The best way to score a boxing match would probably be to have each fighter begin the event by punching all three judges (jabs, uppercuts, straights, hooks, etc.) to aid the judges in answering the mythical question hanging over every fight of punch valuation—how many of fighter A’s jabs equal an uppercut of fighter B, etc.. Now, there are many practical concerns with enacting such a policy—for example, who will judge the fight should the judges get knocked out? So, absent that, the next most logical way seems to be to simply watch how each fighter responds to other’s punches—thereby sorting out not only when a punch is thrown, but whether it lands in a clean, effective manner. Fortunately, the human body reacts in predictable ways when struck with clean, effective punches—knees buckle, the head gets snapped back, the body is staggered, or in some cases knocked down.
The Canelo Alvarez—Austin Trout tilt from Saturday night bears, according to some, the “controversial” label, but it shouldn’t. Though Alvarez found his target less frequently than Trout (124 versus 154 in total punches landed), he clearly landed more of the clean, effective punches described in the above paragraph—and if you didn’t see that then you either didn’t watch the whole fight, are one of the two judges who somehow thought Chavez swung-and-missed his way to a draw with Whitaker a decade ago, or got distracted trying to figure out if Trout has a Mohawk or just a receding hairline that looks like a Mohawk—while Trout held a decisive edge in insignificant punches landed (the kind where the guy getting hit doesn’t react or seem to care).
I’m no professional judge, so view this next statement with the skepticism one should have for everything encountered on the internet—but it seems to me that in a mostly close round, the edge should be given to the guy who lands more significant punches, while the insignificant punches should largely be ignored.
Now, this is not to claim that the fight was a blowout, or to defend Stanley Christodoulou’s awful 118-109 scorecard (which was 80-71 after eight rounds, meaning Christodoulou gave the first eight rounds, ALL of them, to Canelo. I don’t know what to say to this, other than Christodoulou shouldn’t judge a major fight again). Rather, the fight was very close and competitive, and mostly entertaining. I had it 115-112 (Canelo), but you could easily talk me into 116-111 or 114-113. Trout acquitted himself well—he’s a top level fighter (which his decisive victory over Miguel Cotto already proved)—he just found himself outgunned in a hostile environment against a boxing prodigy (and Alvarez is a prodigy, much like Mozart, if Mozart had punched people in the face instead of writing operas).
Going forward, Canelo proved two things Saturday night—he’s a great fighter along with a great draw; and two, he’s finally assumed the mantle as the Pound-for-Pound King of fighters who look kind of like a grown up Dennis the Menace. Trout, for his part, proved to be both very talented and very classy in defeat. I suspect we’ll see a rematch at some point in the future, and if so, I expect another good fight.