In true boxing fashion, a major fight ended in controversy. This time, an incredibly puzzling judging decision resulted in a draw in the big middleweight title fight between “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

In the 12-round title bout, most people who were watching on pay-per-view and at T-Mobile Arena saw a great fight that seemed to indicate Golovkin the winner wound up being a draw. Dave Moretti ruled 115-113 in favor of Golovkin which seemed fair. Don Trella ruled a 114-114 draw where each boxer won six rounds which was a bit of a shock but not too terrible. Adelaide Byrd, however, was clearly watching something else, ruling a 118-110 score in favor of Alvarez, winning all but two rounds.

The ensuing controversy set everyone off and that included ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas and First Take’s Stephen A. Smith. Atlas and Smith, like most boxing fans, have gotten angry at the sport before. Most notably, they sparred about another controversial end to a great fight when Jeff Horn won in a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao even though it seemed that Pacquiao would easily win. The two also got into it over cheeseburgers for some reason after the Mayweather-McGregor fight last month.

This time, the two talked about the controversial decision by the judge and how that evolved into how the sport of boxing is run.

Despite this quickly developing into a shouting match like just about any other debate topic, the two actually made some good points in terms of the sport. Stephen A. viewed what happened as a consequence of lots and lots of money being made and passed around and when that happens, there is a good chance of corruption. And while there may not be corruption in terms of the actual results of sporting events, there is corruption in almost every sport.

Atlas, on the other hand, is a boxing lifer and boxing is his sport. And the fact that there is corruption in other sports is irrelevant to the topic they were discussing. There is corruption in boxing and it seems like every time we write about boxing or anyone talks about boxing, it’s about something bad like this that happened.

Boxing is no longer a sport where everything seemed pure and was just about two fighters putting on a great match. It hasn’t been since I’ve been alive that’s for sure. Now, it’s all about a certain few people making obscene amounts of money, fans being price gouged of seeing any match of prestige since everything is on pay-per-view and almost every one of those fights ends in some sort of controversy that we talk about that than the actual fight. Maybe other sports have corruption but at least the on-field product is good enough to get people to at least find some way to like the sport. Boxing seems to just have corruption and situations like this arise that cause people to doubt the in-ring product believing something shady is going to happen.

On a side note, maybe this is because of all the political things that have revolved around ESPN over the past few days but I think I could watch a show where Teddy Atlas yells at random things on a big screen. It seems entertaining in a Howard Beale kind of way.


About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and I occasionally write for Awful Announcing and Freezing Cold Takes. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook @phillipbupp

  • kittallmadge


  • William B. Feemster

    Get this jack-ss Steven A Smith out of boxing. He doesn’t know a thing about boxing. He just likes to argue. Send him back to basketball.

    • Deon Hamner

      So what’s teddy atlas’ excuse? He do the same thing…

      • William B. Feemster

        Deon Hammer, Teddy was talking about the corrupt commissions and the crooked promoters. Teddy knows from where he speaks because he’s had to deal with these crooks when he was training professional fighters. He’s no Johnny come lately to this sport. He a veteran, since the days of mike Tyson. Steven A Smith knows absolutely nothing about boxing yet he tries to come off as if he’ knows boxing, I listened to his commentary, and he is almost always wrong about decisions of fights he watches.
        I agree the that the judge was wrong on her card. But when Teddy tried to explain what goes on behind the scenes, speaking from experience, Steven A Smith wanted to argue with him about what Teddy knew to be true in boxing. Steven A Smith is a Johnny come lately to this sport. It’s like a Dentist arguing with a veteran shoe repairman about how to repair shoes. He needs to go back to the sport where he has the most knowledge

        • Deon Hamner

          Yeah you right about that. I know atlas goes back to the cus d’amato days with Tyson. You make good points and you are very correct about screaming a smith. Why they put these together. I’ll never know

          • William B. Feemster

            Hi, Deon, This is William, I read read your reply. Deon, it’s not that they put these two together. Steven A Smith was like this with the commentators when he was a sport caster for Basketball and football. Even then he would argue with them as his did with Teddy. Before he argued with Teddy, once when he and newly retired Former champion Timothy Bradley were both working as commentators covering a championship fight, he offered his opinion about the way the fight was going. Then without arguing Timothy Bradley offered his opinion of the way he felt the fight was going. Timothy never interrupted Steven. His opinion was an alternate opinion to Steven’s. Steven repeated interrupted Timothy, and Steven went verbally on the attack. Now remember Timothy’s been boxing since he was about eight years old. Steven A Smith has never put on a pair of boxing gloves, stepped through that ring and faced another opponent. I had three amateur fights I lost them all, partly because I wasn’t properly prepared. but also all three opponents had more experience. There is no substitute for experience. I think that Timothy, having had all of that amateur experience, and boxing altogether for twenty years would probably more of and expert on boxing than Steven A Smith, who’s new to this sport, as is evidenced by his lack of knowledge about the types of punches thrown in a fight

        • Michael Kosanovich

          Great point. Atlas has always spoken out against boxing Judges giving favorable result’s to the ” big money” promoter’s fighter’s. Here is what happened, Byrd, has worked for Golden Boy Promotion’s many times. They hired her to judge the fight. Plus, Golden Boy chose the venue of Vegas for the flight. Nevada boxing commission gets paid by the promoter’s. Finally, here is solid proof for this outrageous decision; GGG 219 punches landed. Canelo 189. GGG threw two hundred more punches. Betting odds for a draw started at 30-1. Before the fight began it went down to 15-1. Vegas, Golden Boy, and everyone else HAD a lot of money to lose if they gave they’re ” meal ticket” Canelo a loss.

  • Adam Domo

    Atlas is dead on to why i never got into boxing in the first place. Having no over-arching “commission” or “league” with rules makes the sports confusing to follow and infuriating to watch (considering you see stuff like this happen so often)

    • Michael Kosanovich

      Did anyone REALLY believe GGG would win a decision in Vegas? 30-1 odds for a draw two month’s ago. Went down to 15-1 before the fight began! Too much money to lose if they gave they’re ” meal ticket” Canelo a loss! And everyone knows!