Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thoughts on GGG-Canelo

Excellent fight on Saturday night between two of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, WBC, WBA and IBF Middleweight Champion Gennady "GGG" Golovkin and former WBC Middleweight Champ Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.  The general consensus seems to be that GGG should have gotten the decision.  However, the back and forth nature of many of the rounds made it difficult to score and the draw verdict was not a completely unjust one.  I scored the fight 115-113 (7-5 in rounds) for GGG.  One of the official judges Adalaide Byrd scored it 118-110 for Canelo.  Her card seems to be an outlier as most folks in press row seemed to have it 115-113 or 116-112 for GGG, with a few scoring it 115-113 for Canelo.

Below is a breakdown of the scoring totals of the official judges scorecards, as well as my own:

A few observations on what went down:
  • As mentioned above, judge Adalaide Byrd had a card that was an outlier from not only her two fellow judges but most of the viewing public and even the fighter she scored it for (in the post-fight interview, Canelo stated that he won 7 or 8 rounds - Byrd gave him 10).  She definitely has some history as an outlier who scores fights wider than or contrary to her fellow judges. As recently as June of this year, she scored the Eddie Ramirez - Erick Bone fight 7-3 for Bone, as the other judges had it 7-3 Ramirez prompting the commentators to ask "What was Adalaide Byrd looking at?"  She had Errol Spence up 7-3 vs. Kell Brook in a fight most had close to even in rounds going into the 11th and final round. In December 2016, she had Richard Commey beating Denis Shafikov 8-4 in an IBF eliminator but was overruled by her two fellow judges. Also in 2016, in what was a real head scratcher, she somehow had Maurice Hooker beating Darlys Perez 7-3 in a fight most everyone in press row and at home had Perez winning handily. In other words, this is not the first time she's scored a fight way out of line with the majority. Top Rank, apparently, objected to her as a judge for the Vasyl Lomachenko-Nicholas Walters, though the NSAC still allowed her to judge the fight. I'm pretty sure K2/GGG Promotions wish they had objected as well in hindsight.
  • GGG looked really tight in the early going and, despite the exhortations of Abel Sanchez, completely ignored Canelo's body for nearly the entire fight. According to an ESPN statistical breakdown of the fight, GGG only landed 8 body shots for the entire fight. That is not a misprint. He also connected on only 31% of his total punches, way down from his norm of 40%. His headhunting cost him accuracy and did not slow Canelo and allowed him to get that second wind and come on down the stretch. I'm sure Abel will chide him during film study for the rematch that to slow down Canelo - he needs to pay more attention to landing those lethal body shots. Ask Matthew Macklin what a difference maker GGG's body shots are.
  • Canelo surprised me with how superior his hand speed was to GGG's. He was able to beat GGG to the punch time and again and looked like he could have stood in and traded a little more. Canelo made a huge tactical error in my estimation by constantly going idle and letting GGG get off for sometimes minutes at a time in rounds. Canelo often started rounds by landing crisp clean combinations on GGG but then would practically give the rest of the round away. Obviously, a big part of that was stamina but also poor tactics. This was a very winnable fight for Canelo. He needs to study the tapes of Hagler-Leonard or Ali-Frazier II to learn how to get his shots off and then tie up to get his rest - as opposed to aimlessly dancing and settling on the ropes. By clinching, instead of falling into the ropes, Canelo could have muted GGG's rallies and caught a breather in order to mount his next quick-handed volley. We'll see if he makes this adjustment in the inevitable rematch. 

1 comment:

Great Show At The Hammerstein Tomorrow