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Is Harold Right? Referees Pay No Attention

HBO’s unofficial scorer, and celebrated long time judge and analyst, Harold Lederman made a valid point this past saturday night during the PPV bout between Viktor Postol (26-0, 11 KO’s) and Selcuk Aydin (26-3, 19 KO’s). During the bout, held at the Forum, Inglewood, CA, Harold made what would seem to be a legitimate, valid point.

He spelled things out, explaining that all too often tall fighters illegally use their extended lead hand as a “range finder”. The situation presented itself saturday night when the taller man, Postol, started using his extended left as a range finder for his power punch, the right. Specifically, he held his extended left out in such a way that it would not only obstruct Aydin’s vision, it would also act as a similar instrument used with a gun for estimating the distance to Aydin’s head. In this case, the projectile was Postol’s power loaded right.

Postol didn’t employ this technique until he was satisfied Aydin was sufficiently broken down. It was then Postol felt it was time to step beyond the smaller guns, and move in with the heavy artillery. We’ve all seen this picture. The dominant fighter keeps his lead hand/arm outstretched, either in contact or damn close to his opponent’s cranium. Then the power hand is drawn back as the torque is applied. Alas, the opponent often doesn’t see the projectile or hear the explosion. Later he has to rely on the video to retrieve the moment.

Harold wasn’t picking on referee Raul Caiz, Jr. Rather, he was pointing out an apparent infraction of the rules that seems to be common place. Older fans will remember how Thomas Hearns employed the tactic with great success. It worked against just about everyone, with the possible exception of Sugar Ray Leonard in their first fight. George Foreman used it, along with a potent nudge (wink wink) to work over his opponents. Current fans will be quick to aim their pointer at the Klitschko brothers, especially Wladimir.

The lack of enforcement makes one wonder if indeed there is such a rule, as Harold
suggests? Harold’s credibility is indubitable. We do know referees have broad authority and enforcement of rules violations are up to the sole discretion of the referee. It’s common practice, prior to bouts, for a referee to lecture fighters in the locker rooms, attempting to elucidate those things (rabbit punches, holding, elbows, hitting on the break, etc.) he feels are unsportsmanlike and subject to penalty. Hopefully, without exaggerated stress, and according to Harold, why the hell isn’t it being enforced?