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It’s time for Nevada Athletic Commission to get serious about judges

Updated September 16, 2017 - 11:27 pm

On a night when boxing proved the ultimate winner, when one of the most anticipated fights in history delivered in nearly every way inside the ring, it was again a sport stained by the incompetency of those employed to judge it.

The sky is also blue and Clayton Kershaw can pitch a little.

But, hey, I’m sure we will hear all about Adalaide Byrd’s sterling resume at the next news conference for a mega-event.

I also assume we will see everyone back here in May for a rematch, given the split draw decision for Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin before a Mexican Independence Day gathering of 22,358 at T-Mobile Arena.

Thirty-one years ago, Marvin Hagler knocked out Thomas Hearns at Caesars Palace in an all-time middleweight classic.

This fight was expected to produce the same, but instead two of the world’s best fighters walked away from a memorable 12 rounds feeling far less than satisfied.

We waited years for this kind of emptiness.

All the embarrassment many believed would be attached to the Nevada State Athletic Commission for sanctioning and then supporting the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor matchup was instead transferred to Saturday night, when Byrd inexplicably scored the fight 118-110 for Alvarez.

She gave Golovkin just the fourth and seventh rounds.

The other two judges — Dave Moretti (115-113 for Golovkin) and Don Trella (114-114) actually watched the fight.

Or maybe Byrd’s card wasn’t a surprise at all.

Maybe that’s the sad part.

It all stopped being funny a long time ago, and yet that doesn’t seem to matter to the NSAC, which continues to stand behind judges whose decisions have been scrutinized and questioned.

Byrd has been criticized at different times for both her boxing and MMA judging, specifically the latter.

“Adalaide is an outstanding judge,” said NSAC executive director Bob Bennett. “She has done over 115 title fights or elimination bouts. She does a lot of training for our younger judges and takes them under her wing.

“Obviously, she was a little wide tonight. She wasn’t in the ballpark. She had a bad night. It happens. I’m not going to kill her for it. We’ll go through the fight and see why she saw it so differently from the other two.

“I take full responsibility, because I make the (judge) recommendations.”

Said Abel Sanchez, trainer to Golovkin: “I think (Byrd) needs to be removed and go back to school.”

It was at Wednesday’s final news conference when, for whatever reason, Bennett during his remarks named the judges for the main event and proceeded to give their career highlights.

Writers who have covered boxing for decades never remember that occurring in such a moment. Like, ever.

It was as if Bennett was trying to convince everyone those judging would be more than competent.

You know, in case one had little clue what she was doing this particular night and scored what was an incredibly close fight 118-110.

You want “GGG”? How about “Going, Going, Gone” for Byrd ever judging a fight of this magnitude again?

This is the part where you don’t hold your breath.

I had the fight a draw and yet any score such as the 115-113 that Moretti offered could have been easily explained for either side. Several rounds were ultra close, with Golovkin being the more active of the two for most of them.

“It’s a big drama show,” Golovkin said. “It is terrible, unbelievable. Of course I want a rematch. This was a real fight. Look I still have all the belts. I’m still the champion.”

It would seem impossible for Alvarez — the only one with a rematch clause between the fighters — to find a way out of a second matchup, this after he waited a few years before agreeing to the first encounter.

Nobody is walking away from a split draw.

“I thought I won,” Alvarez said. “It’s up to the people if we fight again. I feel frustrated over this draw. Yes, of course, we will have (a rematch) if the people want it. We’ll fight the second one.”

The people absolutely want it because the people and fighters and everyone else didn’t get a fair shake on Saturday. One of the more irritating realities for any columnist is no longer being able to find humor in a given situation.

That time has arrived when it comes to boxing judges.

118-110.

It’s not even funny any more.

It’s more stupid than anything.

In most ways, boxing won Saturday night.

In a critical one, it deserved so much better.

Stop giving us resumes and take a hard look at who is employed to judge these moments.

Stop playing the same old record.

It’s embarrassing.

Canelo-Golovkin Score Card by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Scribd

Contact columnist Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.

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