A Mistake, Yes. A Controversy, No.

By Darren Nichols


A Mistake, Yes.  A Controversy, No.

On Saturday night, it was CSAC’s Rebecca Alvarez who had the task of writing down the official scores for the Barrera-Juarez fight once she received them from referee Raul Caiz.  The “big conspiracy” happened when Alvarez was transferring the numbers from the judges’ individual score cards to the Master Scorecard.  According to Alvarez, it was her gut instinct that notified her of her mistake; one that could have garnered a conspiracy of Biblical proportions had she tried to sweep her oversight under the rug.  “I guess you can call it ‘a woman’s intuition’ to make sure I had everything correct,” said Alvarez .  “After the fight I pulled all the cards, and put them in order according to each judge.  I double-calculated their scores to make sure everything was right, and that is when I found the mistake.  I could have kept it a secret, but I told the acting commissioner of my error and we fixed it.”  

This was not a case of Alvarez being unable to carry a one into the ten’s column.  In reality, Alvarez’ math skills were never in question because she actually added up the scores correctly according to what she had written down on the Master Score Card.  “The mistake was not even a miscalculation error like everyone is saying,” said CSAC’s Chief Athletic Inspector Dean Lohuis.  “It was a posting error.  I am hearing about reports that a rudimentary math error was made, but the math was fine.  It was the posting of 10-9 [in favor of Juarez] instead of 10-10 on the Master Scorecard that was wrong…there is no conspiracy.”

Simply put, Alvarez copied one of the judges’ scores wrong.

Had she discovered her error minutes earlier, the correction could have been made that was compatible with HBO’s schedule, and only a select few would have been aware of the modest oversight.

When Rocky Juarez was informed in his dressing room after the fight that the verdict had been changed, members of his team including Shelly Finkel and Main Events’ Carl Moretti sat down with the commission to go over both the judges’ score cards and the Master Scorecard.  Together, they added up, down, and sideways all the scores from both sources, and that is when Team Juarez disappointingly saw that judge Ken Morita’s score was actually 115-114 for Barrera instead of a draw at 114-114 – the way Michael Buffer announced it on the air. 

At the post-fight press conference, those whose job it was to speak up for Rocky Juarez asked the question how, with all of today’s technology, could something like this happen in a world title fight in 2006.  What it comes down to is simple human error.  Something we will never be able to rid the world of.  A person will always be required to input the data into a computer, a calculator, or device that performs operations and equations involving numbers. 

The good news is that this type of error does not happen very often in the sport of boxing, and it is only because of it’s rarity that it can overshadow the gallant performances put on by both Barrera and Juarez.

It is like when 10,000 airplanes land safely every day for years, but when one of them fails to operate according to protocol that we hear about it on the headline news.

One person amongst thousands of boxing officials around the world makes one unintentional and excusable mistake that she corrected in a reasonable amount of time and people scream “conspiracy.”

At the end of the night, Alvaraz did her job.  The right man, according to the judges, won.

We can debate the eyesight of judges Duane Ford, Ken Morita, and Anek Hongtongkam, but let us not forget that we saw a great fight Saturday night, with a future hall-of-famer narrowly defeating an Olympic Silver Medalist in a grueling twelve round battle, and the fans leaving the arena wanting more.


Send questions and comments to: DNick@BoxingTalk.com