Boxing is a sport that often relies on subjective judging to establish the winner of a bout. As such, fans are destined to be left debating over the true winner, much of the time. It’s an unavoidable outcome. The only way to avoid it would be to make every fight a “fight to the finish,” until a winner could only be recognized when the other fighter was either rendered unable or unwilling to continue. No sane athletic commission would ever sanction such blood baths.
Judging a boxing match is more difficult than many fans seem to think. And despite the fact that clear judging criteria exists, there is still a great deal of room for subjectivity. I’ve disagreed with the official verdict in many bouts without feeling that the fight was a robbery.
But sometimes the outcome strains credibility. The judges in question must be either corrupt or incompetent.
While I don’t believe that Canelo Alvarez has benefited from any outright robberies during his career, there’s no question that particular judges have turned in some outrageous scores in his favor. In all four of his biggest fights, the judges have given him scores that strained credulity.
I thought Alvarez clearly won against Miguel Cotto last November. But I thought Dave Moretti’s 119-109 and Burt A. Clement’s 118-110 were extremely generous in Canelo’s favor.
I thought Erislandy Lara deserved the victory against Alvarez in July 2014. But the fight was close and Lara gave away rounds at time via inactivity. I had Lara winning 115-113, as did judge Jerry Roth. Dave Moretti was 115-113 for Canelo, which was not an outrageous score. On the other hand, Levi Martinez scored it an absurd 117-111 for Alvarez, nine rounds to three.
That’s been a theme in Canelo fights–one scorecard that defies reality. I thought Alvarez deserved a victory over Austin Trout in a very close fight in April 2013. I had the bout six rounds each, with Canelo earning the victory by way of his Round 7 knockdown. Rey Danseco had it 115-112, or seven rounds to five. Completely reasonable. Oren Shellenberger had it eight rounds to four for Canelo.
But Stanley Christodoulou might as well have filled out his scorecard in his hotel room the night before. He gave Alvarez 10 of 12 rounds. It’s as if he didn’t even watch the action in the ring.
No single scorecard in Alvarez’s favor has been more ridiculous than C.J. Ross’ verdict when he fought Floyd Mayweather. Ross handed in what may have been the worst card of all time. She scored a fight that might easily have been a shutout for Mayweather dead even, 114-114.
The score was so bad, Ross was laughed out of the sport. At one point I read an interview where she said she was contemplating a move into MMA scoring, which she thought would be a natural move for her, due to the fact that she kept the riding time clock for wrestling meets in college. With poor judgement like that, it’s not exactly a shock that she had no ability to accurately score a prizefight.