Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (August 2017)

February 10th – Rau’shee Warren was outmanned and outhustled by Zhanat Zhakiyanov at home in Ohio.

Larry Hazzard Jr.’s poor 115-111 card couldn’t save him from a split decision loss.

 

August 5th – A night of home cooking was served up for boxing fans in a rare semi-significant India card.

Neeraj Goyat was the beneficiary of incredibly wide scores against Allan Tanada.

Anil Sharma (118-110), Ajay Negi (119-109) and Rohit Shokeen (119-109) all deemed their countryman to have dominated a closely contested fight.

 

In the main event, Vijender Singh was very lucky to escape with his unbeaten record intact against Zulipikaer Maimaitiali.

Singh held throughout with no warning from ref Danrex Tapdasan, who also failed to count a clear knockdown in the final round for the away boxer.

 

In LA, Ray Beltran comfortably beat Bryan Vasquez in the eyes of everyone except Steve Morrow, who handed in a 95-95 score.

 

 

August 19th – Heavyweight Dillian Whyte battered journeyman Malcolm Tann in three rounds.

Ref Tom Anderson should have saved Tann from further punishment after the first knockdown in round two.

Instead, Tann absorbed many more withering shots and two further knockdowns before it was belatedly called off.

 

August 26th – Thankfully, Mayweather-McGregor passed with no incident, but it wasn’t a night without some controversy.

On the undercard, Vik Drakulich continues to look like a terrible official, harshly deducting a second point from Thomas Dulorme in his bout with Yordenis Ugas.

This ended up being the difference on the cards between a draw and the Ugas win.

 

Ref Russell Mora made a mess of the finish of the Gervonta Davis-Francisco Fonseca clash.

Davis dropped Fonseca with a clear rabbit punch in the final sequence, and, while one could make the argument that Fonseca was making a meal of it, it was simply not a legal blow that should have resulted in a ten count.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (July 2017)

 

July 1st – Frank Buglioni vs. Ricky Summers could have been scored either way.

Robert Williams’ rubbish 118-111 card didn’t at all reflect the action.

 

 

In Russia, the usual incompetent officiating took place throughout the card headlined by the disgraced Alexander Povetkin.

There was a scandalously late stoppage from ref Irakli Malazonia in Sergey Lubkovich-Gabor Gorbics.

Gorbics battled on with a closed eye and suffered a highlight reel KO for his troubles.

Irresponsible refereeing at its worst.

 

The exact same thing happened with, you guessed it, the same referee in charge of the night’s co-feature as Eduard Troyanovsky took on Michele Di Rocco.

The fight should have been stopped after the penultimate knockdown, the referee was too far away from the action as the final blows rained down, and it all resulted in a cruncing final punch to punctuate another highlight reel finish that should have been avoided.

 

Ref Viktor Panin was at the centre of a bizarre interlude in the Povetkin-Andriy Rudenko main event.

Halfway through the first round, a simple clinch and cuffing rabbit punch left Rudenko complaining of a neck injury, and he turned his back, refusing to fight on.

What followed was a five minute period when the ringside doctor openly gave treatment to Rudenko (since when is this allowed?), before he finally continued, and ended up going the 12 round distance, only intermittently complaining of the injury.

Clearly everyone involved was desperate to avoid the fight ending as an early no contest/unsatisfactory TKO, but was such an interlude anywhere in the rules? Shouldn’t Panin or someone at ringside have had a handle on what the correct procedure should be?

Since Panin initially didn’t rule any type of foul, accidental or otherwise, shouldn’t Rudenko’s sudden refusal to fight have resulted logically in the fight immediately being stopped?

 

July 2nd – Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn will surely go down as the year’s most debated and controversial fight, with opinions sharply divided on whether Horn was a worthy winner or Pacquiao was robbed.

Count me in the former camp, as I thought Horn was the clear winner and felt much of the ire for the judging (emanating mostly from the US) stemmed from Teddy Atlas jumping the shark on commentary for ESPN.

In my view, Chris Flores, Ramon Cerdan and even Waleska Roldan (whose 117-111 card matched my own) did a perfectly competent job.

 

July 8th – Phil Edwards allowed constant fouling and lacing from Gary Corcoran, as he mauled his way to a highly debatable decision over Larry Ekundayo.

 

July 29th – Jorge Sebastian Heiland hobbled around from the first bell against Jermall Charlo and never, excuse the pun, stood a chance.

Benjy Esteves Jr. should have stopped the fight earlier than he did, and in round 2 he showed amateurish indecision by initially made a hand motion to rule a knockdown a slip, only to then change his mind & pick up the count.

Heiland claimed to have suffered the injury at the beginning of the fight, but that seems an outright lie. Reportedly, Heiland even had trouble walking at the weigh in.

How such physical debilitation was not noticed and acted upon by anybody at the New York State Athletic Commission is a mystery.

It almost seems as if no pre-fight medical examination was carried out, which seems ludicrous, until one thinks that this very oversight was committed by this same commission in the recent past, as exposed by Thomas Hauser.

 

Jarrell Miller dominated Gerald Washington, stopping him after 8 rounds.

One judge somehow had the bout even at the time of the stoppage, but, at this time, I have been unable to find out which of the three it was.

 

July 30th – Victor Ortiz vs. Saul Corral should have been stopped after the penultimate knockdown, which would have saved Corral from an unnecessary brutal KO.

Shame on ref Jack Reiss.

 

Nevada State Athletic commission boss Bob Bennett is boxing’s least believable liar:

https://www.mmafighting.com/platform/amp/2017/8/21/16180278/nevada-commissions-bob-bennett-mayweather-vs-mcgregor

“I’m known as an executive director to be very conservative in approving fights, whether they [be] MMA or boxing. I have a format that I go by that I had to deviate a little from.”

An oxymoron, with the emphasis on moron.

His barely concealed glee at securing an “unprecedented event” for his state was vomit-worthy at yesterday’s fight week presser.

 

Further belly-laughs can be had in delving further into his reasoning for sanctioning this bout, acting as if a Nate Diaz fight in UFC has any bearing on a debutant taking on the best boxer of recent decades:

http://www.boxingscene.com/nsac-head-mcgregor-win-over-diaz-key-fight-approval–119408?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

 

Most disturbingly, the NSAC flouted their own rules in allowing the use of 8oz gloves for this 154lb. fight, despite an open letter from the Association of Ringside Physicians warning of the dangers of such a decision:

http://nyfights.com/fight-news-nyf/ringside-physicians-versus-8-oz-gloves-mayweather-mcgregor/

Bennett sure did a 180 in the weeks following this quote from August 2nd:

 

It’s almost surprising until one takes into account all the previous occasions Nevada has bent over backwards to accomodate their favourite son:

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (May & June 2017)

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:

http://www.boxingscene.com/nsac-head-not-view-mayweather-mcgregor-mismatch–116754

 

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:

http://www.saturdaynightboxing.com/2017/07/letter-to-executive-director-of-ohio.html

 

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:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/thomas-hauser-keystone-cops-at-the-new-york-state-athletic-commission/

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (April 2017)

April 4th – Edner Cherry edged Omar Douglas at super featherweight, a result marred by Kevin Morgan’s 98-92 verdict.

Ron McNair’s 80-72 for Frank De Alba against Ryan Kielczweski on the undercard was even worse.

 

April 8th – Phil Edwards missed a third round body shot knockdown scored by Jack Catterall against Martin Gethin.

The mismatch ended shortly thereafter, so thankfully it didn’t alter the outcome.

This was a night of controversy in Manchester, with the majority of it surrounding the Liam Smith-Liam Williams clash.

It started at the weigh-in, with multiple sources, including Frank Warren himself, stating that WBO supervisor John Handelaar and others informed Liam Smith that he had one hour to shed the approx. two lbs. he was over when he’d initially missed the weight.

Whether he would have been able to do this is up for debate, but what is ludicrous is that it came to light shortly afterwards that the rules actually allow for two hours, by which point Smith had rehydrated and could no longer make a realistic attempt.

I’d like to know what in the hell someone like Handelaar is there for if not to have a knowledge of such a basic rule and make it clear to all parties involved?!

Only in boxing.

Then, in the fight itself, Williams was dominating, with Smith coming on in spurts, until a severe cut was opened up in the 9th round, which caused Williams’ trainer Gary Lockett to call a halt to the bout at round’s end.

The question is: what caused the cut?

In full view of ref Terry O’Connor, Smith blatantly connected with a deliberate headbutt to Williams’ eye. Honestly, there was a case to be made for a disqualification.

On replay, the eye appeared to have begun bleeding moments before the butt (how any initial damage was caused remains unclear), but was surely worsened to its grotesque state by it.

O’Connor acted as if no head clash had happened and when the fight was stopped it was simply ruled a tko win for Smith, essentially earned with his head rather than his fists.

We’ll never know what would have happened had O’Connor or the doctor stopped the fight between rounds rather than Lockett, but my best guess is that the result would have been the same.

Lastly, Steve Gray Marcus McDonnell & Don Trella were all primed to screw Williams anyway, all scoring what should have been a commanding lead as 86-85.

The cherries on top were the cards of Mikael Hook (120-108) & Zoltan Enyedi (118-110) in the nominal main event, which gave no credit to away boxer Petr Petrov’s decent challenge of 135lb. titlist Terry Flanagan.

 

In Maryland, USA, Oleksandr Usyk laboured to defeat Michael Hunter, only fully getting to grips with the challenger late, battering him in the final round to such an extent that it was very poor refereeing from Billy Clancy that allowed things to reach the final bell.

Salt in the wounds was provided by the matching 117-110 card of Dave Braslow, Lynne Carter and Jamie Garayua.

In the main event, Kenny Chevalier should have saved brave Jason Sosa in the 8th round from the punishment he was absorbing at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko.

Thankfully, Sosa’s corner pulled him out after nine.

 

The Nevada State Athletic Commission are, as usual, making a show of themselves, this time through the comments of executive director Bob Bennett, practically falling over himself to green-light the Mayweather-McGregor fiasco: a U-turn from previous reticence on this issue, by the way…

http://www.boxingscene.com/nevada-commission-mcgregor-worthy-mayweather-fight–115389

 

48 year old James Toney, out of the ring for the best part of two years and winless since 2013, will be fighting soon (billed as his retirement bout) against heavyweight journeyman Mike Sheppard on May 13th in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Shame on everyone involved in this dangerous farce, especially the Michigan commission who are licensing it.

 

April 15th – Ricky Burns was completely outclassed by Julius Indongo in their 140lb. unification clash.

So Jose Roberto Torres’ 116-112 card was baffling — where did he find four rounds to give home boxer Burns?

 

April 22nd – Martin Murray edged a highly competitive bout against Gabriel Rosado by majority decision, however the 119-109 score of Leszek Jankowiak almost caused a post-fight melee to break out.

Horrible stuff and it will surely stand out as one of the year’s worst cards.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (March 2017)

February 24th – Thomas Essomba lost to Jay Harris in a highly competitive Commonwealth title bout, marred by the 117-112 card of Robert Williams to the home boxer, Harris.

 

March 4th – Judges sure do love Danny Garcia.

Kevin Hunter was the latest to fall under his curious spell, scoring him an improbable 115-113 winner over Keith Thurman. Thankfully the other two got it right.

 

March 17th – David Grayton got screwed out of a win over veteran Kermit Cintron, being forced to settle for a technical draw after scores of 47-47 twice (Adam Friscia & Steve Weisfeld) & a crazy 46-49 turned in by Tony Lundy.

In the night’s main event, Amir Mansour almost suffered the same treatment against Travis Kauffman, Steve Weisfeld continuing his bad night with a 114-114 score.

Mansour walked away with the majority verdict.

 

March 18th – Carlos Cuadras-David Carmona could have gone either way.

Cuadras escaped with the decision, including 97-93 cards from John Poturaj & Robin Taylor that did little to reflect the fight.

 

March 23rd – Jason Quigley had to fight hard to beat Glen Tapia over ten rounds, but Tapia’s effort wasn’t recognized by poor cards of 100-90 (Carla Caiz) and 99-91 (Zac Young).

 

March 25th – Joe Gallagher, and ref Victor Loughlin, deserve ire for failing to protect Marcus Morrison from himself as he received a bad beating from Jason Welborn down the stretch.

Perhaps in an attempt to make up for this, Gallagher then played to the cameras in the night’s main event, making a faux move to pull Anthony Crolla out with one round to go against Jorge Linares, when his charge appeared to be in no serious danger of being stopped.

The prevailing feeling was one of embarrassment.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (January & February 2017)

January 28th – In Indio, California, Miguel Berchelt enjoyed a breakthrough ko win over Francisco Vargas at super featherweight.

It’s just as well he closed the show with a stoppage, because judge Rey Danseco’s 95-95 card threatened to make matters dodgy had this increasingly one-sided fight gone the full twelve.

 

February 2nd – Yordenis Ugas eked out a split decision over Levan Ghvamichava, a result marred by the 99-90 score of judge Ressie Allen.

 

February 18th – Lamont Peterson decisively beat David Avanesyan at welterweight. Phil Rogers’ 115-113 offering was unrealistically close for comfort.

 

Earlier on the same card, Marcus Browne stopped Thomas Williams Jr. in 6 rounds.

The moment of interest as far as I’m concerned happened in round 2 and involved the questionable and confused decision-making of ref Ken Miliner.

Via Tim Starks of the Queensberry Rules: “Browne flirted with disqualification after the 2nd round knockdown by hitting Williams while he was down, but the ref instead counted Williams out, then changed his mind, deducted Browne a point and let Williams recover. The ref then made a weird decision that he was going to start a new round, before being informed there was half a 2nd round left to go. OK.”

 

The night’s main event served up an evenly matched bout between Adrien Broner and Adrian Granados, ending in a split decision in favour of an increasingly unimpressive Broner.

Steve Weisfeld’s 97-93 card was simply not reflective of the good work Granados did in the fight.

 

Some old news here, from one year ago, but it’s astonishing enough to merit mention.

The California Commission (boss Andy Foster) actually licensed a 200lb. female boxer, Keela Byrd Byars, to make her debut aged 59 (a controversial decision win over a 40-something, near-300lber) and fight a second time aged 60 (a ko loss to a 46yo).

Zach Arnold of FightOpinion reflects on this farce of all farces:

http://www.fightopinion.com/2016/03/27/boxing-andy-foster-california-keela-byrd-byars-60-years-old/

 

Feb. 25th – After a slow start, Deontay Wilder stopped Gerald Washington in 5 rounds to retain his heavyweight belt.

Not that Keith Hughes (39-37 Wilder) saw it that way. Home cooking.

Also, while the timing of the stoppage of the fight was ultimately correct, ref Michael Griffin’s indecisive in-and-out movements during the fight’s conclusion threatened to marr the outcome, most notably when he stepped between the boxers to pause the action briefly at a moment in which Washington was in particularly trouble.

Luckily, Wilder would land enough punches to end things anyway in the following moments.

 

In Britain, incompetent official extraordinaire Ian John-Lewis had another one of his nightmare nights.

First, while refereeing the Luke Campbell-Jairo Lopez fight, he stepped in to separate the fighters for literally no reason with Lopez reeling from some hard Campbell shots. (This is his specialty — Michael Griffin is just an imitator)

While it didn’t affect the result and Lopez would capitulate not too long afterwards, it was a typical example of John-Lewis’ skittish and incomprehensible decision making.

In the main event between Gavin McDonnell and Rey Vargas, the home hope McDonnell was defeated soundly. John-Lewis saw things differently though, handing in a 114-114 card that was met with widespread derision.

How many more times does this moron have to screw up for the BBBofC to take some damn action?!

 

Speaking of the British board, a report in the Sun newspaper has claimed that up to 89 British fighters in recent times may have faced foreign opposition with falsified records:

http://www.boxingscene.com/british-board-tackling-issue-foreign-fighters-falsifying-records–114032

One hopes that the British Boxing Board of Control actually address this issue properly, and their stated concern isn’t simply lip service…but I suspect it will be brushed under the carpet (Robert Smith: “we…are satisfied that things have been done correctly”), and Latvian lemmings will continue to fall over in a round in many a British ring.

Sham records and sham bouts are almost certainly here to stay.

 

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (November & December 2016)

Nov. 3rd – Did this show in Variani, Georgia’s “Sport Hall” actually happen?! — http://boxrec.com/show/742202

 

Nov. 5th – Phil Sutcliffe Jr. was very lucky to get the decision over Chris Jenkins in Belfast, but it was the margin of ref Hugh Russell Jr’s 98-93 card (he was the bout’s sole scorer) that makes this a particularly egregious robbery.

 

In Vegas, Dave Moretti’s 114-113 card for Pacquiao against Jessie Vargas was very generous to the Nevada boy.

 

Credit to the poster going by the username ‘Wallet’ on the Checkhookboxing.com forums for unearthing this one.

 

There’s something very fishy about the record of former George Groves opponent, Baker Barakat, a German-based, Kurdish-born journeyman.

9 of his 41 ‘wins’ can be attributed to trilogies with Michael Gensing (0-14), Vadim Lebedev (1-15) & Denis Tykanov (1-13).

Another 6 are due to facing the murderer’s row of Constantin Stavre (0-10), Frank Borchert (0-17) & Achmed Kodar (0-15).

Perhaps the most amusing part though, is that he beat Ommid Mostaghim in 2007, and since then Mostaghim has refereed 5 of his fights.

After beating Guekkan Acar in 2009, Acar officiated one of Barakat’s fights a year later.

The majority of these bouts took place in the Energy Gym or Vital Gym, and were, wait for it, promoted by Barakat himself!

Apparently sanctioned by the German Boxing Association, these sham contests are a stain on the sport, but this is something that regularly goes on all around the world.

 

http://www.boxingscene.com/felix-sturm-b-sample-also-positive-banned-ped–110654

Felix Sturm’s B-sample has also tested positive, thus confirming my September suspicions as to why he left Germany, where legal action and a possible jail sentence await – https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/named-and-shamed-judging-the-judges-september-2016/

Amusingly, BDB boss Thomas Putz, he of the alleged improper “commercial involvement” with Sturm (https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/named-and-shamed-judging-the-judges-october-2016/), says Sturm will receive no ban due to his, now confirmed, test failure.

 

Nov. 12th – Nelson Altamirano was hosed by judges Dieter Adam (75-78), Oliver Brien (73-79) and Arnold Golger (74-78) in his bout against home prospect Phillip Nsingi in Magdeburg, Germany.

 

 

Nov. 18th – When tragedies happen in boxing, it’s all too easy to look back in hindsight and say a fight should have been halted, behaving as if we could see it coming in the deteriorating condition of the damaged fighter, when this is usually not the case.

However, sometimes it is justified, and, hand on heart, to me, and I’m sure many others, Eduard Gutknecht did not look right as he absorbed unnecessary punishment in the final rounds of his fight with George Groves.

Maybe it was in part due to a sense of deja vu stemming from Nick Blackwell in recent times, his career-ender with Eubank Jr. having also been aired on Channel 5.

Post-fight, Gutknecht collapsed, was placed into a coma for a brain bleed and is now undergoing treatment in Germany, with no good news yet emerging in the 5 weeks since.

I say this with restraint, but Terry O’Connor has long proven to be an unsafe and incompetent referee. In my view, he was at fault here for not stopping the fight 3 or 4 rounds from the end, which may have made a great difference to the current condition of Gutknecht.

 

Nov. 19th – Robert Hoyle’s 97-93 card in favour of Maurice Hooker over Darleys Perez was odious.

 

But this judging controversy was lost in the fervent debate over the result of that night’s Kovalev-Ward main event.

 

Burt A. Clements, Glenn Trowbridge and John McKaie have all come under scrutiny for their matching 114-113 cards in favour of Ward in a bout most observers, at least those at ringside or watching on HBO PPV, saw Kovalev as winning.

What must be remembered in the heat of post-fight debate is that there is a disctinct line between controversy & reasoned disagreement around a close fight and hyperbolic shouts of robbery.

I had to laugh at RingTV’s Doug Fischer’s tweet of “OH MY GOD. This is the worst robbery I’ve ever witnessed”.

The truth is that, while the majority saw Kovalev the winner, I and many others thought the judging was ultimately accurate, with Ward finding a way to bank rounds down the stretch to win. It was a fight with many close rounds that could have been scored either way.

Let’s leave the cries of robbery in 2016 and just hope for a fun and decisive rematch in the new year.

 

Dec. 10th – Danrex Tapsadan has been named and shamed here before, and he earned further mention for his handling of Isaac Dogboe vs. Julian Evaristo Aristule in Auckland, New Zealand.

Dogboe dropped Aristule in round 7 and a slow count allowed the journeyman to box on and receive further punishment. Then, once Aristule was dropped again, Tapsadan was going to let him continue, though he was obviously in no fit state to, before a more compassionate corner waved the white towel.

 

One of the year’s biggest boxing black eyes surely must be the recent case of Alexander Povetkin failing a drug test (his 2nd this year) days before a planned title eliminator, only to still be allowed by the Professional Boxing Federation Of Russia to fight a new opponent on less than a day’s notice, whom he duly knocked out in brutal fashion.

Here is Dan Rafael’s take on the lurid subject:

http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/18318905/allowing-alexander-povetkin-fight-testing-positive-not-boxing-greatest-moment

 

Dec. 30th –  What in the hell was ref Yuji Fukuchi doing at the conclusion of the Ryota Murata-Bruno Sandoval bout?

This is up there with the ref that helped Yoan Pablo Hernandez to his feet to continue after he was heavily knocked down by Wayne Braithwaite in 2008.

This has to be seen to be believed:

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (October 2016)

WBO representative Danny Leigh defended ref Marlon Wright’s botched handling of the Parker-Dimitrenko finish, bizarrely both conceding that it may have been an illegal punch that ended the bout (it was), while praising Wright for awarding the win to Parker as if the blow was legal (and openly labelling Dimitrenko a malingerer):

http://www.boxingscene.com/wbo-rep-on-dimitrenko-protest-he-looking-way-out–109345

 

Oct. 7th – The Kieran Smith vs. Robert Asagba undercard bout ended after 18 seconds, after another rabbit punch controversy.

There is seemingly no uniform way of dealing with the situation when this happens, and usually the illegal blow is ignored as in the Wright/Parker case, and here, by ref Kenny Pringle.

Surely a simple protocol can be put in place.

If it is to be considered an accidental foul, surely a set recovery time can be given to the damaged boxer? If he can’t continue, a no contest should be the only fair recourse.

Unfortunately, boxing lacks such common sense, and it’s decided on the discretionary whims of a case by case basis, usually in favour of the house fighter.

 

In that card’s main event, Jesus Cova’s 118-110 for Ricky Burns over Kiryl Relikh must be one of the worst cards of the year.

The fight could quite easily have been scored either way.

 

Oct. 8th – Ref Lee Cook’s 78-77 saved George Jupp from the embarrassment he should have suffered against journeyman Jordan Ellison.

 

Another scandal for the BDB commission in Germany, as Sam Soliman wins a legal battle, the German district court in Kiel ruling that he was wrongfully found to have committed an anti-doping violation after his first bout with Felix Sturm:

http://www.boxingscene.com/sam-soliman-over-moon-with-court-victory-germany–109935

Soliman’s manager further alleged that BDB president Thomas Putz had an improper “commercial involvement” with Sturm, which wouldn’t surprise me, as Sturm was once alleged to have paid the WBA to avoid being forced to fight his mandatory challenger…a certain Gennady Golovkin!

 

Oct. 15th – Raiko Djajic’s 117-112 card for Ryan Walsh in his unsuccessful big to become European champion against Dennis Ceylan was a very poor one.

 

Oct. 22nd – In the most foul-filled bout I’ve seen all year, Jamie Cox eventually decisioned Martin Fidel Rios.

Ref Phil Edwards should probably have disqualified both boxers (amusingly, a double DQ occured earlier in Rios’ career), and never had control of the bout, his frequent threats empty and toothless.

Most alarmingly, at one point Rios appeared to bite the shoulder of Cox, who retaliated with a blatant and quite vicious headbutt.

Both boxers were extremely dirty, but, to my eyes, Cox was the greater offender. No surprise though that the away boxer, Rios, was ultimately deduced the more points: 3 to Cox’s 2.

 

Elsewhere in the UK that night, Sam Eggington eventually wore down Frankie Gavin for an 8th round stoppage in a terrific fight.

However, in the 6th round, with Gavin on the verge of being stopped, ref Victor Loughlin gave him a standing 8 count, despite this being nowhere in the rulebook for bouts in a British ring.

What the hell was he doing? Thankfully it didn’t, but this stupidity could easily have changed the outcome.

 

Rian Scalia for BloodyElbow: “Fake fights & dangerous mismatches: Inside Argentina’s boxing underworld”:

http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2016/11/2/13482778/fake-fights-dangerous-mismatches-inside-the-underworld-argentina-boxing-feature-story

One of the most interesting boxing pieces I’ve read all year.

#TraffickingofHumanFlesh in the form of fabricated records, sham contests, corrupt conflicts of interest, a dirty Boxrec editor, gross safety hazards, and boxers fighting under the identities of other, deceased, fighters…sometimes against each other!

I’d say this was all hilarious if it wasn’t so disgustingly dangerous & money driven.

We already know that similar practices go on in Eastern European countries (and who knows where else), where boxers build up fake records so they can come to the UK & be bowled over.

Only in the wild west of fight sports.

I give credit to the Louisiana State Boxing and Wrestling Commission for stopping the Mason Menard contest referenced in the article from taking place. More commissions around the world should follow suit, rigorously fact-checking the context behind an import’s record, real or fake.

 

Speaking of sham contests, anyone going to this card in Georgia tomorrow?

http://boxrec.com/show/742202

Should be a good one.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (September 2016)

Felix Sturm is facing a potential 3 year prison sentence at the hands of German police due to a doping investigation opened in the aftermatch of his failed test stemming from the robbery rematch ‘win’ over Fedor Chudinov:

http://www.boxingscene.com/felix-sturm-faces-three-years-prison-over-doping-investigation–108501

That couldn’t have anything to do with why he recently moved away from Germany and back to his homeland of Bosnia, could it?

 

The Tyson and Hughie Fury hearing for their failed UKAD drug tests will be on November 4th.

It’s worth noting tht Team Fury still claim that the ankle injury (which forced the Klitschko bout’s penultimate cancellation) was legitimate and that they were informed of the provisional suspension less than an hour after they had announced publicly the postponement of the bout.

Team Fury further claim that, when first informed about the failed tests, they were told by UKAD that they had done nothing wrong and were given dietary information on foods which may contain nandralone.

We can only hope the truth of the matter becomes more clear in the aftermath of the hearing.

While it’s not relevant now in the wake of Tyson’s failed test for cocaine and the cancellation of the October 29th date (whether this was the real reason, or the claims of mental health problems are genuine), it is still crazy to me that the hearing was scheduled for after he would have been potentially allowed to fight again against Klitschko.

What in the hell would have happened if Fury had beaten Klitschko again, only to be found guilty of a doping offence from nearly two years prior & handed a ban?

 

Another piece of ignominious news worth noting is that UKAD testers were allegedly sent packing and told to “fuck off” without being allowed to collect a sample when they showed up at the Fury camp:

http://linkis.com/www.mirror.co.uk/spo/N9EJK

It seems this was a test that was sought to be conducted prior to the September 22nd cocaine failure under the aegis of VADA.

Will this refusal to submit to be tested play a part in the UKAD hearing?

 

Thomas Hauser continues to expose the incompetence of the New York State athletic commission:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/thomas-hauser-for-the-ring-turmoil-grows-at-the-nysac/

‘ [An] email, sent in the wake of the July 30 Leo Santa Cruz vs. Carl Frampton card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, read in part, “There are some instances that occurred this past weekend that are very concerning and will need to be addressed immediately. Hopefully, by sending this written communication to all, we can help prevent future mistakes and continually improve our operations.”

Among other things, the email declared (partly in solid capital letters and bold type), “NEVER LEAVE A FIGHTER ALONE FOR ANY REASON AFTER A PRE-FIGHT URINE HAS BEEN COLLECTED. This is one of the most basic and important rules to follow.”

That was followed by another declaration in solid capital letters and bold type: “NEVER TELL A BOXER OR CORNER THAT YOU ARE NEW OR YOU DON’T KNOW THE RULES. In any situation where you may be confused or where clarification is necessary, you should always remain calm and collected, and simply explain to the fighter and their corner that you need to discuss the matter with a supervisor.”

There was more.

“Everyone needs to understand the proper way to wrap a hand, as well as any incorrect methods that a corner may try to sneak past you. We only allow 6 inches of tape on the hand before wrapping; not on the wrists, not on the elbows, not on the fingers, not on the forearms. We also do not allow the knuckle pads to be rolled on the knuckles. They are to remain flat (if necessary, they can be folded in half).”

Bentley further admonished, “As an inspector, if you notice something that you think is being done incorrectly by another inspector, ask your colleague to step to the side and have a private conversation to discuss your concerns. You may be wrong, so to call a matter to the attention of a fighter or their camp (or even the opponent and their camp) is completely unprofessional and is equivalent to shouting ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded room.”

Problems like this arise when inspectors are poorly trained and assigned to fights on the basis of political priorities and personal favoritism rather than competence.’

 

Sept. 10th – Cathy Leonard’s 117-111 card was well off in the Roman Gonzalez-Carlos Cuadras 115lb. title fight.

 

The same can be said of Glen Hamada’s 117-111 for Lee Haskins in his rematch win over Stuart Hall, a fight that could have been scored either way.

 

Sept. 17th – In Gdansk, Poland, Patryk Szymanski was very fortunate to escape with the decision over the visiting Jose Antonio Villalobos.

Przemyslaw Moszumanski (95-94) and Andreas Stenberg (96-94) were the offending parties.

 

Sept. 24th – It was another bad night for officiating on a British card in the Anthony Crolla-Jorge Linares show.

Firstly, Guillermo Perez Pineda scored Jack Arnfield a 118-110 winner over John Ryder in an even fight.

Serial offender Terry O’Connor, as ref for the main event, repeatedly warned Linares for beltline ‘low blows’, usually at the prompting of Crolla himself, who stopped on multiple occasions and looked to O’Connor for help.

O’Connor happily obliged his countryman, causing Paulie Malignaggi on commentary to rightly blast him for “home cooking”.

In my opinion, it’s ridiculous that any world title bout can be refereed by someone from the same country as one of the particpants.

It’s yet another backwards practice in boxing that routinely invites bias and controversy.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (August 2016)

August 4th – Washed up heavyweight Odlanier Solis was allowed by the BDB, clearly an absolute joke of a commission, to begin his comeback against the 2-25 Milos Dovedan, with 22 knockout losses to his name.

Fat slob Solis took him out in two rounds, but this sort of sham contest is a disgrace to boxing.

Solis may be finished, but he’s a former Olympic champion for god’s sake. Dovedan shouldn’t be allowed to box, never mind fight someone of Solis’s elite background.

 

Incredible incompetence at play from Tom Hoover and others at the New York State athletic commission, as well as the political railroading of David Berlin, as reported by Thomas Hauser:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/14/thomas-hauser-for-ringtv-nysac-under-fire-the-federal-government-steps-in-parts-i-ii/

If this is what’s happening at one of the world’s biggest fight commissions, one wonders what happens where nobody is looking. An insight, perhaps, can be found in our look at the McMahon experience in Mexico a little later.

 

As also discussed by Hauser, the rise of mandatory insurance requirements in New York to the ludicrous $1m in the aftermatch of the Abdusalamov tragedy is threatening to kill boxing in New York, particularly at a grass roots level.

George Willis further expounds on this topic, arguing that it is a measure implemented to protect the state from liability, rather than to protect boxers:

http://nypost.com/2016/09/02/insurance-requirement-for-contact-sports-hides-ugly-reality/

 

Aug. 13th – Comrade Roy Jones Jr.’s latest bout in the neverending retirement tour took place in his hometown of Pensacola.

The opponent was of the Dovedan sort that should never have been sanctioned by the Florida boxing brass: a loser of 9 in a row, winless since 2002, named Rodney Moore.

It’s a testament to how far gone Roy is that it went the full ten.

 

In a statement from its president, Juan Carlos Pelayo, the Commission of Professional Boxing and Wrestling in Tijuana ruled that Antonio Margarito would not be required to pass any special medical exams on the state of his grotesquely disfigured eye prior to his bout with Ramon Alvarez.

The laughable reason given was that he had passed a supposedly “very rigourous study” undertaken by a Mexico City physician prior to the first fight of his sure to be disastrous comeback.

No concern was given to the tremendous punishment he absorbed in that fight, and any damage he may have accummulated in sparring since.

He escaped from his second return fight with a split decision.

 

Joe O’Neill of irish-boxing.com reports on the rather stunning set of circumstances that surrounded Christina McMahon’s controversial world title defeat to Zulina Munoz on March 12th:

http://www.irish-boxing.com/wbc-corruption-details-mcmahons-mexico-nightmare/#

Tainted gloves, suspect scoring, no check weigh-ins, lack of supervisors, lack of contractually-mandated anti-doping testers, and, after pressure from the McMahon team, urine samples collected in cotton bud containers and allegedly tested, if they were at all, in a lab without WADA certification.

So much for the WBC’s much-vaunted ‘clean boxing programme’.

 

Aug. 21st – Bernard Bruni’s 99-91 card didn’t do Shelley Vincent justice in her loss to Heather Hardy on the NBC-televised undercard of Errol Spence.

 

As one can already see, despite August being a light month for boxing, at least on the professional front, there was no shortage of controversy and incompetence to reflect on with the standard incredulity.

However, nothing was to compare to the absolute farce that was the 2016 Olympic boxing tournament.

Those in the know could see it coming a mile away, thanks to the reporting of Ognan Georgiev, and Owen Wilson et al of The Guardian:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/owen-gibson-for-the-guardian-olympic-boxing-tournament-hit-by-corruption-allegations/

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/the-guardian-olympic-boxing-corruption-alive-and-well-says-official-as-rows-continue/

 

Jake Donovan of Boxingscene sums the tournament’s judging up nicely:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/jake-donovan-of-boxingscene-on-the-olympic-scoring-controversies-because-thats-boxing-for-you/

 

The most publicized victim of the many robberies was Ireland’s Michael Conlan, whose gloriously frank live reaction went viral:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/video-michael-conlan-reacts-on-rte-to-olympic-robbery/

I was also pleased to see that RTE had a sense of humour about the situation:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/rte-asks-can-you-beat-nikitin/

 

Evgeny Tishchenko’s ‘win’ over Vassily Levit in the heavyweight gold medal match was the other result which drew the greatest ire.

Michael Gallagher, Armando Alvarado Carbonell and Kheira Yakoub Sidi were assigned to do the dirty work of their higher-ups.

Elsewhere, the Tony Yoka-Filip Hrgovic super heavyweight semi final was bad enough, with Mykola Karakulov and Jose Bonet conspiring to screw Hrgovic out of his rightful final spot for bouncing Yoka all over the ring.

However, the final was even worse, as Yoka was gifted gold despite a domination at the hands of Joe Joyce.

It doesn’t take a statistical overview to see who was the rightful winner, but Compubox estimates that Joyce outlanded Yoka by more than 2 to 1, tripling him in the power punch department:

http://www.worldboxingnews.net/2016/08/22/news/joyce-lands-double-yoka-s-punches-in-olympic-final-say-stats

Such obvious superiority wasn’t enough for the crooked pair of Emre Aydin and Roland Juhasz.

 

The International Olympic Committee show no signs of stepping in and seriously investigating the rampant bribes, bought and paid for medals, fixed draws & assignment of judges, therefore the corruption overseen by president Wu Ching-kuo of AIBA will continue unabated.

Anybody that takes amateur boxing, or semi-pro codes like the World Series of Boxing (WSB), seriously needs their head examined.

I certainly won’t be watching again, not in four years or forty.