Floyd Mayweather Jr. cruised, as usual and as expected, to a clear-cut victory Saturday over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas in their super-welterweight unification bout, which earned Mayweather more than $40 million.
But the judges weren’t quite as convinced as everyone else. Two of the scorecards read 117-111 and 116-112 -- emphatic validation for Mayweather -- and the third judge, the dubiously qualified C.J. Ross, scored it 114-114. The Associated Press scored it 119-109 and many observers saw it as a 120-108 shutout.
So, as we were processing the A.P. version of the story I had just edited at the San Francisco Chronicle, an interesting question arose:
“Do we need to include how the A.P. scored the fight,” asked the copy chief, Steve Hornbostel, who has corrected hundreds of my mistakes and excesses over many years of working with me at two newspapers. The A.P. reference seemed excessive to him.
“Yes, we do,” I replied emphatically. “A lot of boxing fans look for that, especially if there’s something controversial about the official scoring.”
That’s especially true if the A.P. reporter is the wire service’s designated boxing writer, a lineage that has gone from Ed Schuyler Jr., to Tim Dahlberg, to the current designee, Greg Beacham (whom Hornbostel and I both know and trust).
One of the quirks of boxing is that many observant fans consider the A.P. beat writer to be a more astute judge than your average appointee of whatever boxing commission has jurisdiction over a given fight.
In other words, Greg Beacham is a more respected judge of boxing than C.J. Ross.
This is why boxing is so imperfect.
And oddly, this why boxing is so lovable, in its maddening, frustrating way.