A contrarian viewpoint on Canelo/Trout

In the main results thread, I posted a little thing about the open scoring controversy. I'll actually repost that here in the bottom because I feel like it is valuable enough to be said twice in regards to this contest, but it isn't really why I'm posting this. No, I came into the Canelo/Trout fight with certain suspicions and afterwards, they haven't really gone away

My prime contention, you see, is the idea that this bout elevated both men's status and validated the concept that they were elite fighters because it was close and competitive. Both men showed technical flourishes, both men enacted certain pieces of their game plan well at times, both fought on a huge stage; all that good stuff. The problem I have here is that we still have a 154lb division largely in turmoil with split belts and a completely confused set of rankings. I come to that conclusion by, you know, looking at super welterweight as a whole. Canelo and Trout had names on their resume, but the names they beat were not guys who were considered top 154 pound fighters. They had the names of older welterweight stars who had moved up in weight. After that, the ledgers become exceedingly thin. Canelo or Trout have never faced the other top competitors at the weight class, past or present. It isn't cleaned out. They're really just starting.

Last night in the ring, I actually found the fight pretty exciting up until the open scoring talk basically screwed up the last round or two of action. There wasn't a ton of action going on, but it was very tactical, and as Canelo proved in the middle of the contest, one of them could be hurt. Trout was hittable in the Cotto fight, but Miguel just didn't have the pop to cause Trout issues. Canelo did. As Austin Trout moves forwards and starts fighting guys who aren't Miguel Cotto but instead are, say, Lara or Demetrius Andrade, he's gonna have really big problems. Those guys can move like Canelo and parry shots or avoid the jab as Alvarez did, but they're not as likely to get bogged down into defensive shells. They're outstanding boxers and counter punchers, and their right hands will probably make contact with Trout's face.

I thought Canelo won the fight and actually did better "coasting" than he had trodding forwards. He seemed more fluid moving between defense and offense, which is something he simply wasn't good at against Trout. He allowed Trout to make close rounds closer in his favor by letting him unload punch after punch after punch thrown, even if none of them were landing and it was making Canelo look like Bernard Hopkins. But a 23 year old power puncher shouldn't be trying to mimic the activity rate of AARP-Hop. It didn't work for Bernard against guys who outworked him on the scorecards like Calzaghe, Taylor, and Dawson. As Canelo moves forward, he will find guys like Trout who can box and have fast hands but might actually be able to dent more than tomato cans. Also, what was with Canelo looking so tired 8 rounds into this fight? All those muscles look impressive and he can hit hard, but getting winded by landng 4-5 really hard right hands a round is ridiculous. Against old welterweights he might get away with that, but it isn't gonna last against better 154lb competition.

We've got two big fights at the weight coming up in the next few weeks - there's Carlos Molina/Ishe Smith and Erislanda Lara/Alfredo Angulo coming up, both of which will be televised. Demetrius Andrade/Zaurbek Baysangurov is also on the horizion for July. Any of those fights can very easily produce a serious, difficult challenge for either Trout or Canelo. And when I say "difficult", I mean someone who could beat them much more impressively than either Alvarez or Trout could against one another. They aren't lesser fights in quality, just not the same level of box office attraction. We've elevated Canelo and Trout above the fray because of their ability to sell tickets or beat guys who could, not because they beat the best.

Here's what I said about open scoring earlier too, BTW:

A few years ago, I remember the first real controversy of this era of open scoring. It was Mormeck/Bell II in ‘07. MSG picked it up to play live. Don’t remember how that happened, just that I watched. In the first fight, which was a classic,. Mormeck was well ahead on the card after 8 rounds but continued to push forward on Bell, walking into power shots. Bell ultimately wore down Mormeck and stopped him. Great fight, like I said. The rematch went much the same for the first 8 rounds, but after the 8th, Mormeck was allowed to know that he was (rightfully) up on points. He started to defensively box that last 4 rounds, survived, and won the cruiserweight titles back. Being a cruiserweight fight, it was lower profile, but a lot of people were upset. After all, if Mormeck couldn’t be sure if the scoring was correct, he might have continued forward and gotten mowed down again, or at least made the fight more exciting.

What I’m pointing out here is that the open scoring isn’t the problem. The problem is inept or bad scoring. Boxing fans and writers don’t like it because it reminds them that their scorecards effectively don’t matter, which is funny, because according to Boxrec or Fightfax, they really don’t matter. I say that because our scorecards, regardless of what they read, can’t force the fighters to change tactics or whatever in mid-fight. The fight is the fight is the fight. You or I can only score unofficially what appears in front of us.

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