New York; The 2020 boxing calendar concluded Saturday night with Canelo Alvarez returning after a 13 -month layoff and claiming another championship to his legacy. The year also ended with a controversial ending that crowned a new bantamweight champion.
Alvarez won a commanding 12-round decision over Callum Smith and captured the unified WBA and WBC super middleweight titles before 12,000 fans at the Alamodome in San Antonio Texas.
The win cemented Alvarez as the top fighter in boxing with his fourth championship. Alvarez, of Mexico and with the highest contract for an active pro fighter has won world titles at 154, 160, 168 and 175 pounds.
And this fight may have been his best. Alvarez was in command the entire fight and the six-inch height advantage of his opponent did not matter. He held Smith to 18 percent in connecting with punches. His defense stopped Smith from connecting punches. Alvarez used a diversity of punches and connecting on 57 percent thrown.
Basically, this was a win that by all means makes Alvarez the best fighter and champion out of Mexico and that speaks volumes with the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez in that category.
“It’s one of the best nights for me and I won the unified titles,” the 30-year old Alvarez said. “It’s one of the greatest nights I’ve had, but I’ll go for more.”
Going for more could be defending the title at 168, or moving down to middleweight again and have a third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin who holds a portion of the middleweight title.
Controversy Close The Year: Controversial decisions are a part of boxing and scoring is subjective when it comes to the judges at ringside. But Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, before another closed venue due to COVID, that term of three blind mice was the perfect way to describe how Undefeated bantamweight Remart Gaballo scored a controversial split-decision victory over former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in a fight presented by the PBC and televised on Showtime.
With the victory, Gaballo picked up the vacant interim WBC Bantamweight Title. However, it was clearly seen that Gaballo won at least 10 of the 12 rounds.
Here is a view of the final Punch stats that provide evidence as to why this could be considered the controversial decision of the year:
In only three of the twelve rounds were Rodriguez and Gaballo separated by more than three landed punches. Overall, Gaballo (24-0, 20 KOs) threw 148 more punches than Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs) of Vega Baja Puerto Rico but still managed to connect on 16 fewer power punches.
The punches of the 28-year-old Rodriguez seemed to be cleaner, as he wobbled the Filipino Gaballo on more than one occasion. However, two of the judges favored Gaballo’s aggression over Rodriguez’s ring generalship.
“It was a good fight, but he only won about two or three rounds,” said Rodriguez. “There were two punches from me for every punch he landed. He knows he lost. Everyone knows we won. My team told me to go out and keep boxing him in the late rounds. We knew he needed a knockout in the twelfth round. That was his only chance to win.”
But the judges saw it differently. The Latino Sports Scorecard had it 118-110 for Rodriguez.
But overall, during the global pandemic boxing had a successful run when the sport resumed in closed door bubble arenas with Top Rank, the PBC and Matchroom, with a limited number of fans that were permitted to attend with medical protocols in place.
Bur a controversial ending sent a message that the sport is in need of improvement when it comes to the subjective decisions of judges at ringside.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter @Ring786 Facebook.com/ Rich Mancuso
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