Australian Stevie Spark has been cruelly denied the WBA intercontinental super lightweight title on Sunday in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico.
On the card ahead of the blockbuster Canelo Alvarez vs John Ryder bout, the Aussie looked to have done enough against Mexican star Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela.
As the fighters waited after the 12th round came to an end, fans watching on were convinced the Aussie would have his hand raised and the title wrapped around his waist.
But the judges saw it differently, handing the victory to Valenzuela via split decision 96-93, 94-95 & 95-94️.
Those watching on simply couldn’t believe the Aussie hadn’t won the fight on the cards after having the upper hand on his opponent throughout the majority of the 12 rounds.
Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn wrote immediately after the final bell: “Two absolute warriors! How you got it? I have Spark edging it.”
CODE Sports’ Brendan Bradford wrote: “Stevie Spark robbed in Mexico. Loses a split decision to Gabriel Gollaz. Boxing is boxing.”
Main Event’s Ben Damon wrote: “Australia’s Stevie Spark has been robbed by split decision in Mexico. Great fight and tough effort from local Gabriel Gollaz Valenzuela but despite the knockdown he did not win the fight. I had Spark 96-93.”
Spark was knocked down by a body shot in the sixth round but recovered well and looked to have done more than enough to earn victory.
The Aussie outlanded his rival significantly in power punches, landing 176 to 86.
Fans were quick to point the finger at the judges for favouring the hometown hero with many believing the main event was already decided.
Alvarez in front of his home fans enters as the heavy favourite against his British opponent, but with the result going against Spark on the cards fans aren’t convinced.
It’s Alvarez’s first fight in Mexico in almost 12 years with the 32-year-old expected to deliver a show for his local fans.
After a mixed 2022, the highly-regarded number one pound for pound boxer is ready to show why he’s one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
“I’m so excited to show everybody they’re wrong,” he said of critics.
“I’m very excited and motivated. Be careful with that.”
Alvarez acknowledges, though, that his opponent Ryder, who heads into the bout on a run of four straight wins, has nothing to lose.