Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (June 2015)

June 20th – Tony Weeks allowed Adrien Broner to get away with far too much holding and various other infractions against Shawn Porter, allowing the fight to descend into a bit of a mess. A point deduction finally came in round 11, but by then it was too late to salvage a real spectacle.

Adalaide Byrd’s 114-112 also failed to reflect what was a wide win for Porter.

 

Steve St-Germain called an obvious shove knockdown #2 in Luis Ortiz’s blowout of elephantine journeyman Byron Polley.

Incidentally, how can a man as out-of-shape as Polley be given a license to fight, much less against a rising talent like Ortiz? It’s decisions like this from boxing commissions that makes the sport a laughing stock sometimes.

 

June 26th – Jack Reiss incorrectly ruled a knockdown against Sam Soliman in round 4 of his contest with Dominic Wade.

It probably cost Soliman dearly in a disputed split decision loss.

 

June 27th – Ref Eddie Hernandez blew a a knockdown that should have been awarded to Jair Quintero in round 2 versus Leandro Chavez.

The two point margins on all 3 cards for Chavez indicate that the call may have cost Quintero the fight.

 

Ref Larry Doggett has received huge criticism online for his display during the Amnat Ruenroeng-Johnriel Casimero flyweight title fight in Thailand. (Full disclosure: I haven’t seen this fight…nor do I want to, given how unwatchable it is supposed to have been)

Home fighter Ruenroeng, who fights like a flyweight version of Bernard Hopkins, reportedly made Klitschko-Povetkin look like a clean fight, with a variety of egregious fouls throughout the contest & two blown knockdown calls to the detriment of Casimero. Ruenroeng emerged with the decision win, but somehow I don’t think HBO will be looking to put him on their airwaves against divisional champ Roman Gonzalez.

A more detailed report on the foul-fest (as well as the Pat Russell gaff which I will be covering momentarily) is available via David Greisman of Boxingscene: http://www.boxingscene.com/fighting-words-really-rough-night-refereeing–92911

 

With Tim Bradley reeling and possibly on the verge of being knocked out, aged ref Pat Russell called a halt to proceedings 10 seconds too early, when he mistook the 10-second clapper for the final bell.

Incredibly, Russell made the same mistake a whopping FOUR times when officiating Amnat Ruenroeng vs. McJoe Arroyo last year, once costing Arroyo an opportunity for a knockout. Somebody give this man a hearing aid.

David Greisman reports that Russell has retired following the Bradley-Vargas error & hopefully he stays that way. Old referees who no longer have the physical capabilities to carry out their job to a competent level should be put out to pasture more often.

 

Oh, Ian John-Lewis, it just wouldn’t be a month of boxing without you somehow contriving to make an absolute mess of things.

During the 2nd round of Rocky Fielding-Bryan Vera, Vera slipped to the canvas and Fielding hit him when he was down. Vera quickly rose with a wry smile, as Lewis indecisively came between the fighters and Fielding proceeded to clock an unprotected Vera with a left hook that dropped him. How can a referee rule a knockdown after a boxer has risen from a slip without a break in the action?!

Lewis inexplicably picked up his count regardless (the timekeeper starts his count from the initial slip & Lewis idiotically carries it on after the actual knockdown, meaning Vera boxes on 5 seconds after hitting the canvas) & the TKO followed shortly afterwards, with Lewis doing his usual shtick of stopping a fighter on his feet in the least decisive manner possible.

Credit to pundit Paul Smith for calling Lewis out on his “shocking refereeing”, but the faux disbelief of Johnny Nelson to Smith’s criticism of Lewis and ‘pretend it didn’t happen’ attitude of the other Sky Sports broadcasters was disappointing but not surprising. Can you imagine the stink they would have made had it been Fielding who had lost in that manner?

One only has to look back at Lewis screwing Brian Rose against Carson Jones (a fight which, incidentally, will now have a rematch) earlier this year to find the answer.

As his errors stack up month after month, it’s increasingly obvious that Lewis is a danger to any boxers he referees and should not be allowed anywhere near a boxing ring, and the same goes for his displays as a judge.

On that note, it was somewhat heartening to read the following tweet from journalist Ron Lewis: “Ian John-Lewis was up before the Board this month. Fined under regulation 25, which I believe is misconduct. Said he is being monitored.”

Hopefully, he will have to explain this latest disaster too.

 

30/6/2015 EDIT: Ian John-Lewis’ fine was supposedly for turning up late for a fight, rather than for any of his terrible recent officiating performances.

Any faith I had in the effectiveness of the British Boxing Board of Control as an arbiter for boxing fairness & doing what’s right for its licence-holders is gone.

June 29th’s Random Boxing Rants

Hassan N’Dam put Paul Smith & Adrien Broner to shame with his incredible display of bravery against David Lemieux.

While Smith and Broner took their big paydays & put in gunshy non-efforts, N’Dam (who sadly had to settle for a paltry $50k purse) got up from 4 heavy knockdowns, and, more than that, never stopped firing and trying to win.

He is a real warrior, as evidenced also by rising from 6 knockdowns in his prior loss to Peter Quillin.

As for Lemieux, while he’s still quite raw, his performance was revelatory & was the sort of powerhouse display at world level that those who saw him as one of boxing’s top prospects a few years ago hoped to see one day, and that seemed improbable after his back-to-back 2011 defeats.

He’ll be a priority for Oscie & co.at the new downsized Golden Boy, and expect at least a couple of moneymaking hometown defences before they even think about putting him in with someone like Golovkin

 

Broner it seems is more Zab Judah than Floyd Mayweather: a good fighter who will lose more often than not when in against B-level competition and up.

There’s no shame in that, but his trash talking is increasingly embarrassing & it’s frankly a relief that we won’t have to tolerate his antics at the very elite level for the next decade, as was the fear when he was streaking his way through the lower weights & getting premature ‘pound for pound’ plaudits.

Thank you, Marcos Maidana, for taking it all away from him

 

Kell Brook vs. Brandon Rios is a good fight if it gets made

 

Bravo to Lee Haskins for earning the title shot he’s always craved, with an impressive KO of the favoured Iwasa

 

Andy Lee vs. Billy Joe Saunders has been set, against my expectations, for Thomond Park rugby stadium, Limerick in September. What an outdoor event it will be.

I’ll be there live & it’s the biggest fight in Ireland since at least Bernard Dunne’s nationally-televised heyday and loss to Poonsawat.

As for the fight itself, it has the potential to be a war, and could go any number of different ways. I see Saunders building up an early points lead before being stopped down the stretch

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (May 2015)

May 2nd – May was a bad month for boxing officials, but let’s begin with some positivity.

The scrutiny on the officials was at an all-time high for Mayweather-Pacquiao, and while referee Kenny Bayless let Mayweather get away with too much holding in the early rounds (it has to be said that he’s probably no longer boxing’s top referee at this point), the three judges got the scoring spot on.

Hats off to Burt Clemens, Dave Moretti and Glenn Feldman for doing their jobs well when the pressure was on.

 

May 9th – Texas is a tough place to get a fair shake if you’re the away fighter and this card in Hidalgo was a prime example.

Possibly boxing’s worst big fight ref, Laurence Cole (who gets these assignments solely because his father is the head of the state’s athletic commission), botched the Omar Figueroa-Ricky Burns main event, unjustly docking two points from Burns for holding and ludicrously grabbing his arm continuously to move it out of the way mid-clinch, thereby allowing Figueroa a free shot.

Despite the actions of this idiot referee, Burns still fought well enough to win on my card, only to be robbed by the 116-110 cards of Don Griffin and Cathy Leonard, and the laughably biased 117-109 from Nelson Vazquez.

Earlier that night in London, underdog Lee Markham, in my view, did more than enough to upset fan favourite Frank Buglioni.

The generous 96-94 of Dave Parris and 95-95 of Jose Ignacio Martinez meant that he had to settle for a draw.

On the undercard, Mitchell Smith hit Cristian Palma when he was down, knocking him out.

This happened in full view of the confused ref, Terry O’Connor, who simply ignored it and began his ten count.

At what point does something like this become a disqualifiable offence? It happens in too many fights and, as with many of the more rare occurences in boxing, there doesn’t seem to be any firm rule on how an official should act.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask for a little damn consistency. This same problem will crop up again on the 30th.

In Germany, Fedor Chudinov dominated a shot Felix Sturm, but one judge didn’t see it that way.

Juan Manuel Garcia Reyes can fuck off and never judge again, and take his 116-112 score for Sturm with him.

 

May 16th – In a 6 rounder on Golovkin’s undercard, Daniel Perales was inexplicably waved off when in no apparent distress with 10 seconds left in the fight against prospect Pedro Duran.

Referee Wayne Hedgepeth was the offending party.

 

May 22nd – Massimo Barrovecchio somehow let Mike Perez continue after rising on very wobbly legs from the first knockdown against Alexander Povetkin.

Barrovecchio is lucky that he didn’t get Perez seriously hurt.

 

May 23rd – How did Alan Davis see the close James DeGale-Andre Dirrell fight 117-109 in DeGale’s favour?

On the undercard, Edwin Rodriguez got a premature stoppage victory over Craig Baker in the 3rd round.

Grey-haired ref Robert Benoit looked positively geriatric in his movements and erroneous decision-making in both this bout and in another undercard fight, one which he thankfully didn’t affect the result of.

 

May 30th – After Laurence Cole’s display earlier in the month, Ian-John Lewis (you know him, he’s the lad who annoyingly squeaks “I am the weferee” through his nose before every fight he refs) evidently felt compelled to re-assert his claim as boxing’s worst official.

First, he had Kevin Mitchell leading Jorge Linares by 6 points at the time of his 10th round stoppage loss, which was way out of line with anybody else’s perception of a closely-contested fight.

Then he reffed the Anthony Joshua-Kevin Johnson mismatch. Joshua heavily dropped Johnson in the final seconds of the round and then viciously hit him when he was down. Lewis had two options: to count the knockdown regardless of the punches on a downed opponent (which would have been wrong, in my opinion), or to deduct points from Joshua while allowing Johnson the time to recover from the foul.

He did neither. Firstly, he waved his arms as if to signal an end to the fight, before evidently changing his mind in the ensuing seconds and just ushering Johnson to the corner, choosing to ignore that anything had ever happened.

What a goddamn joke & one made possible by boxing’s over-reliance on a referee’s capricious interpretation in the cases of punches landing when a fighter is down, which all-too-often takes the form of ignoring the foul as long as it benefits the home fighter.

Can anybody point me to a rule that can clear this problem up? And, if there isn’t one, can’t one be put in place by the authorities who are supposed to be policing this sport?

Pound4poundireland Scorecards from May 2015

Konstantin Ponomarev 99-91 Mikael Zewski, officially UD

Chris Pearson 99-92 Said El Harrak, officially UD

Leo Santa Cruz 100-90 Jose Cayetano, officially UD

Floyd Mayweather Jr. 118-110 Manny Pacquiao, officially UD, Mayweather wins vacant Welterweight Championship

Ricky Burns 114-112 Omar Figueroa, officially Figueroa by UD

Tomoki Kameda 115-112 Jamie McDonnell, officially McDonnell by UD

Lee Markham 97-93 Frank Buglioni, officially a DRAW

Fedor Chudinov 119-109 Felix Sturm, officially SD

Andre Dirrell 114-112 James DeGale, officially DeGale by UD, DeGale wins vacant Super Middleweight title

Javier Fortuna 116-113 Bryan Vasquez, officially UD

Amir Khan 115-113 Chris Algieri, officially UD

May 23rd’s Random Boxing Rants

* A few reflections on ‘shoulder-gate':

So Manny Pacquiao refused the fight in 2010, and one of the reasons cited was a fear of needles, but now the complaint is that he wasn’t allowed to have an injection 90 mins. prior to the first bell? The irony.

Freddie Roach said countless times that Mayweather’s legs were “shot” & that he had refined a gameplan over the years to beat him, only to accuse Mayweather of “running” post-fight. The shameless irony.

Can anybody imagine the earth-shattering hate that would have befallen the already widely-despised Mayweather had he lost in one-sided fashion, only to claim that he won, while simultaneously blaming the loss on an injury?!

We’ll never know just how serious Pacquiao’s injury was, and if pulling out of the fight when it flared up in training would have forced a cancellation due to the necessity of surgery, or whether the fight could simply have been rescheduled for July or so after the shoulder had been given a rest (after all, Pacquiao’s camp have said that the shoulder had been a recurrent problem since at least 2010).

Certainly, the immediate post-fight shoulder surgery that Pacquiao has undergone is a smart PR move, whether it was strictly urgent or not.

I expect a rematch, unnecessary from a competitive sporting standpoint but still the most lucrative fight in boxing, to happen next year.

Rematch or not, and whatever anyone thinks about the excitment factor of the contest itself, we finally have our answer: Mayweather is the best boxer of his generation.

* I wonder if Al Haymon will allow Deontay Wilder anywhere near mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin, after he blew away Mike Perez in a round yesterday.

Povetkin’s Russian backers are one of the few who can outbid Haymon’s hedge fund in a purse bid scenario.

* Incidentally, it’s sad to see Mike Perez’s career fading away.

A textbook case of a talented Cuban defector who hates training.

* A pity to see the end of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights series, which is being replaced by one of Al Haymon’s PBC time-buys.

* So USADA have dubbed baseball player Alex Rodriguez’s doping program the most potent they’ve ever seen: http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/10297946/alex-rodriguez-doping-plan-most-potent-ever-seen-usada-says

But what about Yuriorkis Gamboa’s doping regimen, also designed by Bosch?

Is anybody in boxing ever going to investigate this?

* Despite Frank Warren’s best efforts, Saunders-Eubank Jr. II has fallen apart due to unsurprisingly unreasonable demands from the Eubank side regarding the interim trinket he picked up in his last fight.

Maybe Andy Lee against Saunders will finally happen now…