When Julio Cesar Chavez Jr got all three scorecards on Saturday night against Bryan Vera in Carson, Calif., few were shocked. Some were outraged, others dismayed, and most were disgusted, but few were actually surprised that the money fighter, the house fighter, the sanctioning body darling, and legendary papa's baby boy got his hand raised.
Judge Carla Caiz scored it 96-94. Judge Marty Denkin scored it 97-93. And judge Gwen Adair scored it 98-92. All of those cards went to Chavez.
Fight score collector Bobby Hunter rounded up the media tallies from Saturday. 59 members of the press were counted. 53 of them scored the fight for Vera. Six of them had it a draw. Zero felt Chavez won the fight. It is unlikely that Chavez could go 0-for-59 with the press and 3-for-3 with the ringside judges. Yeah. That's the word. "Unlikely."
That doesn't say "controversy," it screams "robbery." For a sport that has been plagued by horrendous, indefensible judging over the years, this one more than most tells you what nobody wants to say bluntly, putting it behind thinly-veiled code like "The Golden Rule": boxing is a sport in that those guys are really beating the crap out of each other, but outcomes are rarely in doubt if a fight makes the distance.
That sounds a lot more like professional wrestling than it does a legitimate sporting event. Many fights don't have favorites and underdogs anymore. They have a right guy and a wrong guy. The right guy is going to get the "benefit of the doubt" every time. If there's legitimate money involved -- present and future -- then you are really unlikely to see an upset.
I think this is why people were so surprised last December when Austin Trout actually got the cards he deserved in New York against Miguel Cotto. Maybe Cotto hasn't played the game enough, thinking himself to be an athlete rather than pure commodity. That illness has never afflicted the Chavez camp.