He may have just one professional boxing match under his belt, but UFC lightweight champion and budding pugilist Conor McGregor definitely had every right to highlight the madness that currently envelopes the judging in professional boxing.
McGregor himself found himself on the end of a number of strange calls in his professional boxing debut against Floyd “Money” Mayweather, where he was not awarded the opening rounds on the judge’s scorecards despite having outworked his opponent significantly in terms of output.
The controversy on Sunday night, however, at the end of Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s bout with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is on another level completely. Judge Adalaide Byrd sparked fury from fans and pundits alike, including veteran Teddy Atlas and Stephen A. Smith from ESPN when she scored the bout 118-110 for Alvarez, whereas her colleagues scored the bout 115-113 for Golovkin and 114-114 for a split decision. The five rounds that both judges Moretti and Trella scored for the Kazakh pugilist were awarded by Byrd to Alvarez.
Golovkin was rightly angered by the scorecard, considering he landed 218 punches on Alvarez, who in turn landed just 169 on Golovkin. “This is not good for the sport of boxing,” he said following the bout, and he certainly seems to be correct. With such a fantastic fight on display and a fairly clear-cut victory for Golovkin seemingly being the correct decision, it stands to reason that the ensuing controversy could drive new fans of boxing away from the sport, and further anger remaining fans.
— Jimmie Rivera (@JimmieRivera135) September 17, 2017
Byrd has since been told she will be taking a short break from judging major fights, with the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Bob Bennett, saying ““I’m not going to put her right back in.
Both fighters can hold their heads high tonight but this fight wasn't close to a draw! #canelovsggg
— Lennox Lewis (@LennoxLewis) September 17, 2017
“She’ll still be in the business, but she needs to catch her breath.”
— Gareth A Davies (@GarethADaviesDT) September 17, 2017
Byrd has judged 442 boxing fights in her career as a judge and is well known for some controversial decisions, including scoring a win for Bernard Hopkins against Joe Calzaghe despite most fans and pundits believing Calzaghe had taken home the win. Top Rank executives also requested back in 2016 that she not be involved in the judging for the bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters.
As McGregor puts it in his reaction, “boxing is a mad game”, and with so many insane decisions flying around it makes sense that fans and experts are astounded by the outcome of the bout between “GGG” and “Canelo”. Given that the two men are considered two of the greatest boxers of the modern era, they deserve more than the farcical judging viewers witnessed on Sunday night.
Boxing is a mad game. pic.twitter.com/Nyzywv8H7O
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 17, 2017
— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) September 17, 2017
Also, that wasn't a draw. At all. GGG
— Will Cain (@willcain) September 17, 2017
— Dan Fleyshman (@DanFleyshman) September 17, 2017