Looking through my college catalog during my freshman year I only dreaded one class; Math 110 - Integrated Algebra. I was never any good in math in high school but Math 110 was a course that I had to take and pass, to move towards getting a degree.
I struggled like Marco Antonio Barrera seemed to do towards the final six rounds of his bout with the rugged Rocky Juarez. My professors combinations came in good old fashioned check marks with a red pen. Barrera’s combinations landed quite frequently at first, but Juarez started to get his groove after the first four rounds, spilling his own red ink out of Barrera’s nose and closing his eye.
But I digress.
At the end of the night we saw two fighters - one a legend, the other a young up and comer - giving it their all to the verdict of a draw. 115-113 for each fighter and 114-114 on Ken Morita’s scorecard. For the first time Ken Morita actually scored a fight and kept his dignity in the process. Barrera, one of the classiest guys in the game, had no qualms leaving with his first draw in almost 70 fights.
“I think the judges’ decision was just. I respect their decision,” said Barrera minutes after hearing of the draw.
The fight itself was brilliant, but the simple act of adding and subtracting numbers from a score sheet proved too much for Duane Ford and Ken Morita and the commission.
When I was adding numbers and plugging formulas I knew that if I didn’t get it right I wouldn’t pass. Ken Morita and Duane Ford have both had there share of outrageous scorecards throughout their years of ‘judging’ the sweet science. Morita actually had Mike Tyson ahead of Buster Douglas that February night in 1990 when Tyson was stopped in 10 rounds. Imagine for a second if Tyson would have survived that fight to the scorecards and had somehow won because of poor judging. Forget about black eyes to the sport because there would seize to be a sport with such a blatant robbery of such.
Still, sixteen years and some odd number of fights later, the sport continues to let scandalous and questionable decisions pollute the ring we so much enjoy being apart of.
Personally, I saw Barrera win the fight 115-113 but I also scored the last few close rounds the Baby Faced Assassins way when they could have probably gone to the young lion just as easily. I’ve watched Lennox Lewis draw with Evander Holyfield after easily beating him over twelve rounds but this time it was easy to understand that a draw was definitely not out of the question and would be a hard verdict to question.
The real question comes within the dignity of those running our sport. Mistakes happen, but this is the year 2006, are there no calculators around to cut down on these types of errors after a championship fight? Or perhaps the judges, who always seem to be in their late 60's just lack the knowledge to use one properly. It’s not out of the question that a mistake occurred, but this is boxing after all, a sport where too many mistakes happen day in and day out. Take that into consideration along with the fact that De la Hoya’s fighter won, in California, a controversial decision and you have all the makings of a tainted fight.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t De la Hoya promise that his promotions company was going to change boxing?
If that’s the case then why, at the post fight press conference when Juarez asked the crowd who they thought won the fight, did De la Hoya seemingly cut things short? I understand that this is a business and promoters have to back their fighters up, but haven’t the fans been fed the B.S. for too many years? De la Hoya would win some admiration if he was a promoter that stood up there and told the world how lame the excuses are for this controversial fighter that his fighter won. De la Hoya was not shy about his disdain when he lost to Felix Trinidad or Shane Mosely the second time around. Things are different when the shoe is on the other foot evidently.
What are you as fans supposed to do with instances like this walking all over the sport? Let’s not act like this is a new, one-time problem. It happens all throughout the game and nothing - I repeat - nothing - has been done to even come close to patching the holes. Judges and commissions seem to get a PASS when it comes to accountability for their actions or mistakes. Fighters, on the other hand, get fined or have their purses held or face suspensions whenever they make a mistake that is in some way detrimental to a fight or the outcome of one.
Ask yourself this: When’s the last time a judge was suspended? When’s the last time anyone other than a boxer was punished for committing some sort of crime inside of the ring?
The bottom line: There is no accountability for anyone in boxing other than those who produce the drama and excitement between those ropes.
The same guys who are fighting each fight in hopes of getting a shot at a payday that will make all of the sacrifice and hard work overturn the mounts of pure crap they have to go through to make a living by those in charge. When you add it up, boxing doesn’t make sense because for two main reasons. 1) Those in charge don’t have to answer to anyone. 2) They’ve been getting away with scandals, fraud and bogus decisions since the evolution of the sport, so why would they change the way they operate the business?
It’s a sad piece of reality that plagues a sport millions love. The big wigs don’t want you the fan to see this part of boxing - they’d prefer to have it cast out amongst the shadows. They will pile excuses on about how things in boxing are great or how mistakes that have happened once before are sure to never emerge again.
Don’t buy into the propaganda. And most importantly, stop settling for it. Unfortunately for a young, hungry up and comer like Rocky Juarez, he has to settle for such mediocre scoring discipline among judges at ringside. Never mind that this a young man who is probably being told by those round him: ‘Your career lies in what you do inside the ring. Your work ethic and dedication. Your desire to be the best.’
Juarez knows differently, though. He told Larry Merchant that getting a draw in California against a De la Hoya stable mate was as good as a win in his book.
Someone forgot to tell the kid that it wasn’t good enough in the judges book. The same book that has been corrupt to so many other fighters has the potential to control Juarez’s career.
Hopefully someone tells him that it’s best not to leave the fight in the hands of the judges.
Hey, here’s an idea: Maybe fights should go on until there’s only one man standing? As far-fetched as it may sound, there would probably be a lot less controversy.
DROOLING-DLH: Did anyone else find it annoying to hear Jim Lampley and his nearly orgasmic tone when speaking about de la Hoya’s destruction of Ricardo Mayorga a couple weeks ago? I love de la Hoya and respect what he’s done between the ropes, but if you didn’t know who Mayorga was before the fight, you might have confused the fight with one of the many Sugar Ray Robinson Jake LaMatta battles. Now that de la Hoya is a champ once again I wonder how long it will take Brian Kenney to put him on the hot seat and grill him like he was so adamant in doing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. after he beat Zab Judah for a paper title.
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