Saturday night’s middleweight bout between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez was a good one. The two judges who didn’t shock and appall viewers with their scorecards had it as a close one—Dave Moretti had it as a narrow (115-113) Golovkin win, while Don Trella had it as a 114-114 draw. All three judges gave Canelo the last three rounds. All three judges also gave Canelo the first two rounds. Golovkin started slowly and didn’t really pick up his work rate until the third round, and Canelo closed strong. Everyone saw it the same way.
Judge Adalaide Byrd, whose ridiculous scorecard gave Canelo a dominant 118-110 win, also gave Canelo the third round, 10-9. That third round score isn’t particularly controversial, by last night’s standards: Compubox says Canelo landed more power shots in the third round (11 to eight) and landed overall at a much higher percentage (33 percent to 24 percent), although the differences in work rate had by then become pretty stark, with Golovkin throwing 63 punches in the third round, to Canelo’s 40.
So if you give the first three rounds and the last three rounds to Canelo, that leaves the middle six rounds, rounds that Moretti and Trella overwhelmingly gave to Golovkin:
In rounds four through nine, Golovkin out-landed Canelo 113-78. He outpunched Canelo 379-241. And he landed more power shots, 63-47. The two middle rounds that Byrd gave to Golovkin—the only two she gave him on the night—were the fourth and the seventh. In the fifth, sixth, eighth, and ninth rounds, Golovkin out-landed Canelo 79-53, with a 47-38 edge in power punches and a massive edge in overall punch output. Moretti, Trella, the HBO broadcasters, and Compubox were broadly in agreement, that Golovkin was solidly out-working Canelo through the middle rounds. Byrd was way out there on her own, reading signals in the wind. For eight consecutive rounds Golovkin was busier and more aggressive—for his hard work, Adalaide Byrd gave him two of those rounds.
Byrd’s card was weird enough that Bob Bennett, the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, spoke to the media at ringside immediately after the fight. From an ESPN report:
“Adalaide, in my estimation, is an outstanding judge,” Bennett said. “She’s done over 115 title fights and/or elimination bouts. She does a great deal of our training. Takes a lot of our judges under her wing. I think being a judge is a very challenging position.
“Unfortunately, Adalaide was a little wide. I’m not making any excuses. I think she’s an outstanding judge, and in any business, sometimes you have a bad day. She saw the fight differently. It happens.”
She saw the fight differently. That’s pretty generous. What fight was she even watching?