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Sports Authority

Hoonhout: Boxing requires an over-arching regulatory body

| Monday, September 18, 2017

Although we are a few weeks removed from the Floyd Mayweather–Conor McGregor fight, on Saturday the boxing world got another taste of glory in the middleweight title bout between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.

And while the fight certainly lived up to the hype, the result did not.

In a shocking turn of events, the match ended in a draw after judge Adalaide Byrd inexplicably awarded a 118-110 decision to Alvarez, despite Golovkin landing over an overwhelming number of more punches than his counterpart for 10 of the 12 rounds.

But Byrd only gave Golovkin the advantage in the fourth and seventh rounds, and was the only one of the judges to give Alvarez the decision.

It’s decisions like these that point to a growing trend in boxing — with no oversight, this noble and historic sport has been increasingly corrupted.

Now, I don’t know what Byrd’s rationale was in her decision, but one must question her rationale for not only being the sole dissenter, but also in the way she scored the fight, as if Alvarez had dominated. For a veteran judge with over 100 matches under her belt, the decision was inexcusable, and Bob Bennett, the director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was right to call her out for it.

Earlier this month, my colleague Marek Mazurek argued that the hype about the Mayweather-McGregor fight was largely misplaced, mainly because of the character flaws of both men. While I agree, I think the root of the problem stems from a lack of oversight in boxing.

With the amount of money being thrown around these days (it’s estimated Mayweather-McGregor could end up bringing in $700 million), it’s simply ridiculous that there is no over-arching regulatory authority in boxing. Without it, there’s still room for egregious characters and egregious decisions like the one on Saturday to exist, and in reality, it hurts the sport as a whole.

ESPN’s Teddy Allen hit the nail on the head during his epic rant Saturday night by calling out the promoters in boxing, who hold all the power. They decide when and where and for how much the fight is going to be, and entities like the judges are only part of the cog.

Both boxers have already said they would like a rematch, and that would mean a repeat of the hoopla leading up to the fight and a repeat of the promoters lining their pockets. Considering Vegas is both the capital of the sports betting world and the home to many of the sport’s biggest bouts, without an actual organization in place to keep boxing honest, the conspiracy theories are bound to surface.

For all the bashing that organizations like the NFL receive for the totalitarian authority that they possess, there is a set of clear guidelines and expectations designed to put a consistent product out on the field. The uniformity both preserves the integrity of the game and also holds players accountable. What’s the difference between Ray Rice and Floyd Mayweather? Not a lot in terms of their actions, but the consequences are vastly different. And that comes down to who’s in charge.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Tobias Hoonhout

Toby served as Managing Editor in the 2018-2019 term.

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