The cartels south of the border could not have committed a crueller robbery in the desert than that suffered by the greatest middleweight in the world on behalf of a Mexican hero.
The three judges conspired to give Canelo Alvarez a travesty of a draw against Gennady Golovkin.
This not only defied reason and justice but dishonoured a fight made as epic as we hoped by Golovkin’s magnificence and Canelo’s immense bravery under intense punishment.
Gennady Golovkin retained his IBF, WBA and WBC titles on Saturday night as his fight with Canelo Alvarez ended in a draw
The two boxers embraced each other after going through 12 rounds of boxing inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
Immediately after the fight finished the two boxers celebrated as though they had each done enough to win
Alvarez, backed by a large contingent of Mexican fans, held his national flag aloft before the result of the fight was announced
But it was Golovkin who was the happier of the two boxers when it was announced the fight had finished in a draw
It was always going to be a battle between two fighters who were at the top of their game and in peak physical condition
A home-town decision? This City has rarely been so Sinful. The verdict brought down on this infamous Strip was as outrageous in its particular way as any crime perpetrated during the Mafia years of Las Vegas.
A late, sudden halving of the betting odds on a draw from 30-1 to 15-1 can only give rise among the public to a suspicion of corruption.
Certainly Adalaide Byrd will come under fierce cross-examination for her scorecard of 118-110 for Alvarez. That is the near-mirror image of mine, for one, in favour of Golovkin.
At the very least this lady should be banned forever from officiating by the Nevada Athletic decision.
The 114-114 equality as seen by Don Trella was appalling, also. Even Dave Moretti’s 115-113 for Golovkin sold him woefully short of his mastery.
The scoring was so preposterous that even the huge Mexican majority in the T-Mobile Arena turned to thunderously booing their idol at the end.
Every time Alvarez tried to justify the outcome they shouted him down. Every time the microphone was put to Golovkin’s lips they cheered him to the deafening echo.
Mexicans know their boxing. A million times better than these wretched officials. They had seen Canelo battered from rope to post with only the occasional, albeit courageous response.
Golovkin’s two consolations are that he remains the champion, goes home with all his belts, and will make another fortune for the inevitable rematch.
‘Of course I want to do it again,’ he said. ‘It was a drama fight.’ Of course we will all want to see it again. Only with truly neutral judges.
The champion, following the fight’s result, said he would support the idea of a rematch with Mexico’s Alvarez
The hall was slow to fill. There were some exciting fights in the build up but only one mattered here on Mexico Independence weekend.
Canelo had said that he was fighting for his country and his people as well as himself, his family, his legacy – and his compatriots kept swelling into the vocal and musical majority in the 20,000 sell out arena.
The vivid colours of Mexico and the sounds of the mariachis filled the cooled air inside the building and the heat outside along this neon Strip in the Nevada desert.
There had been some discussion as to how much Alvarez might trim from his hedge of a beard before coming to the ring. Early pictures of him on the big screens showing his arrival in the building suggested not much.
His pseudonym Canelo – Spanish for cinnamon – derives from his unusual red hair for a Hispanic American. Given the downward spread of that foliage we could re-christen him Chinelo.
Golovkin calmly made his way to the ring as Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes played out at the T-Mobile Arena
The champion arrived with every single eye inside the Las Vegas locked on his every movement as he walked to the ring
Part of the fascination of this fight, of course, concerned how each man’s jaw would withstand the hammer blows from the other.
Each succeeding glimpse of Canelo in the dressing room brought louder and louder cheers from the Mexican faithful.
Snapshots of Triple G warming up were roundly jeered. But as a road warrior who has fought professionally in almost every major boxing country he came to Vegas accustomed to shutting out hostile environments as he goes about his thunderous business.
This was indeed a fight for the true fans, not only those within sight of the action but the millions watching on pay-TV around the world. But inside the ring there was intensity of focus on two men fighting for a unified world championship, fame, fortune, glory and their sporting legacy on the biggest night of their lives.
Alvarez took his time walking out as his large and expectant fanbase waited for him to appear from the backstage area
A galaxy of sports stars and celebrities were among those transfixed.
Triple G came among them first, to strident music and respect among the the boos. Then came Canelo, to a montage of his greatest hits, a rousing rendition of Mexico Lindo (Mexico the beautiful) – and a cacophony of expectation.
The atmosphere was very different from the circus hullabaloo of the contrived Mayweather-McGregor boxing-UFC crossmatch three weeks earlier. Then the astronomical ticket costs priced out most of McGregor’s Irish following and kept several thousand seats empty. Here more restrained charging was within the range of the Mexicans and hardcore boxing fans and the place was packed.
The patriotic date still engendered a carnival element but the magnitude and importance of the occasion intensified the attention on two elite boxers at or close to the peak of their powers.
Michael Buffer announced us ‘Ready to Rumble’.
The pair exchanged punches but Golovkin, who used his pace to great effect, tried to take an advantage early in the fight
He chased Alvarez round the ring and didn’t give him a second to think as his hands worked overtime on his opponent
The fight of the decade or the anti-climax of the era. Dry-mouthed, moist-handed, we were about to find out. There was loud support also for Golovkin as he went on the offensive from the onset. Canelo found himself in the unusual position of being backed up. The occasional counter from Alvarez sent the crowd into raptures but Triple G was off to a good start.
Canelo had bulked up considerably since the weigh-in and was holding his ground better in the second. Some of his big swings missed but enough landed to give him his first round.
Game on. Golovkin had landed two heavy blows at the end of the second and he opened with several more at the start of the third. His jab established the distance thereafter and although Canelo connected with a sharp uppercut he found himself backed on to the ropes and under pressure as the round ended.
Triple G stepped up the pace and Alvarez was finding it hard to keep up. Flurries of heavy shots had Canelo covering up. As the pressure told Canelo shook his head in an attempt to deny the pain that he had endured but Golovkin nodded knowingly to his corner at the bell.
Alvarez was struggling to keep up and had to be given clear instructions by his team after every round he fought in
He was, on occasion, able to display his power and accuracy but Golovkin did excellently to dodge a number of his punches
Canelo kept shaking his head when taking those huge rights. Gallantly he came back, to bring us towards the epic battle we had predicted. But even in the Mexican atmosphere he was surely falling well behind on the card.
Alvarez had high hopes of his uppercut but it was one from Triple G which rocked him. The pressure from the onward marching Kazakh. His timing and distance were close to perfection and as more precision rights and left came in Canelo was clearly feeling the strain and was cautioned for desperate swing at Triple G’s back.
The first half of the fight was supposed to belong to the Mexican but I had him behind at the turn. It was Golovkin who was looking eight years the younger at this stage. Oscar De La Hoya had predicted hell for these warriors but it was his Mexican who endured a nightmare seventh. Even the head shakes after taking punishment were less emphatic.
Canelo threw a desperation right, only to leave himself open to a cruel left hook which, there was no denying, hurt and rocked him. An uppercut of last resort was landed by the Mexican idol but he was taking, heroically, a barely interrupted pounding.
Golovkin, when he did move out of Alvarez’s way, landed some heavy punches including this vicious right hand
The Kazakh’s brute force, that he seems to produce so easily from his punches, was taking its toll on Alvarez though
It was all or nothing now for Alvarez but despite some hefty retaliation of his own he could not stop Golovkin coming. Referee Kenny Bayless was beginning to look closely at Canelo, who threw just enough punches back to stave off a stoppage but not enough to save yet another round.
From somewhere deep in that fighting heart Canelo came barging back. At the climax of a monstrous effort of will he wobbled Triple G’s legs with a massive right. But the Kazakh has a chin to go with his punching power and to what must have been Canelo’s despair he unleashed fury of his own. Now we had the epic round to hallmark this great spectacle. Both sets of corner men, as well as the crowd, were applauding at the bell as they traded massive blow. Bravo Canelo.
This was gallantry beyond the call of duty by Alvarez. Again he found it within him to shake Golovkin a couple of times in the midst of the storm and this old heart of mine found it hard to deny him a share of another brutal round.
How Canelo had reached the last only he can tell us and now, knowing the scores must be against, he rocked his tormentor with a cluster of huge punches. This was another epic three minutes which spoke of extraordinary valour by both men. The place was in ferment and it was almost impossible to hear the final bell. Neither man deserved to lose this one. But it was clear the Mexican had.
Once the bell came to call an end to the match after 12 tough rounds the pair both raised their hands above their heads.