Pound4poundireland’s 2015 Fighter of the Year

Fighter of the Year

1. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

2. Tyson Fury

3. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez

This is not a popularity contest.

This is not a personality contest.

Based on accomplishment in the ring, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the Fighter of the Year for 2015.

The facile Berto coda was meaningless, this is all about the Pacquiao fight. It was craved as much as any other bout in history, teased for 5+ years, and caught the imagination of the wider sport-watching public & way, way beyond.

As with many mega-fights in boxing, it took place when the fighters were past their prime, and, unfortunately, it was a damp squib in terms of action, Mayweather making Pacquiao look like almost all of his prior opponents, comfortably outboxing him for a wide decision win.

Nobody had ever done anything approaching this to Pacquiao before.

Distracting talk of Pacquiao’s (laughable excuse/)shoulder injury aside, Mayweather proved beyond doubt that he is by far the best boxer of his generation.

IV/USADA-gate was another dampener on what was a cynical money grab from everyone involved, but no fighter produced anything this year to rival Mayweather’s display of pure boxing mastery from 7 months ago.

mayweather.pacquiao

However, Tyson Fury’s display to ‘out-Klitschko’ Klitschko and improbably lift the heavyweight crown comes in at a healthy second place.

An easy win over clubfighter Christian Hammer confirmed his credentials as a solid mandatory challenger for Klitschko, who had reigned for 9 1/2 years (the 2nd longest title reign in heavyweight history) over 18 successful defences.

A Fury knockout due to Klitschko’s much maligned chin was remotely conceivable, but not the manner in which he made Klitschko malfunction with his reach, size and constant movement. Klitschko’s final punch output of just 52 landed out of 231 was desultory. He looked old and unable to pull the trigger.

Ultimately, it was a close fight but Fury was not to be denied, walking away with the biggest prize in boxing to compliment his formidable size and self belief.

A rematch is in negotiations for May or June, and, while it will likely be another messy affair, it is intriguing. The result will go a long way to determining the future of the division in the coming years.

Canelo had his best year yet in 2015, confirming his status as Mexico’s premier fighter.

Washing the bad taste from many people’s mouths post-Mayweather-Pacquiao was never going to be an easy task, but Canelo did his best just a week later with a brutal knockout of James Kirkland in front of a partisan packed house at the Houston Astros’ baseball stadium.

Then came the fight craved by so many, a middleweight championship showdown (albeit at a catchweight unfortunately dictated by the champion) with Miguel Cotto, and, thus, the torch was passed.

The bigger Canelo used a mixture of brawn & sharp, composed boxing skills to win a well-deserved decision and make his first real mark in the history books.

Canelo has balls, and has to be praised for the high level opposition he’s consistently faced since taking on Austin Trout in mid-2013.

If anyone’s going to give Gennady Golovkin the shot at super-stardom he so deserves, it’s Canelo, and the fight is mooted for September.

Fights to look forward to in 2016?

Note: I’ve kept this list to fights that can realistically happen next year, hence why you won’t see any fights like Thurman-Bradley or Santa Cruz-Lomachenko on this list that are prevented by promotional/TV differences.

 

  1. Anthony Joshua-David Haye

God knows what’s left of David Haye, or what he’ll look like after a 3 and a half year layoff & major surgery, but this classic clash of young and old could quite easily be built up into a money-spinning stadium filler.

 

2. Deontay Wilder-Alexander Povetkin

Povetkin, mandatory to Wilder’s portion of the title, would be the perfect test of Wilder’s still-largely-untested pretensions of bringing American glory back to the heavyweight division.

Only count on this fight taking place if a deal can be arranged to bring it to America. If a purse bid dictates Russia, then Haymon will almost certainly have Wilder bin his belt.

 

3. Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward

Probably the best fight that can realistically be made for next year, and, supposedly, a deal is already tentatively in place if they both win 1 or 2 interim bouts.

Can Ward make his layoff pay off, or will his years on the shelf rob him of the apex of his prime needed to beat the fearsome, also highly skilled Kovalev?

The winner of this one could lay a strong claim to pound for pound supremacy.

 

4. Adonis Stevenson-Artur Beterbiev

Stevenson-Kovalev never happened due to the Haymon/Main Events divide, but this is the next best thing.

It could be the logical passing of the Haymon 175lb. torch, as the unbeaten amateur sensation meets an ageing champion who has been on a steady diet of also-rans.

 

5. James DeGale-Badou Jack 

This fight would decide the #1 super middleweight in the world (sorry, Arthur Abraham), and is makeable because they are both with Haymon.

Jack has been a real success story in 2015 & his high-activity pressure style should be a good match with the slick, but hittable and sometimes lazy, southpaw DeGale.

 

6. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin

Golovkin is Canelo’s mandatory but that doesn’t seem to mean much to the Mexican sanctioning body in question.

That said, the fight seems possible for September, would once & for all decide the true middleweight champion, and would either establish Canelo as a true Mexican great or give Golovkin the marquee name he’s been craving to propel him to PPV stardom and the big bucks his talent deserves.

 

7. Billy Joe Saunders-Chris Eubank Jr. II

They served up a thriller laced with bad blood in 2014, and, now that Saunders has a world title, it’s a rematch that makes sense next year.

It’s made more realistic due to Eubank’s surprise departure from Matchroom & Boxnation’s announcement of a new PPV outlet, meaning more money to make bigger matchups.

 

8. Kell Brook-Amir Khan

God, how we’ve longed for this fight.

Maybe now that Mayweather and Pacquiao have definitively given Khan the finger, he will finally take the big pot of gold on offer for a Brook Wembley showdown.

Does Khan still have the passion for boxing, fighting as infrequently as he has & begging in the media for big fights, rather than going out and earning them? Could that be the difference if it happens?

 

9. Keith Thurman-Shawn Porter

Rumoured for February or March, this is a fight fans have been calling for since Porter beat Broner in June.

He’ll get his shot at a career-defining win, and provide Thurman with a chance to justify his hype by taking on a top welterweight in his prime.

 

10. Viktor Postol-Terence Crawford

Who’s the best at 140lbs.?

This fight would decide all, and would match two of the best technicians in the sport. Let’s hope it happens before Crawford moves to welterweight & calls for super fights.

 

11. Takashi Uchiyama-Nicholas Walters

Uchiyama has long been one of the best fighters few outside the hardcore fans have heard of, and is the top man at 130lbs.

A rumoured trip to America to take on the rapidly rising ‘Axe Man’ Walters would be a premier matchup & chance to showcase his skills to the widest audience.

 

12. Gary Russell Jr.-Leo Santa Cruz

There are many excellent in-house fights that Haymon can make in his loaded featherweight stable, but this is the one that I like the most.

Russell’s speed versus Santa Cruz’s relentless pressure would be a delicious confrontation.

 

13. Roman Gonzalez-Juan Francisco Estrada II

Here we are again…

They served up a jr. flyweight thriller in 2012, and, as the top two boxers at flyweight, a rematch is a must.

Now that Gonzalez has made a name for himself on HBO, this could be bankrolled as a ‘Boxing After Dark’ headliner in the summer somewhere in America.

Winner versus Naoya Inoue in 2017, please?

December 30th’s Random Boxing Rants

Via Dan Rafael on twitter: “Awesome [Tommy Burns vs. Jack Johnson] factoid from 107 yrs ago today: The promoter (Hugh McIntosh) served as referee!! 1st fight he ever officiated!”

I can name a few 21st century promoters who wouldn’t mind operating under those rules.

 

It’s been enjoyable & informative, but quite a task, to compile a list of boxing’s worst offenders in the area of officiating each month in my Judging the Judges segment which debuted this year on Pound4Pound Ireland.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…yet boxing has a way of forgetting about past sins & assigning the same officials involved in botching fights to the next big one.

With that in mind, who were some of the worst repeat offenders of the year?

Ian John-Lewis tops the list with a whopping 7 gaffes in the 11 months I covered, with countrymen Marcus McDonnell, Terry O’Connor, Dave Parris and Steve Gray all repeat offenders also.

I’ll admit that this is somewhat skewed due to my viewing of British boxing being more comprehensive than international bouts, but one can only draw the conclusion that British boxing has some of the worst referees and judges in the world.

Pat Russell, responsible most notably this year for ending Bradley-Vargas ten seconds too early with Bradley reeling, takes the boxing razzie for worst international official with 3 total offences on my scale of incompetence.

 

 

How did my prospect of the year picks for 2015 pan out?

(https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/pound4poundirelands-2014-fight-knockout-round-prospect-upset-and-trainer-of-the-year/)

Felix Verdejo made his HBO debut and continued to progress, although a hand injury did put him on the shelf for a while.

Errol Spence made it look easy as he demolished a quartet of fringe contenders at 147. He’s ready for world level in 2016.

Oleksandr Usyk continued to rise at cruiserweight with 3 wins, and, despite middling opposition, looks ready for anybody after just 9 pro fights.

Definitely a blue chip trio of ‘can’t miss’ future titlists.

 

 

What about the fights I hoped would happen in 2015?

(https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/fights-to-look-forward-to-in-2015/)

Unfortunately, only 3 of the 12 hoped-for fights happened, although Frampton-Quigg is set for February.

Not a good haul.

Some of the fights on the list (Canelo-GGG & Brook-Khan, for example) just might be ready to ripen in 2016, while others (Stevenson-Kovalev & Lomachenko-Walters) seem unlikely to ever take place.

 

Wrap-up of the two big UK cards that ended the boxing year: Saunders MD12 Lee: a purist’s exercise in fistic chess.

I was very impressed by Saunders, and expect him to be matched right (think more Tommy Langford than GGG) & hold onto the belt for quite a while.

He showed great improvement from the Eubank Jr. contest a year ago. His strategy was spot on, he kept his composure throughout, showed surprising power, and, even though he again faded to a degree late, it seemed less due to conditioning than to playing it safe with a healthy lead in hand.

As for Lee, his luck was bound to run out sooner rather than later, but he showed great heart as always to survive the torrid third round. He can come again right back into a significant fight, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the ring with Danny Jacobs next year in NYC.

 

Joshua KO7 Whyte topped the card of the year on December 12th.

I’m not usually given over to unqualified superlatives, but this was a night of thrilling entertainment that left me breathless.

Two upsets were authored by Barroso knocking out Mitchell (to earn a shot at Anthony Crolla) & Luke Campbell floundering, and Bellew-Masternak was fun.

All heart, no head from Eubank Jr. in the co-feature. I couldn’t believe I was watching an Adam Booth fighter in there. He’s nowhere near ready for Danny Jacobs (whom he’s now mandatory for) & I’d be surprised if he’s sent to New York to fight him next year.

Perfect stoppage by Spike’s corner after round 7. It boggles the mind that the same corner let Frank Buglioni absorb a full 12 rounds of hellacious punishment against Fedor Chudinov in September. Maybe they’ve learned a valuable lesson.

The Campbell loss was one of the biggest upsets of the year, as he was one of the sport’s brightest prospects.

He’ll learn a lot from the defeat but was seriously exposed at this stage of his development. His weak, amateurish punches hardly penetrated Yvan Mendy’s guard at all, and, as a bantamweight amateur, clearly he had trouble dealing with pressure from a decently skilled, natural lightweight. In fact, Mendy has gone 12 rounds with divisonal leader Viktor Postol at 140lbs.

A lot of work for ‘Cool Hand’ to do, but I still think that someday he will win a world title. However, the expected showdown next year with Anthony Crolla is down the tubes.

I knew the AJ journey would be exciting, but the main event was a surprisingly early test of his mettle. He flirted with disaster and it’s telling of how raw he is that he struggled so mightily the first time he faced somebody with ambition, a decent chin and who threw punches of his own in return.

A world level fighter would likely have ended matters in the 2nd, which puts the kibosh on the hype merchants who would have us believe that Joshua is already one of the best in the world. His defence needs to be improved, and he lacked fluency in there at times, appearing stiff in the shoulders. Those improbable muscles had him gulping oxygen mighty early too.

On the plus side, he’ll have gained a lot of experience & his composure from round 4 onwards to break a tiring Whyte down was admirable, as was the spectacular finish.

Spike & Whyte both see their stock rise in defeat, and can come again. I see Joshua-Whyte II in the future. In Joshua’s immediate future, perhaps it will be Chisora next on April 9th, or Helenius for the European title?

 

Funniest boxing moment of 2015?

My vote goes to the belated realization of Alan Partridge’s concept of Chris Eubank reviewing youth hostels.

 

Bonus Eubank hilarity to end the year’s ‘random rants’.

Frank Bruno could never dance that well.

Happy 2016 everybody!

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Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (January 2016)

The Erkan Teper-David Price situation is everything that’s wrong with boxing’s fractured governance and poorly managed PED testing.

Jake Donovan’s report for Boxingscene.com outlines the lurid chain of events in detail: http://www.boxingscene.com/teper-dealt-two-year-ban-price-ko-changed-no-contest–99702?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

The German Boxing Federation (BDB) are most at fault: taking five months to disclose the failed test for the Price fight; it only coming to light now that Teper had previously failed a test & was given a short ban in mid-2014; and for failing to inform the European Boxing Union about any of this until December 2015, when Teper had shortly beforehand been scheduled to fight once again for their title.

It was also somehow not revealed publicly that a police raid on Teper’s residence in April of last year uncovered vast amounts of PEDs (for example, clenbuterol, testosterone, growth hormone and Methandrostenolone).

Despite what Donovan’s article says, it remains to be seen whether Price’s loss to Teper will be officially changed to a ‘no contest’. For unknown reasons, the EBU say that the result stands, while the BDB disagree.

David Price’s career has essentially been destroyed by drug cheats, his other two losses coming to Tony Thompson, who failed a test after his 2nd knockout of Price (another fight not yet changed to a ‘no contest’), as well as after his next fight against Kubrat Pulev.

 

 

January 16th – Pasquale Procopio & Waleska Roldan’s 78-74 scores in favour of defending titlist Deontay Wilder at the time he knocked out plucky challenger Artur Szpilka were simply not in line with reality and smacked of bias towards the house fighter.

Thankfully, Wilder’s bomb of a right hand meant the ending was devoid of controversy.

 

On the undercard, another heavyweight title bout was cut short by a leg injury suffered by Vyacheslav Glazkov against Charles Martin.

But what makes this a matter for inclusion in this segment is that Glazkov’s slip which caused the injury was precipitated by a large, slick advertisement, which had been plastered to the ring canvas.

This sort of thing happens far too often: causing slips to be ruled as fight-altering knockdowns, and, in the case of Glazkov, injuring boxers completely unnecessarily.

It’s rarely mentioned but is a good example of boxing’s craziness. What other sport would allow such a risk?

I can’t imagine slippery advertising being stamped on the centre court of Wimbledon to impair movement & significantly heighten the possibility of Roger Federer falling on his ass in front of millions.

 

January 22nd – Ahmet Patterson seemingly ended his bout with Ryan Aston with a perfectly placed body shot in the 6th round, only for ref Marcus McDonnell to incorrectly rule it a low blow and give Aston time to recover.

Patterson ended matters almost immediately upon the restart, thankfully avoiding undue punishment for Aston or an alteration of the outcome.

 

January 30th – Jean Pascal was knocked down in the first round by Sergey Kovalev’s fearsome jab, only for ref Michael Griffin to rule it a slip, perhaps confused, continuing the theme of this month’s segment, by the presence of a large advertising ‘sticker’ under his feet at the time.

In fact, the advertising on the canvas did cause noticeable footing problems for both Kovalev and Pascal throughout this fight.

 

January 30th – Ref Victor Loughlin was in charge of the Tommy Martin-John Wayne Hibbert Commonwealth title contest, and caused controversy with the manner of his stoppage.

It was almost identical to the far more controversial Chisora-Scott stoppage on British shores in 2013: http://www.boxingscene.com/bbboc-explain-rejection-chisora-vs-scott-protest–68408

In short, Loughlin counted Martin out in the final round as he rose at the count of 9, rather than giving him the full ten to get to his feet. Why, you ask? Because that is the British Board’s senseless rule.

Unlike in other jurisdictions, in a British ring, you are considered ‘down’ when in the act of rising to your feet. Thus, essentially, you only have to floor your opponent for a 9 count to author a knockout.

In this case, unlike in Chisora-Scott, it didn’t affect the result, as Hibbert was well ahead on points with less than 90 seconds remaining on the clock.

Worryingly, this pedantic and arcane rule is obviously not well known outside of BBBofC officials, so I highly doubt that British fighters are aware of it when stepping into the ring to fight (Martin certainly wasn’t and neither were the Sky Sports broadcasters), and I even more strongly doubt that all visiting fighters, for example Malik Scott, are informed of it in their pre-fight instructions.

This obviously leaves the door open for fighters to unknowingly mistime their attempts to rise to their feet and creates needless controversy.

It’s a rule that serves no purpose and should be scrapped.

 

Let’s end by mentioning Frank Bruno, the 54 year old former heavyweight titlist who hasn’t fought since 1996, but announced plans for a comeback recently.

On top of his advanced age and inactivity, he has suffered through many bouts of well-publicized mental illness.

Thankfully, the British Board have said they will not consider licensing him, but one fears there are other entities out there, for example the Maltese and Latvian federations who still license completely shot boxers like Danny Williams, who will have no such scruples.

Let’s hope Bruno and those close to him see sense and don’t go ahead with this pipe dream.

“The Heavyweight King” by Springs Toledo, on behalf of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board

 

Introducing John L. Sullivan 1923

“Introducing John L. Sullivan” [without acronyms] by George Bellows (1923)

The Heavyweight King

Tyson Fury knows what the alphabet gangs do not: They don’t decide who the real champ is.

by Springs Toledo

Showtime’s Brian Custer recently referred to Deontay Wilder as the “world heavyweight champion” and so contributed to the mass confusion in boxing. Would-be fans —precisely the demographic the sport needs to attract— scratched their heads and wondered what the hell happened two weeks ago when Tyson Fury defeated Wlad Klitschko and was declared the “heavyweight champion of the world.” An unknown number of them reached for the clicker.
The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a fifty-member, all-volunteer initiative representing eighteen countries invites them to put the clicker down and stay tuned. It recommends approaching the sport as they would a holiday with family. When Uncle Ralph staggers over to intrude on a pleasant exchange claiming something is that assuredly isn’t, wave him off. If he can’t take a hint and proves immune to courteous correction, escort him to the door and lock him out in the cold. He’ll sober up eventually. Boxing is overrun with Uncle Ralphs. We find them well-poised on television and meticulous in print, but most of their claims regarding the championships are gobbledygook. Do any of them really believe there are eighty-six champions in the seventeen weight divisions? Do they know the difference between Deontay Wilder’s belt and the divisional crown?

 

THE CROWN VS. BELTS

Tyson Fury, insists the Board above the nonsense and the din, is heavyweight king. He takes his place in a succession that includes the vanquished Wlad Klitschko, fellow Briton Lennox Lewis, Fury’s namesake Mike Tyson, and thirty-three others give or take. Each divisional succession is an ongoing march through history with expected breaks and disruptions and which began with the first championship bout fought under the Marquess of Queensberry rules. The heavyweights’ stretch back at least to Gentleman Jim Corbett, if not John L. Sullivan — both sons of Éire like Fury himself.

Anyone with more sense than a partridge in a pear tree knows that there are two paths into a divisional succession: (1) defeat the true champion or (2) if said champion retires or otherwise abdicates, earn a top-two ranking and defeat the top or next-best contender.

And what of “world heavyweight champion” Wilder? He did neither. In January 2015, he defeated Bermane Stiverne (then ranked third in the Transnational Rankings when he was ranked sixth) after both contenders surrendered a percentage of their purses to the WBC. That belt Wilder carries is quite literally bought and paid for. It’s a fabrication; a fabrication puffed up by boxing media as something more but that had nothing to do with Wlad Klitschko and therefore had nothing to do with the heavyweight crown.

Wilder was fervent anyway. “I want to fight four times a year,” he said afterward. “Whoever’s ready, I’m ready.” The response of ESPN’s Dan Rafael was proof positive that the language in the sport must change: “Fight fans who have been searching for a [sic] American heavyweight champion surely are also.”

Tyson Fury understands the problem better than most. “If I want a belt, I can go and buy one,” he said last year. “It’s pointless. There’s the status of saying you’re a ‘world champion’, but when there’s twenty-five different world sanctioning bodies, it doesn’t mean nothing.”

TYSON FURY IN MUHAMMAD ALI’S FOOTSTEPS

Earlier this month, the IBF stripped Fury of their belt because of his intention to give Klitschko a rematch. The heavyweight king responded while doing roadwork. “They should take all of them away from me if they want,” he told reporter Peter Lane. “But they’ll never take what I’ve done.”

He’s in good company. The WBA pulled the same stunt on Muhammad Ali in 1964 after he agreed to a rematch against Sonny Liston. It was a move laughed at by yesterday’s more discerning boxing writers. “The WBA is an imaginary organization,” wrote Red Smith. “When Liston and Clay fight again and the winner is recognized as champion by the public, the press, and the participants, the WBA’s pretensions to power must evaporate.” At the other end of Ali’s career, the WBC took their own swing at his legacy when they stripped Leon Spinks in 1978 for agreeing to fight him in a rematch. They “awarded” the belt to Ken Norton and it was begrudgingly acknowledged by increasingly less-discerning boxing writers.

Trainer Peter Fury was more correct than we supposed when he compared Fury’s upset win over Klitschko with Ali’s upset win over Liston. Fury’s recent dismissal of homosexuality and the value of women in society left him wide open for censure, but Ali said worse. Before becoming America’s secular saint, Ali was a divisive figure who routinely thumbed his nose at the majority culture. “A black man should be killed if he’s messing with a white woman,” he said during a Playboy interview in 1975. And what of a Black Muslim woman who wants to go out with a white man? “Then she dies. Kill her, too.”

In case you haven’t noticed, Ali is celebrated by the very demographic that now condemns Fury.

A HERALD OF CHANGE?

Fury, who shuffled his feet familiarly a few times during the Klitschko fight, can likewise redefine himself as something other than a provocateur of the political left; he can step forward as a herald of change in boxing. Reform is in the air. It’s in his ear. “Gonna speak with [promoter] Mick [Hennessy] and & Tyson to give all belts away. Win em & vacate the lot. Money racket,” tweeted his trainer on December 9. “We know who the real champ is.”
The IBF, WBA, WBC, et al. would rather we didn’t. Unaccountable to anything outside their counting houses, they will continue to thrive in the mass confusion and make decisions based solely on their interests.
The heavyweight king is expected to do what is in his interests, but is also signaling his willingness to do something more.
The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s only interest resides in that “something more.” It will continue to provide clarity for fans and fighters alike by publishing clean, globally-represented rankings at http://www.tbrb.org and identifying “the real champs” with virtual crowns that don’t cost a thing.
_________________
Springs Toledo is a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. Special thanks to Jose Corpas and Tim Starks.

 

Pound4poundireland Scorecards from December 2015

Chris Algieri 98-91 Erick Bone, officially UD

Paulie Malignaggi 118-110 Antonio Moscatiello, officially UD

Yvan Mendy 116-111 Luke Campbell, officially SD

Tony Bellew 115-113 Mateusz Masternak, officially UD, Bellew wins vacant European Cruiserweight title

Craig Evans 96-94 Tom Stalker (rematch), officially a DRAW

George Jupp 96-94 Mitchell Smith, officially UD

Billy Joe Saunders 116-110 Andy Lee, officially MD, Saunders wins Middleweight title

Omar Figueroa 115-113 Antonio DeMarco, officially UD

Travis Kauffman 114-113 Chris Arreola, officially Arreola by SD

 

From August:

Leo Santa Cruz 117-111 Abner Mares, officially MD

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (November & December 2015)

November 4th – The latest poorly handled major Russian card of the year took place in Kazan.

 

Murzabekov-Bogere should have been stopped by ref Leszek Jankowiak after the second knockdown in round 2, which would have spared Bogere a brutal knockout.

 

Shortly before Afolabi upset home fighter Chakhkiev with a one punch ko, ref Grzegorz Molenda conveniently failed to notice an obvious knockdown scored by Afolabi.

 

Overall, the medical work at this card was atrocious, with doctors not tending properly to knocked out fighters: in some cases, raising them immediately to their feet, and not turning them to their sides to prevent the swallowing of their own tongue.

 

November 6th – In an incredible display of sportsmanship the likes of which I’ve never seen in boxing before, Dennis Don Kiy raised his opponent Andre Bunga’s hand and openly declared him the actual winner after receiving a 6 round decision on a small card in Germany.

Offending judges: Francesco Gippetto 59-59; Arno Pokrandt 58-56; Jens Kluge 59-57.

 

On the same bill, the ridiculous Briedis-Hubert mismatch should have been stopped earlier than it was, and ref Arno Pokrandt ignored Hubert taking a knee at one point.

 

November 7th – After a stirring effort in challenging for Scott Cardle’s British title, Sean Dodd, seemingly with a healthy lead, was unjustly stopped on his feet by ref Terry O’Connor with 62 seconds to go before the final bell.

The latest terrible botch from this incompetent official.

What we didn’t know was that due to the shitty scorecards (I’m not aware which two out of Phil Edwards, Marcus McDonnell & Dave Parris messed up), Dodd was going to lose a split decision even if he had seen the final bell.

 

In Dublin the same night, ref Mickey Vann’s 97-95 card was a terrible reflection of Peter McDonagh’s virtual shutout dominance of Dean Byrne in their Irish title main event.

 

In Vegas, Kenny Bayless allowed Gunnar Jackson to hold constantly in order to survive ten rounds against Ryota Murata.

On top of his recent questionable handling of Mayweather fights, Bayless seemingly can’t bring himself to punish holding at all.

 

November 21st – Burt Clements (118-110) & Dave Moretti (119-109) gave Cotto no credit for his competitive effort in defeat to Canelo Alvarez.

 

November 28th – Tony Weeks ignored a blatant jumping headbutt (a la Victor Ortiz) from a desperate Wladimir Klitschko in the eleventh round en route to losing his championship to Tyson Fury.

 

Barry Lindenman’s 117-111 card for Pedro Guevara over Yu Kimura was criticized for not reflecting their split decision 108lb. title fight.

 

In Canada, Eleider Alvarez squeaked by Isaac Chilemba in a majority decision that I felt Chilemba narrowly won.

Peter Hary’s 118-110 for Alvarez was a bad joke.

 

In the main event of that card, Lucian Bute got no credit from the judges (Phil Edwards 117-111, Benoit Roussel 117-111, Nelson Vazquez 116-112) in his strong challenge of James DeGale.

 

December 5th – Referee Freddy Rafn was widely criticized for his terrible handling throughout of the Daws-Nieto European title fight.

This culminated in disqualifying Daws in the tenth for what he very dubiously deemed to have been an intentional headbutt.

The EBU have ordered an immediate rematch.

 

Finally time to give some credit to an official this time of the year.

Harvey Dock stopped Danny Jacobs-Peter Quillin at the perfect time.

With Quillin out on his feet, in a situation where most refs would have panicked (I’m looking at you, Ian John-Lewis), he took a few seconds to look into Quillin’s eyes as he stumbled on Bambi legs, and seeing a vacant stare, correctly called a halt to the fight before Jacobs could knock his defenseless opponent cold.

 

December 12th – In one of the year’s biggest upsets, Luke Campbell was made to look like an amateur by Yvan Mendy.

Not that homer judge John Keane (115-113 for Campbell) saw it that way.

 

December 19th – Billy Joe Saunders outboxed and outpunched Andy Lee to win a 160lb. title.

However, the verdict was a majority decision due to the laughable Marcus McDonnell card, which scored things a 113-113 draw.

British officials really are the worst in boxing.

 

Perhaps the worst decision of the year was saved for the final major card of 2015, as Nicholas Walters authored a near shutout of unheralded Jason Sosa in Verona, New York.

Universal outcry greeted the even cards of Don Ackerman and Wynn Kintz, and especially the Tom Schreck card of 96-94 Sosa, which rendered the fight a majority draw.