Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (April 2016)

February 19th – Belatedly caught a February Shobox card and had to air some gripes.

John Magda clearly lost to Christopher Brooker but it was judged a majority decision due to the incompetent even card of Donald Givens.

Givens was banned by the New Jersey commission and didn’t judge for four years for his hand in screwing Erislandy Lara in his high profile fight with Paul Williams.

So much for rehabilitation.

 

The main event of Adam Lopez vs. Mario Munoz appeared to these eyes a draw, but the cards (Ron McNair 97-93, Eugene Grant 98-92, George Hill 98-92) never gave the visiting Munoz a chance.

 

In last month’s edition (https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/named-shamed-judging-the-judges-march-2016/), I thrashed Lloyd Scaife for the worst card of the year in the Ortiz-Thompson fight.

Some excellent follow-up work from Boxingscene’s David Greisman sheds further surreal light on the matter: http://tinyurl.com/jdnvv44

The entire situation reads like a bad joke, and, sympathy for Scaife’s condition and all-too human error aside, it’s further evidence that nobody in their 80s should be allowed to judge a boxing match.

 

April 2nd – The Scott Cardle-Sean Dodd rematch managed to end in almost as much controversy as their first meeting, as the judges this time ruled it a draw.

However, I must admit that, while widespread sympathy seemed to lie with the non-establishment underdog Dodd, I thought that it was a perfectly fair decison and that Cardle deserved to hold onto his British title.

 

My mood soon changed though, as Christopher Rebrasse was thoroughly robbed against Rocky Fielding by the 114-113 scores of Juergen Langos & Daniel Van de Wiele.

 

April 8th – Bizarre stuff as usual in Russia, as ref Alexander Kalinkin (found culpable in this segment before) stopped the fight between Sergey Kuzmin and Konstantin Airich in the second round, but then changed his mind after mild protestation from Airich.

He stopped the fight for a second, and thankfully final, time moments later after a further barrage.

It made Ian John-Lewis look positively decisive.

 

April 9th – Ref Bob Williams allowed Ohara Davies to hold his glove without punching, Klitschko-style, in front of the face of Andy Keates for the duration of their fight without issuing a single warning.

 

Matthew Macklin can count himself a lucky boy.

Steve Gray did his best to help the veteran during his contest with Brian Rose by stopping the action with Macklin under pressure in the 11th, and then undeservingly docking a point from Rose for holding in the 12th.

Then Marcus McDonnell & Patrick Morley completed the job with BS 115-111 cards that denied Rose his victory, and barely kept Macklin’s career alive.

 

Marcus McDonnell’s night of incompetence continued when he almost disqualified Eric Hunter for basically no reason during his fight with Lee Selby, obviously influenced unduly by Hunter’s prior reputation of having been disqualified twice before.

Hunter lost widely, but had little chance of a fair shake from this referee.

 

April 16th – Ventsislav Nikolov’s 120-107 score was an absolute disgrace to the respectable challenge offered to John Warrington by the visiting Hisashi Amagasa.

How hard is it to get a good decision in the UK these days?

 

The Marcus Browne-Radivoje Kalajdzic fight in New York was another mess.

Firstly, a clear slip was ruled a knockdown in the opening round. Even the ref, Tony Chiarantano, seemed to acknowledge this with his comment of “you fell down” to Kalajdzic after he had risen. But still, a count was given and a crucial point deducted from his score.

Waleska Roldan (76-74) & Alan Rubenstein (76-75) ensured that the house fighter Browne escaped with the robbery decision.

 

April 30th – Marcus McDonnell’s nightmare month ended by being grossly late to stop the Anthony Yarde-Tzvetozar Iliev bout, which allowed Iliev to be badly knocked out and stretchered from the ring.

Thankfully, McDonnell missing an obvious knockdown scored by Anthony Nelson in round 7 of his war with Jamie Conlan couldn’t detract from, or change the result of, a top fight of the year contender.

 

VADA once again prove they’re the only testing agency worth taking seriously by catching Fernando Vargas for clenbuterol use in the lead-up to his highly-anticipated fight with Orlando Salido.

But will this stop the fight from going ahead?

Not in the world of boxing, where common sense never prevails and money dictates everything.

Boxingscene’s Jake Donovan reports on the full details of the California Commission’s resolution here: http://www.boxingscene.com/francisco-vargas-granted-temporary-license-submit-additional-testing–104011

Basically, Vargas will submit to supposedly thorough testing by the Commission from now until the fight, and only if he fails again, will he be punished and the fight cancelled.

Andy Foster and the other boobs in charge want us to believe that they lend credence to the now-routine excuse for cluenbuterol in one’s system: contamination through eating beef.

“We can’t and we won’t sanction a dirty fighter” says Foster, when that’s exactly what’s being done.

Laughable, and needless to say, I now have little interest in this Vargas-Salido freakshow.

Again, David Greisman provided further insight: http://www.boxingscene.com/fighting-words-on-francisco-vargas-positive-drug-test–104112

18 thoughts on “Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (April 2016)

  1. Top work, Jeremy. These N&S columns should be run in The Ring.

    “The entire situation reads like a bad joke, and, sympathy for Scaife’s condition and all-too human error aside, it’s further evidence that nobody in their 80s should be allowed to judge a boxing match.”

    Without doubt. Greisman’s sensitive portrait of an old man (the tie and chess details are especially moving) reminded me of what I have seen personally in the elderly. Decline isn’t linear; it’s fluid, and ebbs. Toward the end of a day, an especially sharp elderly person may exhibit signs of memory and perceptual weakness — a pattern exhibited in Scaife’s getting the first two bouts right and the last one horribly wrong.

    This is easily solved by using younger judges. Of course, they may or may not be more corruptible, too. 😉

    FYI — due to bad url practices at Boxing Scene I was able to find the story only by searching there. Note add’l hyphen:

    http://www.boxingscene.com/fighting-words-how-one-scorecard-ended-judge-lloyd-scaifes-career–103589

    • Thanks for such a compliment. Not sure if it’s deserved, but I may be looking to branch out a little in the near future…

      And good spot, that’s now been corrected.

      • Go for it!

        Btw, did you watch Pulev-Chisora? Interested in your score. I had it a draw or at best a narrow victory for Pulev, who I thought faded in the latter half after quite easily dominating up to that point. His Klit-like mugging tactics weren’t as successful as Wladimir’s, and he’d always get hit while trying to smother Chisora. By the seventh he wasn’t throwing much at all…

        Can’t see Pulev going very far against the best, can you? Might make a nice step up for Joshua.

      • I did and had it 119-109 to Pulev (one of us will have to be included in this month’s Judging the Judges haha), whom I thought controlled the fight throughout, in part due to his egregious holding tactics (reminding me of Klitschko-Povetkin), even when coasting through rounds.

        Chisora looked shot to me, almost as bad as he did in the Fury rematch: puffy-eyed, slinging arm punches, inertly lolling back on the ropes with his mouth open. He is now finished as a contender.

        Pulev’s actually in line for a Joshua shot in the IBF rankings now. I don’t see Pulev beating the elite but he’s a very solid contender.

  2. ” (one of us will have to be included in this month’s Judging the Judges haha)”

    Hahaha! My view of the fight is decidedly a minority one, so I’ll have to take my lumps on this one.

    I’ve seen a handful of Pulev’s work up to and including the Klit beat down. Lazy guard, over-belief in his power, but accurate punches and sharp jab when he wants to use it. He would present a dangerous if surmountable challenge to the best. I wonder how long he’d survive against Wilder, who may be surprised when he’s in with his first decent boxer-puncher.

    Which is fairly soon! Unless Povetkin is more shopworn than he looks, I’m giving him good odds to test the dubious chin that Al Haymon built. The Klit-Povetkin trouncing required Wlad to grab, lean and toss the smaller man, weakening him with an in-close approach not really in the gun-shy Wilder’s arsenal. When he’s backing up into the ropes, I expect him to be hit in a display of the Russian’s ability to close distance and punch accurately while doing so. This doesn’t mean Povetkin will outlast what’s thrown at him. But I think being protected and under-matched for a long time could tell on Wilder. There are much easier assignments for his first serious fight, and what does it say that is only happening now?

    • Pulev lacks power but has one of the best jabs in the division. Hard to say how Wilder would fare against the top tier, strong Stiverne performance aside, until we see him in against a live opponent again.

      I’m still picking Povetkin for the reasons you outlined. He closes range well and the belief among many is that Wilder has a weak chin (shaken by Molina, almost knocked out by a journeyman in 2010). Povetkin will almost certainly test it. Duhaupas, Molina and Szpilka are not adequate preparation for Povetkin, and the Russian also has a deep amateur pedigree, strong pro resume and home advantage on his side.

      I’m also of the belief that this fight is only taking place, and especially in Russia because of the lost purse bid, due to the financial meltdown going on within Haymon’s operation.

      The disappearance of the high-paid announcers & shiny PBC sets, dwindling PBC cable & network dates, Fonfara vs. Joe Smith-type NBC headliners, Haymon fighters going abroad or fighting on HBO: it all points to significant cost-cutting.

      Saw Ben Wheatley’s J.G. Ballard adaptation High-Rise recently. A mixed bag but some outstanding moments. He’s certainly a talent to keep an eye on. His A Field in England was brilliant, and drew acclaim from Scorsese: http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/scorsese-gets-quoted-in-final-a-field-in-england-trailer-poster/

      • Always a pleasure to read your analyses.

        So, tottering Haymon empire, then. Good. The best thing that could happen to boxing in the USA is for him to go bust and a diaspora to follow. But please, let’s get Thurman-Porter out of the way before the lights go out! And that winner to face Spence.

        You don’t suppose Mayweather’s ransom demands for a 50th fight are related… Nah, probably just self-aggrandizement. And burn rate on the car allowance. But fair’s fair — who wouldn’t stake $100m to see him once more with Victor Ortiz? Streamlined this time: Victor to be KO’d at the weigh-in.

        Very intrigued to hear Wheatley’s done Ballard! I’ve seen three of his films — A Field In England which I partially liked, the kitchen sink-ish Down Terrace which I liked more, and The Sightseers whose morbid satire I liked enormously. In all cases I thought his writing was sharp. Not that I’d ever say money’s the measure of film art, but Wheatley is someone I wish had more backing as I think (especially in the case of Field) his vision is challenged by resources.

        Do you know the Ballard novel? I’d thought about reading it but the truth is while I liked his nonfiction writing (notably those Guardian columns) I haven’t got on particularly well with his fiction. I prefer Will Self, his disciple. Self’s retrofitted Dorian was a snarling pleasure.

        Finally filled a hole in my film knowledge and saw Ford’s Stagecoach. Exceeded my expectations and made good on the claims one always hears for it. John Wayne is, as Bogdanovich observes in the Criterion extras, turned into a star with each crank of the dolly shot that introduces him. (It’s as if the next thirty years of Hollywood are being diagrammed.) One minor astonishment: a lunatic political speech, lustily made by the loathsome banker, and wittily mocked by Nichols’ 1939 script, could, almost word-for-word and without irony, be delivered by one of our leading cranks today. Plus ça change…

      • Thanks! But even if PBC goes bust (it will still be at least 18 months or so until the current contracts run out, so it may be a slow death), Haymon will, cockroach-like, survive: armed with his advisory contracts, he will simply shop his clients to Showtime or some other network under the traditional license fee model.

        Also, it’s interesting that Richard Schaefer, who was widely expected to return to boxing to front the Haymon operation, has stayed on the sidelines as the house falls down, even commenting critically on PBC in the recent Hauser series of articles. Schaefer is now expected to instead assume a role in Mayweather Promotions in the future.

        Where did you feel A Field in England was lacking? I’ve also seen Kill List and thought it was half a good movie, before ending up in hokum.

        I haven’t read any Ballard, but the man has some range between High Rise, Empire of the Sun and Crash.

        Must refresh my memory on this speech, it’s been years since I’ve seen Stagecoach but I recall enjoying it quite a lot. I recently picked up a DVD of Hawks’ His Girl Friday, a classic that has escaped my grasp until now.

        Rewatched City of God with a friend the other night, a Brazilian mix of Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas & mostly tremendous fun.

  3. I want to see City of God again. Brilliant film.

    A Field in England succeeded, I thought, on its own terms. I just didn’t find them very compelling, not in the way I had, say, Greenaway’s Draughtsman’s Contract, another period piece concerned with perception and deceit. Very well acted as I recall. It was partly its barebones production that prompted me to say I wish for Wheatley to get better backing — indeed it looks he has done so with High-Rise.

    Love that Hawks you mention and quite a number of his — the Bogarts, the Waynes, the other Grants.

    Very interesting about Schaefer. So do you see this as Mayweather’s big play? Is Floyd in a position to pick up the pieces if Haymon’s operation falls apart?

    Here, btw, is the banker’s speech from Stagecoach.

    GATEWOOD
    I can’t get over the impertinence of that young lieutenant! I’ll
    make it warm for that shavetail! I’ll report him to Washington.
    We pay taxes to the government and what do we get? Not even
    protection from the Army. I don’t know what the government’s
    coming to! Instead of protecting business men, it pokes its nose
    into business. Hm, why they’re even talking now about having bank
    examiners, as if we bankers don’t know how to run our own banks.
    I actually had a letter from some popinjay official saying they
    were going to inspect my books! I have a slogan, gentlemen, that
    should be emblazoned on every newspaper in the country. America
    for Americans! The government must not interfere with business!
    Reduce taxes! Our national debt is something shocking, over one
    billion dollars a year! What this country needs is a business man
    for President!

    • I must see that Greenaway film. I once attended a lecture he gave during the Cork Film Festival the day before a screening of his film on Rembrandt, Nightwatching. I was actually lucky enough to see the Night Watch painting in person recently on my travels.

      Wheatley is definitely moving up in the world, and definitely a talent to keep an eye on as he inches closer to mainstream consciousness.

      Floyd has already positioned his company as one of the main allies of Haymon, acting as the promoter of record for many PBC & Sho cards. An alliance with Schaefer could signal an expansion, especially if PBC folds in the future.

      Haha quite a monologue. The more things change!

      I recommend the 2 new Louis Theroux documentaries on alcoholism and brain trauma sufferers. He continues to enthrall in his mature phase.

      I presume you’ve heard the news of Povetkin failing a test for the latest fad drug, meldonium? The Wilder fight is, rightly, off.

      This wasn’t the scenario I envisioned, although Povetkin’s noticeably improved physique did raise my suspicions, but I always said this fight wouldn’t happen. This is worth a read: http://www.boxingscene.com/fighting-words-wilder-povetkin-negatives-positive–104629

      Haye-club fighter #2 (with Briggs on the undercard) & Parker-Takam mean it will be an interesting heavyweight weekend regardless.

      • I’m going to be hunting down those Theroux docs and Greenaway’s Nightwatching. I’d read and forgotten about that film. What was Greenaway like in his talk?

        Michael Nyman’s score (he also did A Zed and Two Noughts though is perhaps better known for his score for The Piano) is one of the pleasures of Draughtsman’s Contract, where it assumes a hand in a series of strange, dazzling sequences in which the contract itself is read. I have a lot of Nyman’s recordings but my favorite is on Daniel Hope’s wonderful 2013 disc of baroque and minimalist pieces for Deutsch Grammophon, Spheres.

        Bummed about Povetkin. Not because I liked him — because of what it portends.

        Your doubts about the fight were well-founded, as it turns out. We’ll have to wait longer and, I bet, unsatisfyingly to find out how good or rather sturdy Wilder is.

        Simultaneously, Fury’s collapse seems to be advancing from slow rumble to avalanche. Physically, psychologically — he is a tubby iceberg melting under the laser beam of his own ignorance and sloth. Last I saw he was being knocked down by smaller sparring partners and had fallen out with his uncle trainer. The Povetkin doping and the Fury crackup could herald the return of once and future king Wlad, and that’s about the worst news the hw division could get.

        Unless it’s all posturing to build up Wlad’s confidence. I doubt it.

        As you say, Haye and Briggs will be along to keep things fun for the time being.

      • It was so long ago and I didn’t know anything about his work then, so would be lying if I said I remembered much of it, but I do recall he was intellectual and self-deprecating.

        Saw Son of Saul two days ago: harrowing as one would expect given the subject matter, but I was more impressed by the Bela Tarr-influenced visual style. It’s the debut feature of a former Tarr protege. Impressive.

        Followed that up with Stalker in the cinema for the first time yesterday. Brilliant, of course. The sound design in particular was impressive on the big screen. Mirror, my favourite film, today — full expecting it to be one of my best ever cinema experiences.

        I’ll listen to some Nyman soon.

        Absolutely, the truth about Wilder will have to wait and Povetkin’s reputation is, rightly, in tatters. I’m sure he’ll be back in the title picture sometime next year, ban or not. VADA once again demonstrating that they’re the only drug testing agency worth talking about.

        I’m surprised you fell for Fury’s tall tales of sparring and training camp disasters haha. I never believed it (although I have the advantage of being familiar with his particular brand of interview equivocation from day 1), and he admitted it was all BS in a recent interview…although the black eye is real.

        Furthermore, a photo has surfaced of him looking already in much improved shape (i.e. a shape other than round) six weeks out from the fight. As I’ve said before, it obviously isn’t ideal to have to dedicate large portions of your camp to shedding weight, and Klitschko will doubtless be in peak condition already.

        The Haye/Briggs fights ended up being the blowouts everyone expected, and the card was widely derided by many British boxing observers as among the worst they’d ever seen televised…not that the capacity crowd in the o2 arena seemed to care, content to luxuriate in the aura of Haye’s D-list celebrity status and geriatric choruses of ‘Let’s go Champ’.

        Haye vs. Briggs is slated for September.

  4. “content to luxuriate in the aura of Haye’s D-list celebrity status and geriatric choruses of ‘Let’s go Champ’”

    LOL, nicely done.

    Yes, I’m afraid Fury did put one over me. Not that I believe he isn’t also cracking up. I think he’s mentally worse off than before beating Wlad. If he thought it was bad with cries of “Gypo” before… Enacting his own subsequent version of “Shooting an Elephant” has taught him a little something about what it truly means to be hated. And like all egomaniacs, it’s an unendurable burden for him to be able to quantify the absence of love. 😉

    Envy you that big-screen Tarkovsky! Son of Saul a must-see for me. Did you ever read DM Thomas’ The White Hotel? There’s a passage involving a mass grave that I’ve never forgotten; merely reading the IMDb synopsis on Saul brought it back to me.

    Just read the Neruda collection, “I Explain A Few Things: Selected Poems.” Stunner. My Spanish is crap, almost nonexistent, but translations by the likes of WS Merwin and Robert Bly are ravishing.

    • Haven’t read any Neruda or heard of that Thomas book. Time to research…

      Rewatched Ceylan’s Climates recently. It gets more masterful with each viewing.

      Thanks, it’s not hard to wax hysterical about these Haye-day cards!

      Time will tell with regards to Fury. His behaviour fight week and condition on the scales could reveal a lot.

    • Thanks for that Neruda poem: powerful stuff. I’m rarely attracted to art that deals with political issues but this loses none of the fire of poetry and ecstatic metaphysical imagery in tackling issues less hermetic.

      Also, got around to reading the Heaney poems you recommended. The Blackbird of Glanmore was particularly fantastic.

      I hadn’t seen that trailer or been familiar with the filmmaker. Indeed, it looks intriguing, like the Aronofsky of Pi crossed with Tarr.

      Rewatched Soderbergh’s Solaris the other night. I think it’s his finest film, superior to Tarkovsky’s version (not something said lightly, as he’s possibly my absolute favourite) & one of the best American films of the past 15 years.

      • Pleased to hear you got on well with the Neruda and Heaney.

        I liked the Soderbergh, nuanced and intelligent, and my favorite performance by Clooney. I loved the Tarkovsky and have hardly stopped thinking about it in the months since I’ve seen it.

        Finished the Houellebecq and can recommend it. Much better than and quite different to what I’d been led to expect; less satirical yet maybe richer for it.

        We caught the documentary My Architect. This is Louis Kahn’s son’s exploration of the strange, secretive life led by his father, divided between psychological study and architecture investigation. The filmmaker and his (late) subject had a complicated relationship: he saw the famous modernist but rarely — he was a bastard born to one of the man’s two mistresses. Uncommonly beautiful and insightful.

      • Yes, I saw that documentary years ago at a film festival! Unusual exploration of the nuances that separate public and private lives.

        Rewatched Raising Cain, a delicious Brian De Palma satire of suspense technique, while still retaining the scares. Also rewatched Malick’s Knight of Cups, enriched on a second viewing: a mysterious and experimental look at a fragmented inner life.

        Here is the trailer for Malick’s upcoming film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVyWObJY9FQ

        Tabu, a fascinating and formally rigorous film from Miguel Gomes has piqued my interest in Portuguese film further. I only knew Pedro Costa before this, but Manoel de Oliveira is another I must familiarize myself with.

        Finally, I caught the final film of Kiarostami, Like Someone in Love, a not-altogether-successful minor chamber piece set in Japan. It has a similarly elliptical structure as his classic works, and riffs on similar themes, but, aside from a few scenes, didn’t set my world alight.

        As for reading, I sped through Haruki Murakami’s After Dark, a formally interesting (simple style, even cinematic with references to a ‘camera’ through which we are encouraged to view the action) but minor work about disparate characters whose paths collide in a Tokyo night. Fairly interesting, but suffers also from some mannered pop culture references.

        Also read The Bridges of Madison County by Robert Waller. I found it quietly, genuinely affecting, despite dollops of pretension and implausibility. It’s far more substantial than the trite women’s weepie it’s often derided as.

        Now I must see Eastwood’s adaptation, which interestingly was voted the joint best film of the 1990s by the critics of the prestigious Cahiers du Cinema.

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