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?

10 thoughts on “Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (May 2015)

  1. Bravo, well said.

    I found the Joshua assault on the hapless Johnson icing on the cake of a pretty despicable fight. Almost nowhere in the media was it mentioned — just oohs and aahs for Joshua’s performance in beating on another has-been. The shark-bait phase of his career is already tiresome.

    Incidentally, I recall Laurence Cole. Whenever FNF was in Texas, he could be found running the ring and reliably ruining a fight. Contemptible shit.

    • Joshua-Johnson was a perfectly acceptable fight at this stage of AJ’s career, in my opinion, but it’s the attendant hype about the second coming of Lennox Lewis that is tiresome. Blowing away Johnson was impressive but he’s still just a journeyman. Dillian Whyte could be quite interesting in September if it’s made. Whyte is limited, but has ambition, and enmity exists between the two after Whyte defeated Joshua when both were novice amateurs.

      Thanks. Cole has long been a thorn in my enjoyment of boxing cards in Texas.

      • Agree the hype is overdone. Let’s see Joshua handle some solid young top 20 completion before we anoint him. I don’t doubt he can — so on with it!

        As it happens I have seen two of Whyte’s fights and heard the likeable boxer interviewed by Kugan Cassius. Unless there is much more to him I’m missing, he doesn’t seem to have the head movement or footwork that will help him evade Joshua’s long reach. I’ll be rooting for him; he’ll need it, amateurs win notwithstanding.

      • Glad to hear you’re a fan of the IFL interviews — I watch them on an almost daily basis and they’re an invaluable resource for any fan of the British boxing scene.

        Whyte would be likable if it wasn’t for his drugs ban. AJ likely bombs him out early, but he’d be the first guy with the ambition to punch him back

  2. Yeah, very enjoyable interviews.

    Among their appeals is the verité approach — Whyte, for instance, talking on the street in Brixton (a place known to me only from the Clash song). I’d like to see more boxers featured in contexts other than the gym or cruising in expensive cars, imagery now rote in the All Access and 24/7 film grammar. I think it’s what made — and humanized him in the process — the Mayweather-Paulie phone conversation so watchable. I like Cassius’s sensibility, too. “I’m in Brixton today. I’ve just tracked down the legendary Gary Coleman…” A far cry from the over-earnest boxing stuff clogging the internets.

    Speaking of verité or veritas, Cassius was criticized in the comments on YouTube as a toff pretending to be working class. That was interesting to an outsider; it’s an accusation almost impossible to conceive in a similar US cultural context. Here, as you know, money talks (though Bob Dylan insists it actually doesn’t talk, it swears).

    Didn’t know about the drugs ban for Whyte. My comment on likability is directed to personality only.

    • Kugan has amazing people skills. He’s a born interviewer & is on such an effortlessly friendly basis with almost everyone he films. That’s what makes his interviews so watchable & allows his subjects to be relaxed and open up. Infinitely preferable to the obsequious Elie Seckbach.

      Indeed. I still want Whyte to knock out AJ, who, let’s face it, with his physique is highly suspicious also.

  3. Seckbach! Sometimes, the democratization of media brought on by the internet depresses me. The meeting of fanboy narcissism and the new technologies was sort of a match made in hell. Not to be too pessimistic about it, but maybe we should just empty the time capsules of their Rembrandts, Bach and Dante now, and stuff them full of moronic YouTube videos. That is what’s going to survive, cockroach-like, and skitter into the future: the many-legged spirit of Elie’s Greatest Hits. But even he must take a backseat to PewDiePie, the screeching video gamer YouTube star (who if you haven’t seen, you really must watch for two or three seconds in order to see what $4m/year buys):

    Could be a decent boxing weekend ahead. Planning to catch the Spike card (Lara, Beterbiev, A. Peterson).

    • Your characterization of Seckbach as “cockroach-like” and “many-legged” is both hilarious and apt. Seriously “many-legged” has to be the funniest thing I’ve yet read on my blog blog (trumping “cro-magnon”), inc. anything I’ve written haha. I was laughing through breakfast after seeing it!

      As for ‘PewDiePie’, I was unaware of him until now. I’ve heard of stealing a living, but this is ridiculous. More annoying even than Seckbach’s “repooorrrrrriiiing” catchphrase.

      Walters-Marriaga, and Verdejo (possibly one of the biggest stars of the future) making his HBO debut could be an excellent card.

      Spike card is full of mismatches, but I’m a longtime D-Rod fan & Beterbiev is can’t miss tv whoever he’s in against.

      Wilder’s sweet homecoming Alabama is the most predictable world title fight of the year.

      4th and final day of shooting on the short just completed.

      • Haha, cheers.

        Spike card lackluster in the end, and no Peterson (opponent didn’t make weight).

        Keen to see your film when you have a cut!

      • It’ll be a couple of months before I have a cut I’m going to share around, but of course I’ll email it on then & look forward to your take on it

        Poor card & main event has to be a leading contender for most boring & pointless fight of the year. Let’s hope tonight’s boxing is more entertaining

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