Inept judging spoiled an instant classic

Justin Faux Columnist

By , Justin Faux is a Roar Expert

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    When the dust had settled after Sunday’s fight of the year contender in Sin City, Gennady Golovkin was confident that his perfect record would remain intact, and so were most of the 22,358 fans who filled the T-Mobile Arena.

    His trainer, Abel Sanchez, hoisted the baby-faced assassin in the air after the final bell as he raised his hand in victory. His elation would be short-lived, though.

    Veteran ring announcer Michael Buffer delivered the crushing news moments later, declaring the bout a split draw. Judge Dave Moretti scored the bout 115-113 Golovkin, Adalaide Byrd handed in a ballot for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez with a score of 118-110, and Don Trella had it a 114-114 draw. My personal scorecard mirrored Moretti’s 115-113 for ‘Triple G’.

    The joy in the arena evaporated, quickly turning to anger after the decision was read. Even the pro-Canelo crowd, many of whom came dressed head-to-toe in red, white, and green and wearing sombreros, booed the Mexican star’s victory.

    In the end, the fight for middleweight supremacy displayed everything I love and hate about boxing and wrapped it up in a neat little bow.

    It was a dramatic, action-packed soap opera with fists which was spoiled by a controversial decision that has again sparked the debate over the sport and corruption.

    “Follow the money,” Hall of Fame trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas said on ESPN following the fight. “Boxing doesn’t honour the things it should honour. It honours money, control, power. And there’s only certain power brokers in boxing, certain promoters, and they have the power.

    “They have control who the judges are going to be, who the judges aren’t going to be, who they’re going to vote for. Las Vegas, where the money is going to come back there for the rematch.”

    Atlas went on a similar rant in July after Aussie school teacher turned pro face-puncher Jeff Horn scored a questionable win over Manny Pacquiao, and chances are he will be screaming about bogus judges again before long.

    The truth is, Atlas, a boxing lifer who has been a trainer in the sport since he began as an assistant to Cus D’Amato while grooming teenage prodigy Mike Tyson in the early 80s, has a right to be infuriated.

    Byrd, the judge who inexplicably scored ten of 12 rounds for Canelo, had an awful night. And this isn’t even her first scoring controversy that involves Alvarez. Byrd was the lone judge to have Canelo ahead on the cards before he knocked Amir Khan out last year – an opinion shared by almost nobody in the boxing community.

    Byrd has been stinking up the place from her judge’s seat for over a decade now, turning in more bad cards than good ones between her boxing and mixed martial arts assignments in Vegas.

    Gennady Golovkin Boxing 2017

    (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    UFC fans will recall the 2010 bout between Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan that was named ‘Robbery of The Year’. Byrd was one of the judges who awarded the fight to Garcia, even though most agreed Phan won every single round.

    The Nevada-based official has developed such a poor reputation that Top Rank made a formal request to remove her from the judging pool for the Vasyl Lomachnko-Nick Walters bout last November.

    “We respectfully requested that Adalaide Byrd not be assigned to this fight,” Top Rank VP of Boxing Operations, Carl Moretti, told BoxingScene.

    “From there it went on to a conversation (with NSAC executive director Bob Bennett) about how she is a good judge. Some judges can have good nights and can have bad nights. But when she has bad nights, she seems to be too far away from the score. Bob defended her left and right. He didn’t wanna listen to our objection.”

    Bennett was singing a different tune after yesterday’s stinker, unable or unwilling to defend Byrd’s atrocious scorecard.

    “Unfortunately, she didn’t do well,” Bennett told the press. “There’s not one person sitting in this audience, whatever their position is, who hasn’t had a bad night at their job. She was off her mark tonight.”

    That’s an understatement. Plain and simply, after handing in that incredibly lopsided ballot, Byrd is either inept or something far worse.

    Take your pick.

    Justin Faux
    Justin Faux

    Justin Faux is a seasoned combat sports scribe. Covering mixed martial arts and boxing since 2007, Justin has been published on NineMSN Australia, Fox Sports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and dozens of other outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @justinfauxmma.

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