Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (May 2016)

New Jersey’s boxing boss Larry Hazzard must be commended for this simple addition to referee protocol once a boxer has been knocked down:–104270


May 6th – Pablo Cesar Cano got comfortably beaten by Alan Sanchez in the view of everyone except veteran Nevada judge Dave Moretti, who saw Cano an improbable 96-94 winner.

Thankfully, the other two judges ruled correctly in favour of Sanchez.


May 7th – Ref Manuel Oliver Palomo put in one of the year’s worst displays, allowing Kubrat Pulev to flagrantly hold throughout his European title win against a livid Dereck Chisora.

It was the worst case of blindness in the face of interminable holding I can remember seeing since Klitschko-Povetkin.

In part due to his fouls, Pulev coasted to a wide win, only to almost be denied by one of the year’s worst cards, Beat Hausammann’s 115-113 in favour of Chisora.


Later that night in Vegas, Canelo Alvarez recovered from an early deficit to brutally knock out Amir Khan in the sixth round.

Khan had boxed impressively to that point, but a look at the scorecards suggests the judges were watching something different.

Glenn Trowbridge (49-46) & Glenn Feldman (48-47) must have been wearing ginger-tinted spectacles.


May 13th – Dusty Hernandez-Harrison got a gift on his homecoming, escaping with a draw in a fight he clearly lost against veteran trialhorse Mike Dallas Jr.

The incompetence of Tammye Jenkins (95-94) & Wayne Smith (94-94) ensured that the Washington prospect kept his ‘0’.


May 14th – 130lber Carlos Diaz Ramirez outpointed ex-prospect Roberto Marroquin over 10, but it was a hard-fought fight, a fact not reflected by the 98-91 card of one judge, whose name I cannot find out at this time.


May 21st – Long praised for his fan-friendly style of officiating, Steve Smoger is fast becoming one of boxing’s most dangerous referees, more interested in keeping the action flowing than protecting the boxers when they are defenceless (think Kirkland-Tapia or Lebedev-Jones Jr.).

The latest example was his late stoppage of the Denis Lebedev-Victor Emilio Ramirez cruiserweight title unification, as Smoger allowed Ramirez to absorb another 10-15 seconds of unnecessary punishment with his body bent in half, gloves grazing the canvas, before he turned away, an obvious sign of his surrender that still did not immediately signal the stoppage.

There are only so many times a ref can ignore the obvious before everybody’s luck runs out.


A bad point deduction from Vanes Martirosyan for a beltline body shot in round 11 could have cost the challenger in his rematch with Erislandy Lara.

Thankfully, Vic Drakulich’s mistake didn’t affect the eventual scoring of a fight that appeared to be a toss-up.


May 28th – Arthur Villanueva knocked out Juan Jiminez in the fourth round, but with a vicious clash of heads rather than a punch.

Jiminez was out for several minutes and wouldn’t have been pleased on regaining his senses to learn that ref Dan Nietes ruled him the knockout loser.


Worrying news has surfaced that the governing body of world amateur boxing, AIBA, are under investigation from the World Anti-Doping Agency for conducting zero out of competition blood tests in 2015, and “virtually none” in the past 3 years:–105105


This Ring Magazine article from Mitch Abrahamson is worth reading in full:

It details the departure of David Berlin as the head of the New York commission, and shocking allegations of improper conduct Berlin levels at commission chairman Tom Hoover.

To quote from the piece:

“Among the incidents that Berlin says he reported to the Inspector General’s office were…Hoover’s putting his son on a Commission credential list under a pseudonym for a boxing event at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center ‘in order to secure his son’s free entry to the arenas.’

Berlin also said in the letter he told the Inspector General’s Office that Hoover had directed someone he knew personally to be ‘licensed as a professional boxing judge, despite the fact that the individual had no prior experience in the sport.’ Berlin says he rescinded the judge’s license of the ‘clearly unqualified individual,’ he wrote. Hoover could not be reached for comment on Thursday to discuss the allegations and the IG’s office didn’t return a call for comment.”

4 thoughts on “Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (May 2016)

  1. I like Hazzard’s walk-this-way rule change. Something similar has long been used here to test roadside sobriety. (Mind, it’s been a few fair years since I, ahem, demonstrated the regularity of my gait under a watchful cop’s gaze; maybe these days they pull you over and fire at your feet to see how you dance.)

    In Canelo-Khan, those puzzling scores say something about what it means to be “the new face of boxing,” i.e., an economic engine in Vegas. Canelo’s subsequent vacating of the belt, the cant out of GBP and The Ring about marinating the only fight anyone wants to see him in, and the fact we will now see GGG in with Brook descend from this, too. Brave man, Brook, and I’ll be rooting for him on that basis alone.

    Ironically, Smoger (who’d been at ringside that night as a fan) was briefly drafted in to the HBO commentariat not so very long ago to deliver his criticism of the evening’s officiating. Sort of the elder statesman routine, and he laid into his fellow official. Wish I could recall the fight/context; perhaps you can? At the time it only made a mildly distasteful impression on me, but in light of what you’ve written it’s nagging me to reconsider.

    The tale of David Berlin’s firing is fascinating albeit discouraging. If his side of the story is accurate, it will be one more proof of the inadequacy of the moral individual to do more than cause tiny ripples in our official cesspools. Quantifying my cynicism is the record of the last eight years: while I don’t follow NY politics closely, more government whistleblowers in Washington have been prosecuted and sentenced to longer prison terms in this period than in any other. So the writing is on the wall for those like Berlin who would put conscience to deed — he’s lucky to be merely out of a job.

    Great column!

    • Thanks!

      You may find this interesting regarding the failed GGG-Eubank Jr. negotiations, and the continued impossibility of dealing with ‘English’ –

      I hear this is their new method:

      GGG-Brook is surreal, and easily the equal of Canelo-Khan in terms of shock announcements. I must give credit to Eddie Hearn, as I scoffed when he mooted this fight as a possibility he’d consider a few months ago.

      I have a higher tolerance for freakshow fights than most, so I view this positively. It will be a fun build-up, and a fun fight in the ring…although it will be completely one-sided and Golovkin will end matters whenever he chooses. With the Vargas negotiations also hitting a wall, Brook has accepted the toughest fight possible in search of his big payday and legitimacy after a string of mismatches. One also can’t blame Golovkin for accepting a big payday abroad, rather than a pointless fight with the likes of Lee, Heiland or Tureano Johnson in the States.

      A few other thoughts:

      1. Pleased to see it at 160 rather than 155ish.

      2. Brook eager to prove he has bigger cojones than Khan by accepting his own suicide mission without even the parachute of a catchweight.

      3. Only in the ludicrous world of boxing would Canelo-Khan and GGG-Brook actually happen instead of the common sense Khan-Brook & GGG-Canelo fights.

      I wish I knew, but I rarely get the fights with HBO commentary unless they’re not shown on Boxnation or Sky over here. Smoger gets too much respect from the boxing community for supposedly facilitating action fights with his style, which is just another way of spinning recklessness with other people’s health.

      Berlin’s tale is a cautionary one. The messenger always gets shot.

      Very much enjoyed Kauffmann’s review of 8 1/2 & it’s inspired me to try and rewatch it soon. Are you an admirer of Pauline Kael?

      Rewatched the tremendous Nicholas Ray noir In a Lonely Place recently, as well as the decent, but forgettable, duo of The Big Short & Spotlight.

      It’s laughable that the out-of-touch Academy gave the best picture award to Spotlight rather than The Revenant.

      Abbas Kiarostami and Michael Cimino recently died. Your thoughts on their work?

      • Meant to reply some time ago, sorry.

        Of the two only Cimino was known to me, and then only minimally. I rate The Deer Hunter very highly. A film going straight to the heart of war experience, its ghosts, its landscapes of misery; one long since foolishly disappeared when it is, in my country, perennially needed. I know, in passing, his work on Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and Year of the Dragon, sideshows when the real deal must be his Heaven’s Gate. Ashamed to say I have so far managed to miss it, though it comes highly recommended (in spite of its critical roasting).

        Where would you advise starting with Kiarostami?

        Grateful for the Hearn link and have commented in the thread where you’ve since posted it.

        Haha to “freakshow fights” a phrase I will happily put in use. One of my all-time faves: RJJ-Pazienza. My inner sadist overwhelms my conscience whenever I watch it, mainly because it’s amusing seeing Vinny Paz’s over-the-top macho edifice disassembled one drop of fear-borne sweat at a time.

        Got hold of the Ray with Bogart and have it on the pile.

        I do like Kael. She had different tastes to mine, abhorring Kubrick, for instance. I don’t agree with her aesthetic judgments, generally, but I admire the way she puts them! Your take on her? In retrospect I think she did a lot to usher in a postmodern sensibility, for better or (IMO, slightly) for worse. I think it defanged a lot of art that followed, simplifying and preparing the way, say, for Tarantino and film with more surface than center. So says this grumpy modernist holdout. 🙂

      • No worries, reply in your own time.

        I’ve seen Cimino’s two classics, but none of his other work. The Deer Hunter is one of the key American films of its era, a brilliant work, and I have to rewatch Heaven’s Gate, which I also admired when I saw it years ago.

        I’m no Kiarostami expert, but if you start as I did, with Ten, then you can’t go far wrong.

        Caught Mirror for a second time in 8 weeks in the cinema last night: it’s a film of truly limitless mystery. Rewatched De Palma’s The Fury (visually sumptuous) & Robert Rodriguez’s The Faculty (funny, fresh sci fi-comedy, chock-full of references for the cinephile — one of my favourite guilty pleasure movies) recently too.

        Haha, great assessment of RJJ-Paz: when my friends and I convene to watch old fights, we are usually drawn to oddities and beatdowns, rather than classics, and “freakshow” is a long-established part of our boxing lexicon. Buglioni-Khomitsky & Chavez-Haugen usually appear near the top of our list.

        Looking forward to your thoughts on In a Lonely Place.

        I like Kael a lot, although I often disagree with her aesthetic preferences myself, for example her dismissal of Malick and Dreyer…and obviously, Kubrick. Her love for De Palma I can wholeheartedly sympathize with, and her ‘When the Lights Go Down’ collection of capsule reviews holds pride of place in my film review book collection, regularly referenced when I watch a film from her era.

        Now seems like a good time to come out as a longtime Tarantino admirer too haha. His first three films are, in my view, some of the key works of the 90s, and I think, while somewhat uneven (and erring on the ‘surface’ stylization you alluded to, rather than the depth of characterization that successfully grounded his first films), his later output is also never less than interesting.

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