The Final Word: Canelo-Lara

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It isn’t technically the final word, although it is my final word on the absurdly boring matchup between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Erislandy Lara.

I should clarify that I wasn’t particularly bored, anytime that you have two fighters of this magnitude step in the ring with one another I’m up for whatever takes place. What I mean by “bored” is my feeling towards the outlandish claims being made that this fight was “fixed” or that Lara got a raw enough deal that would perpetuate some sort of investigation. That is nonsense.

I’m also a firm believer that the casual fan probably didn’t get much out of the lack of action from Saturday’s main event. It was a disservice to both Canelo and Lara, who are both tremendously talented fighters, and if it was someone’s first time seeing either guy then 1) they probably won’t bother marking the calendar for their next fight and 2) definitely not salivating at the idea of a rematch down the road.

It was a bad style matchup, simple as that. But good luck trying to explain that to a casual fan and there is no way to insert that idea in either fighter’s next promotion.

I have heard some alarming statements in the last 48 hours from the Lara camp, the kind of statements that make me take notice in an effort to better analyze the mindset of a surely disappointed camp.

I would like to add that I am just as baffled by Judge Levi Martinez’s score of 117-111 for Canelo, the root of most detractors’ criticism. However, I don’t think it should cloud anyone’s judgment on Canelo’s win, how can it?

True, if the fight was clearly won by Lara then any score for Canelo would be outlandish, no matter the difference in rounds between the two combatants. However, it doesn’t degrade the fact that Canelo did enough to win the fight.

Lara’s manager, Luis DeCubas Jr., told Rick Reeno in a post-fight interview that Martinez was “either corrupt or incompetent and he can choose which one he is.”

That stuck out to me, the part about being able to choose. I respect DeCubas and he is an excellent manager, but this statement makes it seem like he is throwing stuff on the wall to see what sticks.

I understand his frustration, but there is a HUGE difference between being incompetent and being corrupt. You can be incompetent for the night, have a bad day at the office and know you made a mistake. But to be corrupt speaks to an entirely different level of morals and it is a stigma that should be forever attached to a person.

If you want to make claims that fault is distributed in some fashion then make an argument that can hold water, not one that offers you satisfaction after the fact. Martinez, according to DeCubas, can only be one of two things, caddy to the fact that either scenario allows Lara to get his way.

In that same interview, DeCubas Jr. says that he was “fine with both of the [other] scorecards,” referring to the two 115-113 scores turned in by the two other judges (Dave Moretti scoring it for Canelo and Jerry Roth for Lara).

If you can score the fight with a mere round as the difference then you can’t definitively say that either fighter should’ve been guaranteed the win. I’m not stupid and I know DeCubas Jr. is posturing because he has to muddy up the waters on the behalf of his fighter, well he doesn’t have to but it is both merited and predictable.

The point is Canelo deserved to be the winner, I guess just as much as Lara really, and the shoe could’ve fallen on the other foot, I guarantee Martinez would be neither corrupt or incompetent in DeCubas’ eyes if he had the same score the other way around, but that’s just stating the obvious.

If that were the case, I suppose the argument would be that Haymon greased the right wheels and his influence was being felt ever since deciding to stake a bigger claim within the boxing world.

Truth is probably as simple as Martinez’s preference of styles was on full display or, again, he had a bad night at the office. I don’t know for sure, but then again I don’t have a vested interest one way or the other, at least not the kind that comes with a check.

I think the real dissatisfaction for Lara’s camp and the fans claiming negligence (intentional or not) is the fact that they thought the fight would go very different and they can’t get over the fact that it didn’t. They wanted to be right and they weren’t.

So many of the intelligent hardcore fans, most likely the ones that wanted to fully display their boxing IQ to their casual fan friends (the ones that keep saying ‘that Canelo guy is really talented’), picked Lara years ago. Now, they’re clinging to a couple rounds to save face. They’re okay with a split-decision mind you, just not one with a 117-111 score as the determining factor.

It stands to reason that the determining score could’ve been 115-113 and there would still be an argument over Canelo winning.

I don’t want to argue that Canelo not getting destroyed, not even close to being destroyed, is argument enough for getting the nod, but I do want to point out that Canelo was not supposed to be in the fight according to some experts, experts I admire by the way.

It seems like the hardest pill for some to swallow is that Canelo isn’t as bad as people wanted him to be. They wanted him to be the fresh-faced Mexican star with a huge draw but no real skill. It makes it easier to separate the hardcore fans from the casuals when the cash cow isn’t all that great a boxer. So we can demean those idiots at the bar or in the barbershop.

However, I think the biggest injustice is everyone is forgetting the fact that Canelo has fought the “real fighter” twice in the span of just over a year. That is what we have wanted from our previous cash cow Floyd Mayweather Jr. since the beginning. There are still fans that won’t give Floyd his proper credit because they want him to be the ducker they claim.

We should be both grateful and hopeful that Canelo isn’t even allowing the discussion, although I shouldn’t speak too soon.

I’m a fan of the biggest fights between the biggest stars above everything and as long as Canelo continues to give fans the fights we deem meaningful then I will be a fan of his and refuse to take part in this witch hunt that will allow the more knowledgeable fans a chance to say ‘I told you so’ when he or she is in the presence of the casual fan.