Former four-division champion and 2012 fighter of the year Nonito Donaire admitted he couldn't help but feel a bit of deja vu on Saturday while watching the middleweight championship bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
Once the now-infamous scorecard of 118-110 from judge Adelaide Byrd in favor of Alvarez was read, helping produce a controversial split draw, just about everyone in the boxing world exploded with outrage.
But for Donaire (37-4, 24 KOs), the transition from the euphoria that came from watching a great action fight to the sour feeling of seeing boxing's negative stereotypes once again reinforced took on a more personal tone.
Donaire, 34, returns to 126 pounds on Saturday when he faces Ruben Garcia Hernandez (22-2-1, 9 KOs) at the Alamodome in San Antonio in his debut with promoter Richard Schaefer and RingStar Sports. But last November, "The Filipino Flash" lost a unanimous decision to unbeaten Jessie Magdaleno in their junior featherweight title bout from Las Vegas.
Two judges scored scored the competitive bout 116-112 in favor of Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs), who fought off a late surge from Donaire. But the third judge was none other than Byrd, and her 118-110 scorecard -- the exact same outlier she provided in Alvarez-Golovkin -- simply wasn't indicative of the fight most people saw.
"I did get a little deja vu," Donaire. "My wife and my team were talking to me about it. It was the same score.
"The whole Adelaide Byrd scoring [in Alvarez-Golovkin] was just nuts. I did not see it that way. A lot of people could have seen a close fight, and that's OK, but Adelaide Byrd did a ridiculous thing. It's just ridiculous. It's ruining [the sport] and it's actually pissing me off the more that I think about it. It's ruining boxing; it's ruining the game."
Donaire admits he's a good friend of Alvarez and was cheering for him to win. But watching Saturday's fight unfold, he was fairly certain how the scorecards would read.
"I really thought GGG had him. I did not agree with the 118-110," Donaire said. "I thought it was a close fight, but I thought GGG was the man who made the fight happen. Secondly, he was the aggressor and was landing more. Overall, when it comes down to talent, I would have to say Canelo has the better talent. But when it comes down to that fight, I thought GGG pulled victory in his favor."
But Donaire became animated when talking about what the impact of egregious scorecards like Byrd's on Saturday has on both fighters and the sport.
"Everyone is turned off by it and talking about how boxing is dead," Donaire said. "Boxing will never die, but because of this, boxing gets hit again after a tremendous fight where everyone was viewing it. That was a great fight with two powerful guys who went in there showing heart, granite chin, everything. For them to do that just stabs boxing in the heart.
"People, we work so hard. This is our game. This is our livelihood. This is what we do for a living. We are not doctors; we are not lawyers. This is what we do, and she is messing it up.
"Even if we are requesting not to have them or have her there, Nevada still puts her there. It's like, 'You don't get to say how what you want to say. We control this and this is what it's going to be.' And it's frustrating for us."
Under fire from the media for defending Byrd's credibility after the fight, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett finally agreed he would force her to "take a small break" from major fights for the near future.
"I'm not going to put her right back in," Bennett said on Saturday. "She'll still be in the business, but she needs to catch her breath. Like in any profession, you have a bad night. Unfortunately, she didn't do well. I can tell you she conducts training for us, takes judges under her wing, but her score was too wide."
Even the often gracious and mild-mannered Glolovkin showed agitation for the result after the fight.
"This is terrible for sport of boxing," Golovkin said. "This is biggest fight for boxing. If judges like today, this is terrible. Unbelievable, unbelievable."