In Praise Of The Boxing Referees

arthur mercante06.11.07 - By Ted Sares: I can recall many times where I criticized the work of a referee in a particular fight, but I have stopped doing it. Who am I to superimpose my judgment on a referee who has been licensed, trained and is paid to do what he does in the ring? Oh sure, I have a fanfs right to complain, but If Ifm going to write, I need to be a bit more circumspect.

I can think of two times when a referee went beyond and needed to be corralled. One involved the Davey Moore-Roberto Duran fight where the referee seemed to suffer from decision paralysis almost resulting in Moore being killed in the ring. The other goes back a bit farther and involved the referee in the Ingo Johansson-Eddie Machen fight of 1958 where Ingo put a Cooney-Norton beating on a helpless and trapped Machen while referee Andrew Smyth looked on. As Machen lay on the apron out cold, Smyth needlessly counted him out wasting 10 seconds of valuable time.

That said, I recently saw Arthur Mercante Jr. stop Kevin gThe Clones Colossush McBride in a fight against Andrew Golata. He could have allowed it to go further, but McBride was badly cut and gasping for breath. Mercante did the right thing and allowed McBride to continue a boxing career if that is his wont.

Junior also distinguished himself when he stopped Eddie Chambers from continuing to slice and dice Derrick Rossy last year even though the ring side physician inexplicably gave it a green light. Mercante stepped in and said no more; he again did the right thing. Mercante is a referee who has improved greatly over the past two years and is now doing top notch work.

Jay Nady is famous for stopping the Tszyu-Judah fight in the second round, and is another who gets more than his fair share of criticism. Maybe he deserves some of it. But he also deserves praise when he earns it. In a competitive and brutal battle between Terdsak Pit-bull Jandaeng, a very tough Thai fighter (29-2), and the great Juan Manuel Marquez at the Montbleu Resort & Spa in Stateline, Nevada in August 2006, Nady stepped in and halted the action in the seventh stanza while Jandaeng was standing and ready to continue. Marquezfs eye had been closed, and sensing the urgency, he came on strong to end matters. The fight was for the WBO Interim featherweight title.

Nady recognized that the Pit-Bull was the type of fighter who would have to be saved from himself and he did just that. He stepped in front of the 5f 5 Bangkok warrior and crossed his big arms. He then motioned Jandaeng to him and hugged him in an act of humanity rarely seen in a boxing ring. Some say Jay Nady has a reputation for quick stoppages. Is so, this was not one of them.

Right there and then, I decided I would take a new perspective on the job of a referee. Right there and then, I decided I would no longer substitute my amateur judgment for theirs.

Article posted on 06.11.2007

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