Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (July 2016)

July 1st – In a clash of super featherweights, Sebastian Diaz was held to an unjust draw against Carlos Ruiz in the latter’s hometown of Mexico City.

Unfortunately, I am unable to find the names of the offending officials who turned in the 96-94 & 95-95 cards.

 

July 8th – In a modicum of justice, the EBU have reacted to the BDB’s licensing of drug cheat Erkan Teper before the end of his official ban, by removing their status as a “full member” of the governing body.

They’re sufficiently toothless to do much more at this stage but at least it’s something.

Full details in Per Ake Persson’s report: http://www.boxingscene.com/ebu-likely-due-tepers-return-drop-bdb-full-member–106522

 

July 15th – Whatever passes for a Mississippi commission had no qualms with licensing prospect Joey Bryant to fight, at late notice, a 0-20-1 opponent named Anthony Woods.

Woods had suffered 13 knockout losses and duly fell over in the 2nd round. Mismatches of this gross nature should never be allowed.

 

July 16th – Ref Reece Carter ignored several big rabbit punches delivered by Joe Pigford to Sam Omidi, which ultimately led to the 4th round stoppage.

 

In the night’s main event in Cardiff, Terry O’Connor failed to call a clear first round knockdown for Liam Williams over Gary Corcoran in their grudge match.

O’Connor is a serial offender and needs to be put out to pasture.

 

In India, Vijender Singh enjoyed a successful homecoming, outpointing veteran Kerry Hope.

However, Ian Scott’s 100-90 card wasn’t an accurate reflection of Hope’s success in the bout.

 

In Germany, a contender for robbery of the year unfolded, as Giovanni De Carolis was held to a draw against prospect Tyron Zeuge in a fight he appeared to win widely.

Levi Martinez (114-114), Juan Manuel Garcia Reyes (114-114) &  Erkki Meronen (114-115) were the ones behind this scoring fiasco.

 

On the undercard, Anthony Ogogo battered journeyman Bronislav Kubin in two rounds, in a fight that should have been stopped at least a minute earlier than it was by ref Gerhard Sigl.

You know it’s bad when the attacking fighter shakes his head and takes a moment to gesture to the referee to stop the punishment.

 

In Alabama, Sammy Vasquez was allowed to egregiously hold throughout his fight with Felix Diaz by ref Keith Hughes.

Thankfully, Diaz eventually got the decision he deserved, but only after enduring the confusion of the bout initially being announced as a draw due to a commission member who forgot to factor in a point deduction.

Such professionalism.

 

July 23rd – Jose Benavidez scraped home against Francisco Santana, in a fight that could have been scored either way.

Not that the judges saw it that way, scoring it unanimously.

Glenn Feldman’s 98-92 was very bad.

Adalaide Byrd’s 100-90 card is as bad as I’ve ever seen. She should never be allowed to judge again.

 

July 25th – The New York State Athletic Commission was blasted by a report released by State inspector general, Catherine Leahy Scott into the Magomed Abdusalamov tragedy.

Details here, in a summary by William Weinbaum:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/17141610/investigation-rips-new-york-state-athletic-commission-handling-tragic-magomed-abdusalamov-bout

“The report said the NYSAC chair at the time of the Abdusalamov bout, Melvina Lathan, ‘failed to ensure appropriate and routine review of Athletic Commission policies and procedures, and failed to train staff on the proper response to medical issues that may arise after a fight.’ And the probe found Lathan and her staff received improper gifts from promoters.

The investigation concluded that her successor, Thomas Hoover, provided free passes to friends and family for boxing matches and knowingly recommended an unqualified person for a commission job, among other inappropriate actions.”

Hoover resigned upon the release of the report.

NYSAC chief medical officer Barry Jordan, and Matt Farrago, the NYSAC inspector for the bout assigned to Abdusalamov, also received some blame for Abdusalamov’s fate and that of his family, who are now dealing with well over $2m in medical fees.

It gets worse, though:

“The Abdusalamov family is suing Jordan and the four athletic commission doctors assigned to the fight, as well as the referee and Farrago, alleging recklessness, gross negligence and medical malpractice. The state in turn sued five of Abdusalamov’s former handlers — two of whom have had their cases dismissed.”

http://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/13136189/new-york-state-sues-magomed-abdusalamov-handlers

“The lawsuit says if there were insufficient care from the state athletic commission’s medical team that night, then the handlers were at fault, too…

Paul Edelstein, attorney for the Abdusalamov family, told [ESPN]: ‘The lead doctor for the entire state says if anything went wrong that night, it’s the fault of these five guys, two of whom weren’t even in his corner. That’s adding insult to injury.'”

Disgusting stuff.

 

July 30th – Howard Foster and Ian-John Lewis’s 115-113 cards in the Tyrone Nurse-Tommy Coyle fight were far too close for comfort in a fight that Nurse appeared to win widely.

 

Another special trainer’s shoutout to Packie Collins, still intent on getting his boxers hurt by sending Patrick Hyland out for the 9th round against Josh Warrington when he had absolutely nothing left.

Has he learned nothing from the beating he allowed Frank Buglioni to absorb from Fedor Chudinov last year?

 

Carl Frampton’s excellent win over Leo Santa Cruz could really have been scored either way.

Tom Schreck’s 117-111 was a disservice to Santa Cruz.

 

The Olympic boxing is underway in Rio and some outstanding work by Ognan Georgiev for FightNews.com explains why you shouldn’t take the tournament all that seriously:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/ognian-georgiev-for-fightnews-on-deep-corruption-in-amateur-boxing-the-price-of-an-olympic-quota/

Flagrant corruption from top to bottom, including crooked judges, fixed draws, bribes to ensure medal quotas are met and god knows what else.

This should be a bigger story.

 

In the aftermath of his failed drug test, and being stripped of the WBA’s “regular” heavyweight trinket, Lucas Browne is suing the WBA in order to get his title back.

I don’t know what his legal argument is, but it sure seems to have put fear into the hearts of the money-grubbing WBA, who, as a means of placating Browne into dropping his lawsuit, are set to allow him to face the awful and shot Fres Oquendo for the now vacant bauble: http://tinyurl.com/z96qm2x

After all, they did allow Luis Ortiz to fight again for their interim belt one fight after he’d been stripped of that same belt for a positive test. Might as well be consistent!

And now the cheaters know that if you create a big enough stink, you will get your way with the spineless sanctioning bodies.

 

The British Boxing Board of Control have decided to implement a rule that makes absolutely no sense: http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/bbbofc-adopt-fresh-stance-on-failed-drug-tests-in-britain/

Basically, if a fighter fails a drug test in the aftermath of a bout, the result will be changed to a ‘no contest’ regardless of who won.

So, if a boxer manages to beat an enhanced opponent, he will be robbed of the win, and, in a title fight, presumably the title he has (doubly) earned.

I’d love to know their reasoning behind this bullshit. The rule will come into effect starting on September 1st.

 

After what’s been an ugly summation of the month of July in boxing, let’s end on a positive note, and one that brings new meaning to ‘Judging the Judges’.

Let’s hear it for Judge Robert Ruehlman, who put Broner in the slammer for 30 days after he turned up three hours late for the start of his trial for assault and robbery stemming from an incident at a Cincinnati bowling alley:

http://www.badlefthook.com/2016/3/24/11301278/adrien-broner-accused-of-violent-armed-robbery

After Broner’s bullshit excuses for turning up late had been heard, and looking in a dishevelled state, this judge wasn’t messing around:

“It’s not a good excuse. He looks like he’s drunk or hungover. To coin a little boxing phrase – you’re not ducking this one.”

To make this even funnier, Ruehlman told Broner that he had considered dismissing the charges against him if he had appeared in court on time.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (Special Edition: The Tyson Fury Situation)

Last November, in arguably the biggest major-fight upset in recent years, Tyson Fury decisioned the second longest reigning heavyweight titlist of all time, Wladimir Klitschko, to improbably ascend to the top of the division.

A man who was once seen as lumbering, out of shape and lacking stamina had proven that he could box on the outside like no 6ft 8″ man before him, and that his “too fast” moniker was more than just self-deprecating humour.

But, other than a great tactical gameplan, what was behind the transformation?

Now we know that Fury, and his cousin Hughie (one of the heavyweight division’s top prospects), tested positive for nandralone, a classic anabolic steroid, in February of 2015, information initially leaked by the Sunday Mirror on June 26th of this year.

The test was carried out by United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD), an organization whose reputation was recently damaged by their inaction in the case of informant tip-offs regarding Dr. Mark Bonar’s illicit activities with top sport stars.

As I will elucidate below, further inaction has marked their handling of this case.

The Furys have taken aggressive action and decided to sue UKAD, claiming that their position is strengthened by at least two subsequent negative tests in the following months, as well as testing clean in whatever testing surrounded the Klitschko fight. They also claim that UKAD informed them that the positive test was likely the result of a contaminated dietary supplement.

“The two boxers strenuously deny taking any performance-enhancing drugs,” said Fury lawyer Lewis Power.

“However, during the last five weeks leaks about these charges have appeared in the press and both boxers have been the targets of continual abusive language on Twitter.”

There are so many unanswered questions here, that I don’t even know where to begin.

If the positive test was in February 2015, why did it take UKAD until June 24, 2016 to “provisionally” suspend the Furys & prevent them from boxing?

Tyson fought twice in that time span, and Hughie 5 or 6 times. How could this have been allowed when UKAD knew they had a positive test on their hands?

What was being done in all that wasted 16 months, and what did any investigation undertaken by UKAD into the Furys’ case reveal?

It comes down to results management, and the expediting of drug test results is more important in fight sports than anywhere else.

UKAD have since lifted their provisional suspension, theoretically allowing the Furys to continue to box, pending a future hearing.

To quote from their statement: “The UK Anti-Doping Rules allow athletes to challenge the imposition of a Provisional Suspension and [we] today lifted the athletes’ suspensions, pending full determination of the charges. These charges will be heard at a hearing before the NADP in due course”.

Under what reasoning was an end to the provisional suspension granted?

Why is a hearing needed to determine if an anti-doping violation has occurred? What is it about this particular case that doesn’t match with the standard ‘positive A & B samples equal a ban’ equation?

Will such a hearing take place before the all-important Klitschko rematch, tentatively scheduled for late October?

If, at this hearing, an anti-doping violation is confirmed to have occurred, will Klitschko’s loss be overturned and the titles stripped from Tyson?

What we do know is that the Team Fury have already lied on at least two occasions surrounding these positives. Firstly, claiming an ankle injury as a reason to delay the Klitschko rematch, announcing as such on the very day the provisional ban came into place. Quite a coincidence.

They also lied on June 26th, releasing statements saying they were “baffled” at the doping rumours in the press, when in fact they knew they had been suspended two days prior.

 

What a mess.

Between this case, and the test failures of Alexander Povetkin, Erkan Teper, Lucas Browne, Tony Thompson & Luis Ortiz, I have about as much faith in the cleanliness of the heavyweight division as I do the 100m sprint.

And that’s not even getting into a discussion of the suspiciously gargantuan physiques of some of the other top guys in the division.

 

EDIT 16/9: Team Fury still claim that the ankle injury was legitimate and that they were informed of the provisional suspension less than an hour after they had announced publicly the posponement of the bout.

At this point, as the rematch has been made official for October 29th, it is unclear whether the UKAD hearing on the tests will take place after the bout, or expedited to before it. The latter is quite obviously the only sensible option.

Team Fury further claim that, when first informed about the failed tests, they were informed 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.

Named and Shamed: Judging the Judges (June 2016)

June 3rd – Rances Barthelemy luckily wasn’t affected by the rancid Hilton Whitaker Jr.’s 110-117 card en route to his easy win over Mickey Bey.

 

June 4th – Raul Caiz Sr. pulled a Pat Russell by stopping the first round of the Francisco Vargas-Orlando Salido war ten seconds early at the sound of the clapper.

Fortunately, there was enough action elsewhere in the bout to make up for the deficit.

 

On the undercard, Abraham Lopez-Julian Ramirez resulted in a controversial decision, as most every observer saw Ramirez as the clear winner.

Judges Max DeLuca (97-93), Carla Caiz (97-93), & Fernando Villarreal (98-92) saw things exactly the opposite.

 

June 10th – Lucien Reid’s thrashing of journeyman Trayan Slavev was stopped a full minute too late by ref/sadist-in-training Kieran McCann.

 

June 25th – David Benavidez-Francy Ntetu ended in bizarre fashion, with ref Shada Murtaugh calling a halt to matters suddenly after a period of Ntetu success and with the fighter in no visible distress.

Some good reporting from Boxingscene’s David Greisman sheds further light on the matter:

http://www.boxingscene.com/nysac-doctor-explains-controversial-benavidez-ntetu-stoppage–106104

 

June 28th – Longtime fringe contender Edner Cherry appeared to lose an upset to unknown Haskell Rhodes, only to be saved by the cards of Kevin Morgan (98-92), John Poturaj (97-93), & Steve Weisfeld (97-93).

 

Disgraced Erkan Teper returned to fight Derric Rossy on July 3rd.

But how was this allowed to happen after his 2 year ban for PED use going back to his knockout of David Price last July (as well as the police raid on his home that uncovered vast amounts of PEDs, something that has seemingly gone unpunished)?

More details of his ban can be found here:

https://pound4poundireland.wordpress.com/2015/12/27/named-shamed-judging-the-judges-january-2016/

The answer once again lies in the eternally fractured state of boxing’s regulatory structure, as Germany’s boxing commission (BDB) are under no obligation to honour the EBU’s ban.

Check out the asinine reasoning offered by BDB president Thomas Puetz for their decision:

http://www.boxingscene.com/erkan-teper-details-return-explained-by-bdb-president–106373

Does anyone think a fine, random testing & a last-chance probationary stance is enough of a punishment, or enough of a justification to not honour the EBU’s ban?

Thankfully, Rossy wasn’t hurt in a ten round decision loss, but what about Teper’s next opponent?

If there was any justice in boxing, Teper would never be allowed to fight again after what he’s done.

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:

http://www.boxingscene.com/nj-changes-how-referees-assess-hurt-fighters-knockdowns–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:

http://www.boxingscene.com/wada-meet-with-aiba-shocking-allegations-over-drug-testing–105105

 

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

http://tinyurl.com/gvrl4gw

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.”

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

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (March 2016)

March 5th – Boxing’s latest visit to ‘dear old dirty’ Grozny, to paraphrase James Joyce via Steve Bunce, was always sure to produce some dodgy officiating.

Apri Ushtarkhanov stopped stopped Thomas Mashali after almost 4 minutes of the second round. No, that’s not a typo.

Ref Alexander Kalinkin also allowed the fight to continue when Mashali clearly was begging for a way out and not responding to instructions to step forward after collapsing to the canvas in a heap. He took some unnecessary punches as a result, all when he should have been enjoying his minute’s rest in the corner.

Home boxer Viskhan Murzabekov was upset by veteran Ali Funeka on a split decision. Sergey Litunov’s dissenting 117-111 card was openly biased.

The Browne-Chagaev heavyweight bauble main event was marred by a shoddy timekeeper.

With Browne dropped & hurt, 10 to 15 seconds were added at the end of the 6th, in hopes of Chagaev finishing the job, and once Browne had reasserted himself in round 7, the bell rang approximately 44 seconds early.

Laughable stuff. Browne eventually scored the upset win.

The foreigner’s subsequent failed VADA drug test is another matter, one which may be discussed here later once a decision has been come to by the sanctioning body etc.

 

A strange night too in Washington, as the Jessie Vargas-Sadam Ali vacant title fight at welterweight was marred by ref Tony Chevalier.

To quote Tim Starks of the Queensberry Rules: Chevalier was guilty of “missing a knockdown, pulling Vargas off Ali for no reason, not noticing that Vargas’ corner was waving a white towel, deciding to stop it at an odd moment, etc. etc.”

Worst card of the year? D.C. judge Lloyd Scaife’s effort in the Luis Ortiz-Tony Thompson (the home fighter) main event was quite unbelievable.

He scored round 1 just 10-9 for Ortiz, even though he dropped Thompson. He scored the 5th round for Thompson, even though Ortiz clearly dominated it. Worst of all, he scored the 3rd round 10-9 for Thompson, even though he was the the fighter to hit the deck in that stanza.

Hometown judging has been brought to a new level. Ortiz easily won by 6th round stoppage.

The D.C. commission investigated Scaife’s abomination, but it is unknown what their eventual determination was.

 

March 12th – Marcus McDonnell’s 115-112 card saw the Flanagan-Mathews 135lb. title bout way too close.

To these eyes, it was a virtual shutout.

 

In Mexico, Junior Granados escaped with a robbery split decision over Aston Palicte.

Victor Ortiz Lara (97-93) & Max Ruiz (97-94) were the offenders.

 

March 18th – Dive scandal in Ukraine: http://www.boxingscene.com/ukrainian-dive-scandal-golovkos-win-removed-kuts-gets-ban–102852

Pleased to see the Ukranian National League of Professional Boxing take appropriate action.

 

March 20th – Was initially pleased to see that the Arizona State Boxing & MMA Commission were dubious about licensing the ‘Roy Jones Jr. vs. a fan’ farce that took place last month: http://ringtv.craveonline.com/news/412445-roy-jones-jr-would-have-to-fight-a-pro-not-a-random-fan

However, ultimately, somebody convinced them to go along with it, as Roy blasted out a novice MMA fighter in two rounds on his pro boxing debut.

Talk about toothless…and I’m not referring to old man Roy.

 

March 26th – Ref Steve Gray was too slow to react & pause the action when Zoltan Sera’s arm got stuck in the ropes in the 4th round of his fight with Adam Etches.

This lack of attentiveness hastened Etches’ victory, as Sera was dropped (although a knockdown rightly wasn’t ruled) and given scant time to recover afterwards.

 

The Eubank Jr.-Blackwell British title fight brought near tragedy, as the beating Blackwell suffered meant he had to be put into an induced coma for the week following the contest.

This article is being written in early April, so, with the benefit of hindsight, we know now that Blackwell thankfully didn’t have to suffer through an operation & is awake and able to talk to friends and family. Hopefully he will be able to regain all of his faculties and live a full life.

On the matter at hand, the referee Victor Loughlin, other ringside officials and even Blackwell’s corner team have received much criticism for not stopping the fight sooner, but, to these eyes, that is a case of convenient ’20/20 hindsight’.

While way behind on the cards, Blackwell was always fighting back and there was no single moment, until the eye injury flared up, that one could say Loughlin absolutely should have stepped in.

I don’t think the blame can be placed on the referee or anybody else, and that the fight simply illustrates the dangers inherent in this sport. Blackwell being awake and lucid now is a credit to the modern professionalism of the ringside medical team and those at the hospital that he was swiftly transported to.

 

Prichard Colon, victim of head trauma during his October bout with Terrel Williams, was not so fortunate.

He remains in a coma today, and a Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation report into the matter is illustrative: http://ringtv.craveonline.com/news/415163-virginia-spokesperson-admits-flaws-in-prichard-colon-investigation?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=virginia-spokesperson-admits-flaws-in-prichard-colon-investigation

Ref Joe Cooper, infamous for his botched handling of the Khan-Peterson fight in 2011, and ringside doctor Richard Ashby were both found to have committed errors during the fight, but were found to be officially not at fault for Colon’s injuries.

Furthermore, they would be unable to be held accountable anyway due to their nebulous status as “contract vendors”. The only scant consolation is that Cooper is likely to never ref a fight in this jurisdiction again.

Once more, toothless.

What a tragic mess.

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (February 2016)

Antonio Margarito has been licensed to fight in Mexico and begin an ill-fated comeback from a 4 year+ retirement.

He hadn’t won a fight in six years and the effects of the horrific eye injury sustained against Manny Pacquiao are still grossly evident, as seen in the picture below.

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Here is what I wrote in September, as his return was gaining steam:

“It should be obvious to anybody that has seen the state of Antonio Margarito’s eye at the end of his rematch with Miguel Cotto in 2011 that he should never box again, and thankfully he retired after that contest.

But like so many before him, a return is on the cards after a whopping four year layoff.

Again, Steve Kim provides further detail: http://www.boxingscene.com/antonio-margarito-receives-green-light-ring-return–96230

A big FU to Top Rank, Robert Garcia (who should have saved his man’s eye by pulling him out against Pacquiao, instead of pulling what I’ll henceforth refer to as a ‘Collins’ bros. special’), quack Dr. Alan Crandall et al. in Utah. & anybody else who becomes complicit in this sure-to-be-disastrous return.”

This piece is being written on March 10th, so knowing how Margarito’s fight on the 5th played out only serves to reinforce my opinion that he should never have been allowed to box professionally again.

The former titlist escaped with a close decision against the similarly faded also-ran Jorge Paez Jr., overcoming a heavy knockdown in the sixth round, an aberration for the normally iron-chinned Margarito.

He seems determined to continue his comeback, and, while many would like to see him further punished for his past sins with loaded gloves, here’s hoping he’s never licensed to box in the US again, or against a significant opponent.

 

Feb. 20th – It’s going to be tough to top this one for robbery of the year.

Fedor Chudinov lost his undefeated record and world title in a rematch with Felix Sturm that he appeared to dominate. I scored just a single round for Sturm but the old adage of needing a knockout to get a draw in Germany reared its ugly head once more.

I suppose the signs were there in their first meeting, a similarly dominant win for Chudinov, which was somehow scored a split decision. Both of their meetings took place on cards self-promoted by Sturm, which must have played a part in influencing the judging.

Jean-Louis Legland (113-115), Giuseppe Quartarone (113-115), and Ignacio Robles (114-114) should be the subjects of an investigation for such terrible scorecards.

It’s worth noting that this was just the second fight in the four-year history of the TBRB (http://www.tbrb.org/), of which I am a member, to garner enough member support that the ‘robbery clause’ was triggered. This meant that the official result was not recognized, and Chudinov retained his ranking as if he had won the fight. This is fair, but will obviously be scant consolation.

Sturm, on the other hand, is 37, hadn’t won a fight since 2013, and is basically shot ability-wise, yet this allows his gravy train on German TV to roll on for another while yet.

Such is boxing.

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (January 2016)

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

The latest terrible botch from this incompetent official.

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

The EBU have ordered an immediate rematch.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

British officials really are the worst in boxing.

 

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

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

Named & Shamed: Judging the Judges (October 2015)

October 2nd – Let’s open on a positive note with some praise for the Victor Emilio Ramirez-Ovill McKenzie judges (Alejandro Lopez Cid, John Poturaj & Larry Layton), who didn’t show bias towards the Argentine home fighter and correctly ended up judging the bout a draw.

 

October 3rd – The Humberto Soto-Antonio Orozco judges (Max DeLuca 92-97, Pat Russell 92-97, Fernando Villareal 91-98) never gave the elder statesman, Soto, any chance in his closely contested bout with the prospect.

 

Jose Pedraza and Edner Cherry fought on relatively even terms, and Pedraza came away the disputed split decision winner. The two wide cards in favour of Pedraza (George Hill 117-111, Scott Maddox 117-111) were widely criticized.

 

October 6th – Ellis Johnson’s 99-90 card in favour of Argenis Mendez against Miguel Vazquez chimed with nobody’s view of the contest.

Mendez was a disputed unanimous decision winner.

 

October 10th – Ref Steve Gray missed a 9th round knockdown scored by Craig Evans over Tom Stalker, ultimately affecting the result of what ended up a draw.

Dave Parris’ 96-94 card in favour of Evans was way off.

 

October 13th – The consensus was that Amir Mansour had done more than enough to snatch the unbeaten record of heavyweight prospect Gerald Washington, but he was held to a draw due to the cards of Pat Russell (95-95)  & Adalaide Byrd (93-97).

 

October 14th – Judges Chris Flores (118-110) & Robert Hoyle (119-109) failed to turn in cards that reflected the closeness of the Lee Selby-Fernando Montiel fight.

 

Ref Wes Melton allowed Aron Martinez to blatantly use his head all night, en route to his upset of Devon Alexander.

 

October 16th – Ref Celestino Ruiz did a bad job keeping control of the foul-filled (but, thankfully, entertaining) Kohei Kono-Koki Kameda contest, and, in round two, mistakenly ruled a knockdown against Kameda.

Kono got a deserved decision, but Glenn Feldman’s 116-108 card was a joke.

 

October 17th – Ref Steve Willis should surely have docked Golovkin a point, as well as given the fallen Lemieux his 5 minutes to recover, when he hit his opponent while down, in round 5 of their 160lb. unification. He did neither and Golovkin was allowed to take an unfair advantage.

 

Laughably, in a small show in the Czech Republic, former title challenger Lukas Konecny acted as both promoter & supervisor on behalf of the licensing body, the Czech Union of Professional Boxers, for a card which featured mismatch walkovers for the likes of Robin Krasniqi and Robert Stieglitz.

I bet there are more than a few promoters around the world who would love to be in this kind of position of impunity.

 

October 24th – Evgeny Gradovich looked poor, but nevertheless had few problems in winning an 8 round decision over Aldimar Silva Santos.

Grover Wiley (yes, the man who retired Julio Cesar Chavez) turned in a terrible 77-75 card in favour of Santos.

Maybe the guy just has a soft spot for his fellow journeymen?

 

We’ll end by looking at some licensing & sanctioning issues:

James Toney, the former multiple weight titlist, is now a totally shot 47 year old who hasn’t had a significant win in a decade.

His speech is horribly slurred, and in his last fight he lost to a 9-3-1 club fighter by a lopsided margin.

Still, the boxing decision-makers in Ontario, Canada are licensing him to fight again on December 4th.

Shame on them.

 

Stephen Ormond knocked out journeyman Michael Clark in a round on October 10th in Lowell, Massachusetts.

That was Clark’s 6th consecutive knockout loss, 5 of them coming in the opening round. 3 of those fights took place in Mass., and 2 in Washington.

What is it going to take for the commissions in these places to realize this guy should no longer be fighting?

 

Kudos to the Nevada State Athletic Commission for refusing to sanction the proposed Andre Ward vs. Rohan Murdock (who?) mismatch of epic proportions that was planned for the Cotto-Canelo card.

 

Sadly, Jermain Taylor, whose unhinged and dangerous out of the ring behaviour has been detailed extensively elsewhere (e.g.: http://www.boxingscene.com/jermain-taylor-bailed-out-heads-training-camp–96078), plans to box again after his release on bail pending legal charges for a gun related offence.

Any commission that will license this guy in the future will lose the respect of every sensible boxing fan.

Sanctioned fighting is a privilege, not a right, and somebody with the triple whammy of a history of head trauma, increasingly erratic behaviour (CTE, anybody?), and multiple pending legal cases, should never be let anywhere near a boxing ring again.

We will be watching closely.