For most of Saturday night, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez delivered at a sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas what boxing purists wanted to see.
A marquee clash between two megastars captivated and entertained the 22,358 in attendance, and millions more watching on television. But then it ended after 12 rounds, and a controversial scorecard from judge Adalaide Byrd upstaged the entire night.
The lone female on the three-judge panel scored Alvarez the winner 118-110. Her colleagues Dave Moretti (115-113 in favor of GGG) and Don Trella (114-114) had it differently.
In each round, judges score who won the period on a 10-point grading system. If a knockout doesn’t occur, the judges assign 10 points to the winner of the round, and nine points to the loser.
Byrd’s assessment resulted in the fight being declared an unlikely draw. And that’s forcing Nevada sportsbooks to null and void the vast majority of bets.
“In any business sometimes you have a bad day. She saw the fight differently than the other judges. It happens,” Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Bob Bennett said afterwards.
Entering Saturday night’s contest, Golovkin was the favorite at the Westgate SuperBook on odds of -150. A $100 wager would have returned $66.67. Alvarez was the slight underdog at +130.
At Westgate, 59 percent of the money was on Alvarez, meaning Byrd’s decision was especially costly for the sportsbook. Should she have ruled that GGG won, or at least tied, the casino would have kept all of those wagers. Instead, they’re returning.
“I can deal with 114-114 even though I strongly felt Golovkin won,” ESPN boxing journalist Dan Rafael said. “But Byrd’s card? Indefensible. Not acceptable. At all.”
There were some bets that played out. The SuperBook’s round line of 9.5 over (-250) and under (+200) paid off on the favorite after the fight went a full 12.
Bets on draws were also rewarded, and that’s costing some sportsbooks. Caesars Palace said its draw odds opened at 30-1 and shortened to 16-1 ahead of the fight, and the winning slips are costing the sportsbook six figures. “We got hurt on that, Caesars sportsbook director Frank Kunovic told ESPN.
Almost immediately after the controversial draw, both fighters expressed interest in a rematch.
“If the people want it, yes. He didn’t win. It was a draw,” Alvarez declared. “We’ll fight in the second one, but I’ll win.” GGG responded, “I want the rematch.”
Oddsmakers are already opening up their books on the potential fight.
The SuperBook once again has Alvarez the underdog at +140, and Golovkin the favorite at -160. If oddsmakers are correct, it will be another close match, as the over/under on rounds is at 11.5 (-110 for both). Westgate has a deadline of December 31, 2018, for the fight to take place.
Station Casinos puts GGG a bigger favorite at -180 to Alvarez at +160.