The controversial draw in Saturday night’s fight between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was frustrating for bettors and bookmakers alike in Las Vegas.
Gamblers who made straight bets on Golovkin and Alvarez had their money refunded on what was considered a push and sports books lost on the draw, a prop bet that opened at 30-1 at MGM Resorts and Caesars Palace sports books and closed between 12-1 and 16-1.
“We actually ended up losing a little on the fight because of the draw,” Caesars Palace sports book director Frank Kunovic said. “We lost six figures on that.”
Most sports books reported small losses on the fight overall after winning on round props and the five-way method-of-victory props in which bettors lost on Alvarez by knockout and by decision and on Golovkin by knockout and by decision.
“When you push on every other bet and lose to one of the bigger bets on the board, it doesn’t make for a good combination,” MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said. “It was a pretty good swing for us from what should’ve happened to what did happen.
“If a draw is merited, we have no problem paying the draw. But it was not a circumstance where paying the draw is merited. That kind of puts the sting in the whole thing.”
Byrd’s scorecard baffling
Rood and six other sports book directors contacted by the Review-Journal had Golovkin — who closed as a 2-1 favorite at MGM Resorts — clearly winning the fight. But judge Adalaide Byrd had Alvarez winning in dominant fashion, turning in a 118-110 scorecard in his favor.
“That was staggering,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “I’m certainly not a boxing expert but I do have 20-20 vision.
“I talked to 23 people and they all said that Triple-G won. I haven’t found one yet that said Canelo won.”
William Hill was a small loser on the fight, mostly because of heavy action on the fight to go over 9½ rounds.
You’re all out of order
Wynn Las Vegas won on the fight but veteran sports book director Johnny Avello was incredulous with the decision.
“The judging was ridiculous. I just couldn’t believe it,” he said. “If somebody had Canelo winning the fight 115-113, I could see that. But I couldn’t see 118-110. She was way off base. And I went back and looked at some of her other fights and she was way off base on them, too.
“The boxing commission has to take control or people aren’t going to want to bet it anymore. You can’t have guys winning the fight and not getting the decision because of some judge’s opinion.”
Rood also questioned judge Don Trella, who scored it a 114-114 draw.
“He gave the seventh (round) to Canelo and that was clearly a round won by Triple-G,” he said. “You have three people influencing a very large amount of money from a betting perspective and a tourism perspective.”
The third judge, Dave Moretti, had Golovkin winning 115-113.
How to fix the problem
Rood and Avello both feel that going from three judges to five for major fights would help prevent future controversial decisions. Avello compared it to baseball, where the umpire crew is increased from four to six for the playoffs.
“First of all, make sure your judges are competent. That’s No. 1,” Avello said. “No. 2, when the fight is significant enough to have five judges, you have them. That way it’s a better sample size and it doesn’t matter if a judge has it 118-110 because there’s more scores to look at.”
For those willing to roll the dice on a Alvarez-Golovkin rematch, the Westgate and Station Casinos sports books already have posted odds for it. Golovkin opened as a minus-180 favorite over Alvarez (plus-160) at Stations and is a minus-160 favorite at the Westgate, where the total is 11½ rounds.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.