April 22nd – Away boxer Max Bursak was harshly deducted two points for holding by ref Tom Taylor in his one-sided loss to Gilberto Ramirez.
Oscar Valdez vs. Miguel Marriaga was a fiercely contested fight, marred by the cards of Julie Lederman (119-108) & Steve Morrow (118-109), who gave the challenger no credit for his efforts.
Blue chip prospect Shakur Stevenson eased to a debut win over Edgar Brito, but with a weird ending.
The bout was stopped on an inocuous looking cut (caused earlier by a head clash) at the bell to begin round 6, so it went to the cards.
Perplexing, however, that Steve Morrow, Pat Russell, Fernando Villarreal would all score the sixth round (which had to be perfunctorily scored as per the rules despite not a single punch being thrown) for Stevenson!
Insert joke about cards already being filled in pre-fight here.
May 6th – Ref Tony Weeks missed Joseph Diaz Jr.’s knockdown of Manuel Avila in round two of an easy win.
May 13th – Star amateur Josh Kelly’s mismatch against Jony Vina should have been halted by ref Shaun Messer long before things got nasty halfway through round 4.
Conversely, on a separate UK card the same night, Philip Sutcliffe Jr. was clearly stopped prematurely by the notorious Howard Foster in the sixth round of his fight with Josh Leather.
The circus of Mayweather-McGregor and inevitable whoring out of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and its unethical boss Bob Bennett began appropriately, with Bennett declaring that he does not view the bout as the mismatch almost the entire world does:
May 19th – Andy Kremner dominated Fonz Alexander in an entertaining four rounder in Bolton, only to be forced to settle for the narrowest of 39-38 verdicts on the card of sole adjudicator, ref Darren Sarginson.
May 20th – Ryota Murata was inexplicably robbed against Hassan N’Dam at home in Japan, Gustavo Padilla (116-111) & Hubert Earle (115-112) the offending parties responsible for what will likely be one of the year’s worst decisions in a significant fight.
May 26th – Faded former titlist Mike Alvarado battered Matthew Strode in two rounds.
But notably, Strode was given a standing 8 count by ref Dave Smith earlier in the round when under severe pressure, something which was simply not part of the rules for the bout.
Either stop it, or don’t, Dave.
May 27th – Anthony Fowler stopped Latvian lemming Arturs Geikens in the first round of his pro debut, but not after clocking his overmatched foe with a big shot while he was already down.
He’s lucky Geikens didn’t play for the DQ, although ref John Latham decided to ignore the original knockdown and allow the bout to continue after approximately a minute’s recovery time. Geikens was promply stopped, for real this time, before the round was over.
The ref didn’t look like he knew what the proper ruling was, and one wonders if such a rule exists in the BBBofC regulations.
June 10th – Boxing never ceases to surprise, and usually not in a good way.
Ryan Burnett dominated Lee Haskins to capture a bantamweight world title in Belfast. Shock greeted the rendering of the decision as a split, US judge Clark Sammartino scoring it 118-110 Haskins.
It soon transpired that Sammartino didn’t know which boxer was which and had put his scores in the wrong columns.
How in the hell can a judge travel across the Atlantic to work a fight and not know who the hell is who out of its two participants?!
Imagine if this had been a close fight, would the error have even been revealed?
After one of the most shockingly incompetent errors imaginable, Sammartino should obviously never be allowed to judge a fight again.
June 17th – A quite incredible night of officiating and regulation this was in Las Vegas…
The worst came first in Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Moises Flores, as Rigo landed a punch, seemingly unintentionally, clearly after the bell to floor Flores (who had thrown and missed his own punch simultaneously), who admittedly did his best Andre Dirrell impression, feigning that he had been knocked out & failing to rise up to take his stool.
What followed was the most bizarre 20 minutes you’ll ever see as a lengthy debate ensued between Drakulich (who insisted that as far as he was concerned the punch landed before the bell, as well as saying that if it landed after it would be a disqualification, without mention of the intentional nature of the punch or otherwise affecting such a decision…which is a fundamental misunderstanding of the rules from a supposedly top ref), Robert Byrd and NSAC boss Bob Bennett.
Then Bennett and Drakulich put on headphones to view the finish again on video replay, but, unable to get sound to figure out when the bell rang, acted as if the matter had been resolved and decided on a KO.
Then Bennett was rightly roasted by Jim Lampley is a live HBO interview.
The result has since been changed to a no contest, but this was absolutely farcical.
Cedric Agnew, a former world title challenger, saw his bout with Dmitry Bivol downgraded from a 12 to a 10 rounder by the Nevada commission because he had only recently taken part in 8 rounders.
Is this really the same commission that sanctioned Conor McGregor to make his pro boxing debut against Mayweather? Consistency and common sense be damned…the rules too, but more on that in the next edition of ‘Judging the Judges’.
And in the main event, one can debate all day about whether Ward was en route to a truly decisive win over Sergey Kovalev in their much-anticipated rematch. However, at least a few of the finishing blows were below the belt and ignored by ref Tony Weeks.
Even the stoppage itself was strange, as Weeks halted it immediately as Kovalev dipped in a sitting position to the middle rope, when a knockdown (the ropes holding Kovalev up) would have been the more appropriate call.
Overall, a misfire of officiating that spoiled the fight.
In Belfast earlier that night, Craig Evans decisioned Stephen Ormond, effectively ending his career as a contender at title level. He did this despite having to contend with flagrant headwork from Ormond throuhgout, none of which was cautioned by ref Phil Edwards.
June 30th – Robert Easter vs. Denis Shafikov in Easter’s home town of Toledo was a competitive fight.
The shutout scorecards of Henry Eugene Grant & Jamie Garayua in no way reflected this.
On the undercard, Jamontay Clark took on away fighter Ivan Golub and received a questionable unanimous decision, featuring the terrible 79-73 card of Ken Bucher. Ref James Howe was also at fault for missing a crucial knockdown in round 4.
Adam Abramowitz of Saturday Night Boxing sent an impassioned letter to Bernie Profato, the Executive Director of the Ohio Athletic Commission, to outline the many problems:
Thomas Hauser writes on the quite incredible goings on (skipping a pre-fight medical examination, death threats, misunderstanding by regulatory personnel of basic rules, throwing away taxpayer money by overstaffing events, cowtowing to UFC political pressure, and more) at the disgraceful New York State Athletic commission, who are evidently doing their best to top their Nevada counterparts: