the most casual boxing and sport fan. The pre-fight hype made it a must see event despite being widely condemned as an anti-climatic athletic competition. The antithesis, though comparatively much less hyped event was the fight between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Two fighters both in their prime and at the top of their profession with exciting fighting styles promised to be everything Mayweather-McGregor was not. The Canelo-GGG fight actually lived up to much of its relative hype. It lacked a dramatic knockout, but the twelve round bout included each fighter acquitting himself rather well for our spectating benefit.
I like both fighters. I did not come into the bout with any obvious bias, though I thought GGG’s power would eventually neutralize Canelo. The fight was close. Boxing is inherently a subjective sport. You can watch any fight in a crowded room and are likely to come up with widely differing views on an outcome. I expect this from fans, even experienced ones. However the 118-1110 decision by judge Adelaide Byrd, in favor of Canelo was so horrendously erroneous that it once again brought into question corruption within the sport.
The fight was close. Canelo may have one the first three rounds, and in my opinion the last two. However, most observers thought that Gennady “GGG” Golovkin decisively controlled the middle of the fight, easily winning 7-8 of the middle rounds of the 12 round fight. A close decision in favor of GGG was expected, but when Judge Byrd’s 118-110 decision was first read in favor of Canelo, it seemed apparent a fix was in.
That is a strong accusation that will likely never be proved, but minimally Adelaide Byrd should never be allowed to officiate another boxing match again, If she was not paid on Canelo’s behalf she was either so biased or incompetent to never be trusted with a scorecard again. The others two judges scored the bout 115-113 (GGG) and 114-114 leaving the fight as a unsatisfying tie. Draws do legitimately occur within boxing, though most probably did not believe that this fight fell within such a category.
Of course a draw most likely means a second and even possible third fight between the two. Though the fight was no where near the windfall of Mayweather-McGregor, with Mayweather’s likely final retirement from the sport, Canelo and GGG are the biggest show in the sport and the controversial decision points to nothing but money and talk of corruption.
I enjoy the purity of the sport. When un-infected, there is not much like watching two skilled combatants face off in the ring. Unfortunately with boxing, if a knockout is not involved, big money fights come with more uncertainty and questions as to outcomes than any other sport and that does not necessarily bode well for boxing’s future.
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