Thursday, April 25, 2013

Alvarez' Victory Marred by Questionable Scoring

By Warren Rodriguez

It’s extremely rare in today’s age of boxing for two undefeated champions to meet in the ring and put everything on the line, but that’s exactly what happened Saturday night in San Antonio.

A packed house of more than 38,000 people crowded into the Alamodome to see Saul “Canelo” Alvarez take on Austin “No Doubt” Trout in a unification bout of the WBA/WBC Super Welterweight championships. The fight was more than just about belts however, it was personal.

Two years ago, Trout beat Alvarez’s brother Rigoberto to win the WBA Super Welterweight title. Saturday, Canelo looked to avenge his brother’s loss and bring the belt back to the family.

“You could say this revenge is about blood," Canelo said. "When we’re finally fighting, I’ll enjoy every moment of it."

Trout is no stranger to tough opponents and vociferous crowds immensely against him, as was the case at the Alamodome in a heavily pro-Canelo crowd. Trout was coming off the biggest win of his career, beating Miguel Cotto in December at Madison Square Garden in front of a sizeable Puerto Rican crowd largely backing Cotto.

Trout was going to have to put on an even more superb performance in front of even larger Canelo crowd, which included such celebrities as hometown hero Tony Parker and recently retired two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis.

Trout committed to the jab early (throwing 34 jabs in the first round), attempting to take full advantage of his height and reach. Canelo kept the pressure on Trout by slipping his jabs and landing more power punches. The first half of the fight would continue much the same way with Trout dictating the pace and Canelo landing the flashier, more crowd pleasing shots.

Early in the 7th Canelo would catch Trout with a straight right, sending him to the canvas. After getting up from the knockdown, Trout’s legs seemed shaky and Canelo seemed poised to end the fight. Trout, however, was able to pick up where he left off and continue what looked to be a close fight.

At the end of twelve rounds, many thought they just saw a razor tight fight. The judges didn’t see it that way.

One judge actually had the fight a shutout for Alvarez after eight rounds and only scored two of the twelve rounds for Trout. The judges lopsided scoring took away from what should have been a great night for Alvarez, Golden Boy Promotions, and Showtime. Instead of raving about how great of a fight was put on, everyone was talking about Oscar De La Hoya paying off judges to keep his biggest star shining, and potentially set up a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather.

Questionable judging has been a black eye for boxing for many years, but if Showtime really wants this partnership with Golden Boy to work, and generate them the kind of revenue they’re hoping to take over HBO as the #1 cable subscriber, they are going to have to mitigate this bad press and ensure viewers they are only putting on the highest quality of boxing.

It will be interesting to see which network puts on a better show this weekend, as both are showcasing boxing. Now, both companies are taking the gloves off as they each try to knock the other out.