The summer of 2017 featured three of most intriguing and anticipated combat sports matchups of the past five years, if we’re being honest.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor wasn’t the greatest fight ever, but it was absolutely entertaining. Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 was, of course, derailed by another controversy. But the bigger travesty was the result of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight.
Not sure how much you remember about the score cards, but one judge had it 115-113 Triple-G, another had it as a 114-114 draw, and a third judge inexplicably went 118-110 in favor of Alvarez.
That’s Adalaide Byrd, whose card was universally destroyed by pretty much everybody. She wasn’t suspended, but essentially sidelined for a bit by the Nevada State Athletic Commission before returning to judge UFC 222.
If you recall anything about the fight itself, GGG was the aggressor and Canelo spent a lot of time defending. It was a classic case of volume vs. efficiency, with Golovkin outlanding Canelo 218 to 169 and landing more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds.
These are the compubox numbers for the first fight:
Alvarez connected on a slightly higher percentage of his punches and landed four more power shots despite throwing almost 75 fewer. Golovkin threw more punches in total and jabbed at a higher efficiency. Again, you’re trying to compare volume to power and damage here, which fans of boxing and MMA will dispute until the end of time.
GGG did eat a couple of hard shots from Canelo and didn’t seem very fazed. I’m specifically thinking of that ridiculous right that Alvarez landed and GGG smiled off, like he was the Terminator or something:
Canelo Alvarez has put so many fighters to sleep with his powerful overhand right 💪🔥
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) September 9, 2018
I just feel like Golovkin established his own terms and stayed on the front foot. He had Canelo pinned against the ropes and let him off easy a few times I think, especially in the 5th round when he connected with that overhand right, and also in the 9th round when he looked to have Canelo struggling a bit. I’m not sure if he was being conservative because he was wary of Alvarez in the counter department, which is Canelo’s bread and butter. He’s an excellent counter-puncher and capable of throwing extremely hard stuff from defensive positions. Both guys showed a hell of a chin and shrugged off some shots that would have knocked me into Port Richmond.
You do wonder if GGG’s reputation hurt him a bit in this fight, as if people were expecting more. The knock against him was that he hadn’t proven himself against the best competition to earn the praise he was getting as perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Maybe landing more of those power shots or doing more against Canelo while having him pinned back would have erased some of the doubts about the end result, but who knows. GGG hit a lot of softer jabs and I don’t know if people correctly weighed some of the body shots Canelo landed. I think both guys took some damage, and Canelo seemed a bit gassed, which may have made him look worse for wear than he really was, at least before he unleashed in round 12, probably because he knew he needed a knockout to win the fight. But a large chunk of the middle of the bout, rounds four through nine, GGG seemed like he was in the zone and moving freely and fighting his fight while Canelo was backing up.
115-113 Triple-G seemed like the most reasonable outcome to me. When you go back and watch the fight again, there are some rounds that are just really hard to score, so I don’t envy the judges one bit. Still, there was no excuse for Byrd to score that fight 118-110 for Canelo and give GGG only two rounds. That was highway robbery.
Anyway, the draw moved Golovkin to 37-0-1 and Canelo to 49-1-2, with his only loss coming to Floyd Mayweather Jr. I guess the positive thing is that we get to watch these guys do it again.
If you’re a casual or a non-boxing fan, catch this one if you can, because the first fight was phenomenal, high level stuff: