One of the biggest fights in boxing history has just concluded, and fans are livid with the result.
Multiple belt holder Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and lineal middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez laced up their boxing gloves and traded leather for 12 grueling rounds on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a fight for the ages.
After a tough contest, the three official judges sitting ringside with the best view of the fight, in the end, could not come to a consensus decision. Adalaide Byrd scored it 118-110 for Canelo, Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for GGG, while the third judge, Don Trella gave it a 114-114, effectively producing the split draw.
It was certainly a close fight. Canelo and GGG seem to be a match made in boxing heaven as both fighters’ styles play perfectly into each other. But as is the case in boxing, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the result.
Many Canelo fans feel their man won, while perhaps even more people believe GGG was robbed of victory. Pretty much everyone seems to be in agreement though that judge Byrd’s 118-110 scorecard was farcical.
So why did the Canelo-GGG fight result in a split draw? To find the answer, we have to dig a little deeper into what just transpired over 36 minutes of solid action.
Today, Evolve Daily shares a few surprising takeaways from one of the most significant boxing matches in recent memory.
1) A lot of the rounds were extremely close
As with all controversial endings in boxing, this result was brought about by having many extremely close rounds. From all accounts, both Canelo and GGG had a great training camp and came into this bout prepared for a 12-round war. Neither expected the other to wilt, and both guys were in each other’s faces all night.
Yes, Adalaide Byrd turned in a travesty of a scorecard, but a lot of the rounds were very evenly matched, and it isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility that Byrd favored Canelo’s counterpunching style to GGG’s outward aggression.
Canelo started out very strong in the early rounds, but after the third and fourth, GGG started to cut the ring off and pin Canelo against the ropes. GGG then went on to dominate most of the middle of the bout until Canelo came alive in the last three rounds and gave him a fight.
It was the kind of fight that was so close that it could have gone either way. The draw per se wasn’t as surprising as was the 118-110 scorecard.
2) This is boxing
At the end of #CaneloGGG, both fighters raised their hands. Watch the replay of the best fight in boxing next Saturday, Sept. 23 at 10 PM ET/PT on HBO.
Posted by HBO Boxing on Saturday, September 16, 2017
Everyone hopes for some sort of spectacular knockout to end a competitive bout, but the reality is that boxing matches often go to a decision and that is why there are three judges sitting at ringside to determine the winner.
While the average joe simply has his opinion on who won the fight as a whole, the judging aspect is much more complicated.
Professional boxing is judged based on the 10-point must system where the winner of each round is given 10 points while the loser receives 9 points. A boxer is deducted a point for every knockdown he incurs. If both fighters are knocked down, the knockdowns cancel each other out. While uncommon, if one fighter completely dominates a round, he can still score a 10-8 without knocking down his opponent. Conversely, if a round is too close to call, it can be scored an even 10-10. At the end of the match, the scores are tallied, and that’s how we get the result.
Since there were no knockdowns in this fight, we could already tell before it ended that the scores were going to be very close.
Furthermore, boxing matches are judged on specific criteria, namely: effective aggression, ring generalship, defense, and clean punching.
At multiple junctures in the bout, Canelo would retreat to the ropes as GGG cut off the ring with his effective aggression and ring generalship. Canelo showed great defense in avoiding a lot of GGG’s biggest power shots and showcased much cleaner punching. That being said, the fight was close no doubt, and it will be talked about and debated for a long time.
3) Both fans and experts are split in opinion
Another telltale sign that this fight was rightfully close is the fact that both experts and fans are split in opinion. Some observers favored Canelo’s counterpunching and movement, while others preferred GGG’s relentless and consistent attack.
CompuBox punch statistics indicate that both Canelo and GGG landed with precision and power, exhibiting nearly identical numbers in punches thrown and landed.
According to official CompuBox numbers, GGG turned out to be the busier fighter, out-landing Canelo in 10 out of 12 rounds. Canelo, conversely, was the stronger puncher, landing 42% of his power shots compared to GGG’s 32%. On average, GGG has landed around 40% and over of his power shots in previous bouts, which speaks volumes about how elusive Canelo was in this fight.
While CompuBox statistics are never to be used to determine the winner of a boxing match, it does paint a picture. If anything, the numbers simply reiterate what we already know — that this was an extremely close fight.
4) Boxing styles play perfectly into each other
Boxing’s best fight has arrived. #CaneloGGG
Posted by HBO Boxing on Saturday, September 16, 2017
Canelo fought the way he had to in order to survive GGG’s power. If you have watched Canelo’s previous fights closely, he rarely is on the back foot and is usually the forward-moving fighter. That wasn’t the case in this fight against GGG, which lends credence to GGG’s unreal power.
Moving well on his feet, Canelo danced around and utilized the full-length of the ring to stifle GGG with his movement. GGG, an expert at cutting off the ring however, would often trap Canelo on the ropes where he would begin to tee off.
While it was definitely entertaining, Canelo and GGG fought an extremely tactical fight. Long and intense training camps have allowed them to perform at this level. Hours spent in the gym, combined with a weight and conditioning program, getting ready for the biggest fight of their careers, and days spent away from family certainly did not go to waste.
In the end, they gave fans what they wanted to see, and now fans want more. That fight was incredibly fun to watch, and virtually everybody expects to see these two to tango once more.
5) The rematch promises to be even better
A fight that was years in the making exceeded all expectations. #CaneloGGG
Posted by HBO Boxing on Sunday, September 17, 2017
How can you top the success of a big bout? Produce a controversial decision in a close contest, providing the backdrop for an epic rematch. Both Canelo and GGG will go back to the boxing gym and reevaluate their strategies. Fans can surely expect an even bigger spectacle in the second go around.
Over the course of boxing history, rematches have always been a very big thing. Leonard vs Hearns, Marquez vs Vasquez, Morales vs Barrera, Gatti vs Ward, Ali vs Frazier — these are some prime examples of terrific match-ups that had rematches. Canelo-GGG II promises to be even better than the first.
Now that Canelo and GGG have both gotten a better feel for this match-up’s intricate details, having spent 36 brutal minutes getting to know each other, expect both guys to give much different looks should they lock horns once again in the near future.
Public opinion, reflective of the official score, will be split. The only way to truly settle matters is inside the ring and that is why a rematch between these two is the next biggest fight to be made in boxing.
So who do you think won this fight? Would you like to see these two face off again in a rematch?