Mancuso: After Last NIght Boxing Needs That Reform

Las Vegas:  More than one follower on social media last night with the insults claimed to tell this columnist to stick with baseball and the knowledge was like a novice who did not know how to lace up a glove.  Obvious, as with many watching on pay-per-view or watching at ringside, there were many different points of view regarding the outcome of that controversial draw between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.

Have we not seen this time-and-time again, and more so this year with decisions coming from ringside?  Saturday night in Las Vegas this was a recurring theme in the sport, a fight that went the distance and to the scorecards and of course the result was controversy.

Manny Pacquiao- Jeff Horn, just a few months ago in Australia and the judges gave the unheralded Horn a bogus decision and championship.

And so many more over the years, and in this age of social media the world is never pleased when a highly anticipated and contested fight goes to the three judges at ringside. Or should they be called, “Three Blind Mice” as the late boxing historian and author Bert Sugar always said about putting the scorecards in hands of the judges.

Golovkin -Alvarez, once again was an example of incompetence of those three judges at ringside, and the promoters who play a role in who gets those scorecards. Once again the sport of boxing that appeared to be on a comeback this year is surrounded by controversy and that is not good.

Because corruption is on the mind of those with minimal knowledge of the sport, and with a decision that went to a draw, the sport is in the spotlight and nothing positive is being said, And for a longtime boxing observer, yours truly in that category, it simply is not fair.  

It come down to the “Three Blind Mice” at ringside and many who get that lucrative and lifetime opportunity to score a championship fight.  To some of the promoters and to the sanctioning bodies that run the sport- WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO- among the alphabet soup, three judges at ringside were qualified and acceptable to decide the outcome.

Perhaps a stoppage would prevent the scorecards going to three civilians and everyone goes home without citing corruption or inept judging. But boxing is subjective when it comes to the decision and scoring a fight at ringside is more difficult than an official scorer up in the press box who determines a hit from an error, and at times that is sometimes questioned.

The difference, baseball as with all mainstream sports is organized with a commissioner that oversees the right from wrong, and the game of baseball employs official scorers that have knowledge of the game covering the sport up in the press box.

So this fight that was talked about for a few years  and went to the scorecards. A split decision that did not see a knockdown from two premiere fighters that know something about stopping an opponent because they punch hard and can take one also.   

But many a boxing judge who never laced up a glove, threw, or took a punch got that opportunity to be in the spotlight.   The lone punch they took was handing in a bogus scorecard and that was seen again Saturday night. In  boxing this has become the annual debacle that never ends.

A split decision? Yes, you can live with that as you woke up Sunday morning. A draw, that is questioned and that one scorecard, 118-110 for Canelo Alvarez, that can’t be accepted from Adelaide Byrd, a ringside judge who has been a subject of question in previous fights of this magnitude.

You can’t score 118-110 for Canelo Alvarez, honestly it can’t be possible when the fighter known as GGG landed more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds, and in boxing we have learned that statistics should indicate the outcome.

However this is boxing, the subjective part that goes to the scorecards and there will be more of this as we move on with competitive fights in the weeks and months ahead. But to a boxing novice, you have to understand, this is not corruption but in the hands of “Three Blind Mice.”

Once the third man in the ring, the referee, was involved in the scoring. That was eliminated for safety of the fighter as the sport was more conscious of injuries to the brain. Regardless, a referee involved in the scoring would not make a difference in a decision and focus on what goes on in the ring is more important.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission is standing by their judge and said her card was a little wide and similar to policies in New York, their judges undergo extensive seminars and training. The various commission and promoters involved with promoting fights usually are on the same page.

But this was clearly bogus, and calls about corruption will be heard.  So how to end all of this ,so three judges at ringside are on the same page? Well they never will be unified with scoring, but it is is obvious that Byrd was not looking at the same fight we did and gave Alvarez the last five rounds on her scorecard.

Boxing needs reform, that is for sure. For years this columnist has been advocating for a national boxing commission with others. We were almost there and never got there for numerous reasons of politics, and the promoters who will only answer to the respective athletic commission or control boards.

Yes, this is a subjective sport and always will be. But for the good of boxing, a national commission or other reform is needed. If not, it will be the same old thing in a year that has seen more than one controversial ending.

Oh, we get to see this fight again. And if that qualifies as corruption to assure we will see GGG and Canelo again, let it be.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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