Bad judging still a problem boxing can't afford

From ESPN - September 17, 2017

LAS VEGAS -- We were supposed to get a winner and a loser Saturday night.

That's the way big-time sports are supposed to work. There's a coldhearted beauty in that steel scoreboard sitting at the end of the field or hanging above the court or the ice. It does not have any feelings or emotions or biases or visual impairments. You get exactly what you deserve at the end of the day.

But boxing, as we sadly found out again on Saturday, does not work that way.

Following a classic 12-round battle between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin that most observers thought Golovkin won, the fight was ruled a draw thanks to one of the worst scorecards in the history of a sport littered with them.

Judge Dave Moretti was the only judge who scored the fight in favor of Golovkin, 115-113, while judge Don Trella scored it a draw, 114-114. Both of those scorecards were within reason for most people watching the fight.

But the major question coming out of Saturday's fight was, what in the world was judge Adalaide Byrd watching as she sat ringside for the fight? One can only think she was watching something else when she turned in a mind-boggling 118-110 decision in favor of Canelo.

Byrd's scorecard was beyond egregious. It was damaging to a sport that could not afford to suffer another black eye on one of its biggest stages.

Golovkin landed more punches overall (703-505), basically doubled up the number of jabs landed (108-55) and landed more punches in 10 of the 12 rounds -- but Byrd somehow gave Golovkin only two rounds (Round 4 and Round 7).

There have been some abhorrent scorecards in the history of boxing, but the disparity of Byrd's puts it in the running as one of the worst ever. Judges and the general public can disagree on a round here or there, but Byrd simply must have been watching a different fight.

This is not the first time Byrd has turned in a controversial scorecard in boxing or mixed martial arts. She was the only judge who had Amir Khan ahead of Alvarez (48-47) last year. She was the only judge who had Nam Phan as the winner of the "Ultimate Fighter" finale against Leonard Garcia. She was the only judge who had Melvin Guillard as the winner in UFC 155 against Jamie Varner. And she was the only judge who had Bernard Hopkins as the winner against Joe Calzaghe (114-108) in 2008. Last year Top Rank actually protested the appointment of Byrd as a judge for Vasyl Lomachenko's boxing match against Nicholas Walters.

After her outrageous scorecard was read by ring announcer Michael Buffer after the fight, she became a trending topic on Twitter, which is perhaps the worst fate a judge can suffer.


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