Jose Aguirre: How many world title matches have you judged?
Chuck Willaims: I would say over forty world title fights. I don't keep count. I've done a couple of (Julios Cesar) Chavez fights. I did Lennox Lewis versus Frans Botha in London. I was assigned to do the Jesse James Leija-Kostya Tszyu fight. And I also act as a supervisor for the WBC. I was a supervisor at Madison Square Garden for the Braithewaite-Azile fight and for Winky Wright-Mosley rematch I was the co-supervisor a few weeks ago."JA: As a supervisor what are your responsiblities before or during these high stake championship fights?
CW: "My responsibilities are to be sure that the WBC rules are adhered to. That the sanctioning fees are paid. That all fighters sign the insurance forms and give us their beneficiary because the WBC is the only organization that insures every fighter on the card. From the world championship down to the four rounders as well as other championships such as, lets say the WBA. We insure their fighter as well on the card. There is alot of paperwork involved in being a supervisor."JA: How did you get involved in boxing and eventually become an official?
CW: "If you want to go way back to the original I was in an orphanage in New York from age nine to fourteen. And to box in that, not everybody does, but those of us that do it's a matter of survival. You do everything. You play football, basketball, baseball and boxing. Then we would listen to the fights on the radio when Don Dunphy would describe Sugar Ray Robinson fight Gene Fullmer or whatever. I guess you can say the bug bit me. Then for years I was just a fan, then I began officiating at the lower levels, amateurs. Worked on the state cards here in Hawaii and then from there went on to world championship level."JA: As a judge what type of things really make a difference when judging fights?
CW: "Strong, scoring blows thrown properly. Now I'll give you an example. Mayorga, who is a very tough guy, but at least a third of his punches are not scoring blows. Slaps are not scoring blows. In the amateurs you see the white part of the glove. Whether it's amateur or pro that is the scoring portion of the glove. The pro nature left hook for instance to land with the knuckles rather than the slapping portion on the inside of your wrist. I am a person that does not count slaps. I'm fairly confident that Mayorga would have lost a couple of fights on my card that he had won on television."JA: Give us your thoughts about 10-10 rounds?
CW: "Ten-ten rounds should be very rare. You should find some criteria that one or the other boxer wins the round. In professional championship fights we hand in our scorecard at the end of every round. Each round is a seperate contest unto itself. So if you were come to me in the sixth or seventh round of a world championship fight such as Barrera-Morales and ask me who is ahead I could honestly tell you I don't know. And I don't want to know. Again, each round is a seperate contest."JA: Speaking of that fight who did you have winning?
CW: "I was in the stands and I think the judges who had it between one and three points were correct. Barrera won the fight. Interestingly I thought the other two fights between these two athletes, the decision should have been flip-flopped in each of them. They still would have had one each but it would have been different. I was in the arena for both of those fights. In fact the first fight was one of the most brutal fights I ever witnessed in boxing."JA: We had a situation earlier this year with Marquez-Pacquaio. What are your thoughts on 10-6 rounds?
CW: "I think it's possible to have a 10-4 round. I'm going to tell you, I'm one of the few people and one of the first to give a 10-8 round without a knockdown. I truly believe that we have to give the athlete credit for what he accomplishes. In baseball if a guy hits four homeruns in one game, you don't say that's not realistic, you can't have more than two homeruns in a game. He hits four and only gets credit for two.
That's an anology to boxing. If a guy has four knockdowns in a round he gets four points for each knockdown plus a point for the round, that's five. That's 10-5. People will say yeah, yeah, but the referee should stop it. Not neccessarily because the other fighter may not be hurt. It is possible. I will say this, ninety eight percent of the time with multiple knockdowns like that the fight should be stopped. And also I think there are many times where guys are just taking brutal beatings in fights that should be stopped. I think we let it go on too long. Then we hear how he's a professional and how he's getting paid for it. No, no, no. The sport is supposed to be more like fencing, you score and you shouldn't be scored on. Roy Jones and Lennox Lewis are two guys that you might say had it right. You hear people say they're boring as hell at times but however that's what the sports' about. You're suppose to score and not be scored on otherwise put a hand towel in the middle of the ring and mandate that each fighter has to have a foot on it at all times. If that's what you want. I would not be part of a sport like that myself."JA: What do you think about today's referees?
CW: "I refereed the Olympic trials this last year down in Tunica Mississippi. I've been a referee in the amateurs since the ninteen eighty. First of all, and I've said this to Mills Lane and Joe Cortez and any number of other guys, Richard Steele. I said what I don't understand is in the amateurs we don't touch the athletes in the ring all of a sudden they get into the pro game and it becomes a three man tag team wrestling match in there. And it looks terrible. As a referee when you're name is announced there should be a simple bow of your head. You don't have to be shooting the time keeper to stop the round. You don't have to be saluting or twisting your nose or your ear. Just a simple nod recognizing that your name has been announced with some dignity.
Remember, the athletes are the show, we are not the show. Nobody has ever paid a quarter, except maybe a family member, to see a referee work. Where you really set the tone is in the dressing room. Let's use John Ruiz' trainer as an example. He was removed from the ring in Madison Square Garden when we were ringside. Here's what I said to someone, if I was refereeing that fight cause Stoney already has a reputation. I would have said Stoney, if you walk towards the other corner and you pass the middle of the ring I'm removing you right there. The first time you use the F word to me I'm removing you. This is your warning in the dressing room. This is a athletic events between two athletes and we don't need your actions in the corner. You can yell all you want to your fighter with encouragement or whatever. And that would have been it.
The first time he would have done something he would have been out of there period. I thought Randy Neumann showed an excess of patience with the guy."JA: What are the most important things for a referee inside the ring?
CW: "The major responsibility of a referee in the ring amateur or pro is the safety of the athlete. That's it, the safety of the athletes. Second is adjudicating the rules fairly between both athletes. I just cringe when I see some of these referees, especially with the small fighters, grabbing them and throwing them half way across the ring. Totally unneccessary. And most pro referees don't use voice command the way they should. You don't need all this talking, box to get out, fight to get out. You can have a coach who can get very upset. I don't want my guy punching and getting out. And it's not a referees job to be coaching in the ring. Box, break, stop, time. Period! That's it. You don't need anything else. And it should be where the people up in the second row of the stands hear you. BREAK! STOP! That's it. I was fortunate. I was trained by some really good people. I tell the boxers you will hear me. For instance when Tyson hit Orlin Norris when he was on the knee he should have been disqualified right there and then, period. If a guy takes a low blow and the referee feels it's severe enough to give him a rest period it should be a
mandatory point deduction. If it's bad enough to give the guy a rest it should be a point deduction."JA: What are some other things you would like implemented into the sport of boxing?
CW: "The other thing I'd like to see is each boxer wears a different color gloves. Whether it's red and blue, red and green, black and white or whatever. I think it would be easier for the judges because you're looking for the scoring blows and you can fix it in your mind. Lets face it, how many times have you seen two latino guys both with mustaches and both wearing black trunks? The same thing with two black guy, two white guys looking similiar. Could you imagine then if everything was the same but they had different color gloves on. Would make it easier for the judges I think. That would be a simple thing for the commissions to do. We have a tendency in life to keep going on and on the way we've been going on for years. It's time to look at some of these things, some are very simple and don't cost money in changing them. Nevada at the moment happens to have a law that both fighters have to wear the same make gloves. For instance the champion Morales had a choice of gloves that Barrera didn't want to wear.
What difference does it make if you have four or five different labels that you approve in the state of Nevada and each fighter wore a different make but the same eight ounce gloves? Just one thing like that could throw a fighter off. I know Finito Lopez had surgery on both of his hands and it wasn't until he started wearing XYZ gloves. As a result of that it's the only glove he would fight in. One time when Suliaman was there at Madison Square Garden and because he refused to fight they finally said fine as long as the gloves were the same size weight wise. I think New York and California, though not sure. I'm sure there are other states, allow different manufactured gloves to use in a given fight. Nevada at the moment does not. Maybe that's a story somebody should do. Just imagine if a guy is used to a certain manufacturers glove and then they tell him no you have to wear another brand, that can throw him off. In a close fight like Barrera and Morales, that could be the little difference in who wins that fight. It's not neccessary in my view. I think Nevada should change that law or rule or whatever it is they have. I have all the respect in the world for Nevada. And Marc Ratner is the best leader."JA: Is there anything you want to say to boxing fans around the world and those on Boxingtalk.com?
CW: "First of all I think that any real boxing fan walking the streets, that ninety six percent of them can probably get the right winner in ninety six percent of the fights. Those of us that do it professionally will see those fight night things that happen that will seperate Barrera from Morales in that fight Saturday night for instance. The most important thing to being a judge is concentration. Total concentration for three minutes. You cannot be distracted with anything that goes on in the arena. You don't care what the names of the fighters are. It's red corner against blue corner. I know alot of fighters quite well and they all know one thing. If you see Chuck Williams in the chair you're going to get a fair shot. You don't have to agree with me because if that's the way I see it then that's the way I see it. They all know that. And I've had them tell me that. They say at least I know if I see you in the chair Chuck, I know I'm getting a fair shot. And I couldn't ask for more than that and neither should they. And the best seat in the house to jusge a fight is not on television, it's in that raised chair at ringside by those three people judging it.
The other thing I'd like to share is punchstats. Now I know Canobbio and his partner and I have great respect for them because they saw a need and they filled it, and they have a great gig and it's going well for them. However, and I've had this discussion with them. They have no way at the moment of counting between a jab and a power punch. To differentiate. And there is a difference between a jab and a power punch. The punchstats can be misleading. Anything other than a jab they count as a power punch. It's not neccessarily a power punch. The other thing is Harold Letterman, and again I like Harold Lederman but he's not the end all to judging in boxing. Now are and I love when they say we have taken the score of three newspaper guys at ringside and here they are. First off all none of these guys has ever judge a world championship fight in his life as a professional while getting paid for it.
Keep in mind now I said ninety six percent of anybody can get the right winner most of the time. However I had dinner with these guys one time and Steve Springer and a number of others were talking about scoring. One of them asks me, "Chuck do you break the rounds into thirds" and I said no, why would I do that? He said I do and I asked how do you know the third of a round? He said I look at the clock above the ring. I said you just missed three punches which could be that round. A couple of them look at each other and say damn, he's right. That's an addition to the fact gentleman, lets face it. You think you have the winner of the round but you may have missed two or three very telling, scoring blows that really made the difference in that round. Unfortunately Lederman, HBO, Jim lampley, they influence the fans watching on television."
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