Canelo and GGG Battle to Contentious Split Draw

Posted: September 17, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Fight Reports
Tags: , , , ,

 

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LAS VEGAS — Leave it to one judge to screw up a great fight. Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin battled tooth and nail over 12 rounds in a highly competitive fight that was mired by judge Adalaide Byrd’s wide 118-110 scorecard for Canelo, creating a split draw decision.

In an eerie replay of the early rounds of Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard 30 years ago, Golovkin was gunshy in the early round. This allowed Canelo to get off first at ring center with flashy combinations and jump out to a 3-0 lead on all scorecards.

From there, Golovkin became the stalking predator that’s made him famous.

Golovking upped the pressure and forced Canelo to the ropes with his jab. Canelo was visibly uncomfortable trying to maintain movement as Golovkin repeatedly cornered him and worked right hands around the guard. While Canelo did manage to occasionally back up Golovkin with hard counter shots, it was the middleweight champion’s pressure, jabs and right hands that consistently dominated the action through the ninth.

Sensing he was in a hole, Canelo dug deep in the championship rounds. Despite being fatigued, he exploded strategically with clusters of eye-catching power shots before retreating under Golovkin’s relentless pressure. This tactic proved to be a lifesaver as Canelo out-landed Golovkin in power shots over the last three rounds and swept them on the judges’ cards.

The close fight was correctly reflected in the scores of Dave Moretti (115-113) and Don Trella (114-114). But Byrd’s egregious 118-110 card made for the split draw. The crowd lustily booed the verdict and Canelo, who declared he won at least eight rounds. Golovkin chastised Canelo for “running” and affirmed his willingness for an immediate rematch.

The result marks a sour end to a superfight that was 18 months in the making and marketed as the antithesis of the “Mayweather-Gregor circus.”

****

Well, at least the people who bet on a draw get to clean up at the sportsbook. I’ll write more about this tomorrow, but let me close your evening with a few points.

  1. Adalaide Byrd should never judge another fight. She gave GGG two rounds.
  2. This verdict sullies Canelo’s reputation and paints him as a protected fighter. We’ve seen too much scoring favoritism in his high-level fights against Trout, Mayweather, Lara,  and now Golovkin. Getting booed out the building on Mexican Independence Day weekend says it all.
  3. I had GGG winning 115-113, but his stamina is becoming a concern at 35 years old. He never stopped the pressure after round three, but his punch output dropped heavily in the championship rounds, giving Canelo the wiggle room to escape with the 114-114 score.
  4. If you’re wondering why GGG looked so happy about arguably being robbed, keep in mind he’s thinking about another career-high payday in the rematch.

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Photo Credit: Hogan’s Photos

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz received a solid test but ultimately prevailed over last-minute replacement Rafael Rivera in the co-feature of the Canelo-Golovkin pay-per-view card.

The southpaw Diaz was the stalker and able to feint Rivera into straight lefts at mid-range. His offense became to wear down Rivera in the fourth, where Diaz stunned him with a right hook upstairs. But Rivera, undefeated himself, showed good power with his right hands that kept Diaz from overwhelming him.

Ultimately, Rivera’s lack of a consistent jab put him at a severe disadvantage. His offense came from dangerous lunges and waiting on Diaz for countering opportunities. Because of Diaz’s superior technical skill, those opportunities were minimal. The ninth round was particularly brutal as Diaz unleashed 35 power shots (many being uppercuts and hooks inside).

Final scorecards were 119-109 twice and 120-108. The win was a title eliminator for Gary Russell Jr.’s WBC featherweight title.

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Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

In what became a grudge match after a contentious weigh-in, Diego De La Hoya bruised up and outclassed a game Randy Caballero on the Canelo-GGG undercard.

Even with a 10-pound weight advantage, De La Hoya was the faster man. He peppered Caballero with quick inside combinations off the backfoot. By the third, Caballero was already sporting an angry mouse under his left eye. When Caballero tried to apply pressure in the fifth, De La Hoya hurt and drove him into the ropes with uppercuts to the body and left hooks upstairs.

Caballero threw up his hands in frustration at the end of the sixth, signaling he was out of answers. De La Hoya’s heavier hands carried the later rounds despite Caballero continuing to come forward.  Caballero was briefly wobbled in the eighth by a left hook to the body and staggered several times in the ninth from repeated right hands.

Final scorecards read 100-90 and 98-92 twice. Caballero suffers his first defeat (24-1) and a major setback after only his third fight in the last 19 months. De La Hoya improves to 20-0.

 

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Photo Credit: Hogan Photos

Ryan Martin escaped with a too close for comfort split decision win over a determined Francisco Rojo.

The taller Martin had difficulty controlling distance and dealing with Rojo’s pressure. When inside, it was Rojos who had the more consistent workrate. Martin never seemed comfortable and had little rhythm to his offense. The ninth round also saw Martin docked a point for repeated low blows.

Scores for Martin were 91-98, 96-93 and 95-94. He improves to 20-0 (11 KOs). Rojo falls to 20-3.

 

 

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BeatsBoxingMayhem is providing a live stream for the untelevised undercard of tonight’s superfight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. The stream will show the following bouts.

Marlen Esparza (2-0) vs. Aracely Palacios, flyweights

Nicola Adams (2-0) vs. Alexandra Vlajk (11-6), super flyweight

Vergil Ortiz (6-0) vs. Cesar Valenzuela (7-1), super lightweight

Serhii Bohachuk (4-0) vs. TBA

 

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Fans in the United States and Canada can now watch the full Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 2 KOs) vs. Willie Monroe (21-2, 6 KOs) WBO middleweight title matchup via an exclusive stream from Banner Promotions. The link goes live at 5:30 p.m. with the fight beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.

 

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We’re just one day away from the biggest matchup of the year in Canelo Alvarez challenging Gennady Golovkin for the middleweight title. The men have their last preliminary face-off today at 3 p.m. ET at the official weigh-in. BeatsBoxingMayhem is streaming the entire event which includes the undercard.

The fight takes place tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET on HBO pay-per-view.