Light heavyweight Isaac Chilemba lost a majority decision to Eleider Alvarez at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada on Saturday night. It was widely regarded as a very close fight that could have gone either way.
Alvarez, a Colombian native who lives in Canada, started strong. Both men jabbed well early, but Alvarez managed to land the sharper power punches in the first two rounds. Alvarez's punches had more conviction than did Chilemba's during the early rounds.
Chilemba grabbed momentum in the fourth round. He took control of center ring and began walking down Alvarez. Alvarez continued to counter punch effectively, though. In the sixth, Alvarez countered Chilemba's jab with precision.
Halfway through the fight, Alvarez was rightfully ahead on the scorecards. But in the seventh, Chilemba landed a looping right that momentarily wobbled Alvarez early in the round. Alvarez went into a shell for much of the rest of the period.
Alvarez recovered well in the eighth, but continued to fade in the ninth. He looked exhausted and wasn't able to use the nimble footwork that had helped him elude Chilemba's shots during the early rounds and enabled Alvarez to counter.
In the tenth, Chilemba landed an assortment of punches: a check left hook early as Alvarez clumsily came in, an uppercut, and a lead right. Chilemba used the latter with more regularity as the fight wore on. It was a shrewd change of pace from the jab.
Alvarez summoned some unexpected grit to start the eleventh round, but Isaac dominated the second half of the round. Overall, Alvarez was the harder puncher and won the first portion of the fight. Chilemba upped his workrate as Alvarez faded in the second portion of the bout.
The fight was extremely close. According to ShoStats, Chilemba landed 151 punches while Alvarez landed 147. Both men landed noticeably more punches than the other in only two rounds. Alvarez controlled the first and second rounds, while Chilemba carried the punch count in the ninth and eleventh rounds.
The judges scored the bout 118-110, 115-113, and 114-114. All three judges gave Alvarez the twelfth round. Had Chilemba won it, the fight would have been a split draw.
This fight could reasonably have been scored seven rounds to five in either direction because there were so many tight rounds. Alvarez had a couple of advantages with the judges: the fight took place in his adopted country of Canada and he is managed by the omnipotent Al Haymon. Peter Hary is the judge who gave the fight to Alvarez 10 rounds to two. This was an inexcusable card and not the first score he's had that was very different from his fellow judges'.
After the decision was announced, Chilemba was sobbing in the corner out of disappointment. Jodi Solomon, Isaac's manager, covered him with her jacket as she consoled him. Isaac's record is now 22-3-2 with 10 KOs and Alvarez moves to 19-0 with 10 KOs.
Alvarez has become the mandatory challenger for one of the belts owned by light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson. But this fight was so close, it cries out for a rematch to determine the true mandatory challenger.