Saul Canelo Alvarez Proves Open Scoring Gives Boxers a Fighting Chance

Andrew DoddsCorrespondent IIMay 1, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Saul Alvarez of Mexico Carlos kisses his gloves before his match against Baldomir of Argentina in the WBC Super Welterweight Silver Title fight at Staples Center on September 18, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Saul Alvarez proved himself worthy of the hype and established himself as a legitimate contender to replace Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao as the sport's next PPV king. In the process, he also demonstrated the worth of open scoring. Open scoring reveals the scores after the fourth and eighth rounds to give the athletes an idea of who is winning.

The fight was very competitive, and as a result of Canelo's effective aggression, ring generalship and defense, he was ahead on the cards—possibly more ahead on the cards than warranted, but that is another debate. While Trout landed and threw more punches, he was not winning the other 75 percent of the scoring criteria. 

It would have been logical for Austin to believe that he was winning the fight going into the final four rounds because of his statistical advantage in punch output and scoring blows. However, the fact that he never landed any damaging blows and Canelo had landed the bigger shots had him behind. Knowing that the judges had seen the fight this way gave Trout the seminal realization that he needed to win the final four rounds and score knockdowns or even a knockout to win. This is a great advantage.

Frequently, cornermen advise their fighter to execute a strategy that is incompatible with victory based on the secrecy of the scoring. In this case, Austin, and his team, were given the very best opportunity to win by knowing that he was behind on the cards and needed to dramatically dominate the final four rounds or lose.

Conversely, had he not known, Team No Doubt would have been done a great disservice. It is likely that he would have tried to conservatively box the final four rounds with the misconception that he was winning. He would have later regretted not being more aggressive and lamented that he wished he had known he was losing.

There are some who felt that Trout won the fight and did enough to deserve the decision win. It was indeed a close contest. It is hard to deny, though, that Canelo landed the heavier shots and won the effective aggression component of each round. His overall accuracy was nine percent superior to Trout (29 percent to 20 percent). That shows his defense was better. Trout landed more punches and was busier. As for ring generalship, it seemed more often than not not that Canelo was fighting his fight.

Regardless of how people scored the bout, the point is that Austin deserved to know what the score was. If he was being cheated by Texan judging, as critics contend, it was correct to have given him the opportunity to do something about it. This indisputably is the lesser of the two evils.

Critics of open scoring contend that once a fighter knows he is winning, he will coast and disengage. However, they are inside a ring. A fighter with the superlative skill of Trout can cut a fighter off and find them. There is no place to hide in a boxing match.

Open scoring is fair. It is unfair to have the athletes unaware of their place in the contest. Are they winning or losing? Do they need to be more aggressive, change strategy, fight desperate?

Only open scoring will give the boxer a fighting chance to win. To those who believe that Trout won, at least they can say he knew during the fight what he had to do to win, thanks to open scoring.