Judging Concerns Hang Over Canelo-Jacobs Fight Week
By: Sean Crose
There is no doubt that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is the biggest star in boxing. Even Anthony Joshua, enormously popular as he is in the Europe, has yet to attain the North American appeal that the red haired Mexican star has. Canelo’s popularity among Las Vegas judges, however, has caused many to raise eyebrows. After judge CJ Ross decided to go against her peers and score 2013’s Canelo-Floyd Mayweather battle for the then up and coming Canelo, the now pound for pound talent has stood accused of receiving favorable treatment.
Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
For CJ Ross wasn’t the only Vegas judge to rule questionably in Canelo’s favor. Cuban slickster Erislandy Lara was denied a victory over Canelo in Vegas after a razor thin twelve round bout. And then came Gennady Golovkin. The highly touted Canelo-GGG fight of 2017 ended in an outrageously controversial draw. Needless to say, most observes felt Canelo should have lost the fight on the scorecards. A 2018 rematch saw Canelo win a decision in a bout that, once again, many felt Golovkin had done enough to win.
Hence the fear that Daniel Jacobs, the 35-2 IBF middleweight champ, will have to knock the 51-1-2 Canelo out if he hopes to win their fight this Saturday night in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. Should the highly anticipated Canelo-Jacobs bout go the full scheduled 12 rounds this weekend, some fret Canelo will add Jacob’s title to his own WBA and WBC titles – whether he deserves to or not. This can be problematic, as Canelo is one of the highest paid athletes on earth. Should the public embrace the opinion that Canelo always wins, both Canelo’s and contemporary boxing’s reputations could take a real hit.
However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s Executive Director, Bob Bennett, has argued furiously that no corruption is to be found in his jurisdiction. Bringing up his own past, Bennett is quoted by Yahoo’s Kevin Iole as saying: “I indicted a boxing case for a fixed fight, and I traveled all over the country to interview fighters who took a dive to get money under the table and it was proven in a court of law.” Bennett went on to add that “fighters want to come here and fight because they know we will go above and beyond to do that. Any suggestion otherwise is bull s—t.”
Although the Commission’s honesty may be unimpeachable, it’s competence might remain a concern. For intensely controversial judge Adelaide Byrd was named as a potential official for the Canelo-Jacobs bout by the Commission in the lead up to this weekend’s fight.