Huck-Lebedev, Hopkins-Pascal: The blind eye rule

by Mark Klimaszewski: On Saturday night boxing was once again tarnished by the demon that continues to rear it's ugly head time and time again. Bad judging. Denis Lebedev was handed his first loss in a highly controversial split decision (in - surprise, surprise- Berlin), which gave the hometown win to WBO cruiserweight champion Marco Huck. And of course, veteran executioner Bernard Hopkins ended up with a draw after getting off the canvas twice to clearly school defending WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal in Montreal.

It seems like nearly every week at least one judge in boxing gets a fight COMPLETELY WRONG.
These judges who are paid well and flown round the world to stay in plush hotels; then end up with the best seat in the house at ringside to give their verdict on the fight; then go ahead and mock the fighters who are putting it all on the line (not to mention the paying fans) by giving an official score that does not resemble the fight everyone else saw. What makes this worse, is the fact that it has become accepted as 'part and parcel' of boxing. And never do you hear of these grossly incompetent (or shamefully corrupt) judges being disciplined by the sanctioning bodies.

Obviously there is alot more to judging than the average fight fan would think and of course, many factors that can be taken into account when judging at ringside. After all, it's easy for the viewing public to watch from the arm chair and see exactly what transpires in the ring aided by intricate camera angles and between round replays. In the loud and buzzing atmosphere of a fight venue, in one opponent's back yard with the crowd cheering every move from their home fighter; clear angles sometimes not presenting themselves to the judge's direct field of vision; perhaps the referee obscuring the action slightly from time to time, it can be a testing environment to accurately score a closely fought battle in. Sure, this is understood by most fans and can certainly be implied when a close fight results in a one or two point differential on the cards. (Think Pacquiao v Marquez II, Williams v Martinez I, Darchinyan v Mares, Vasquez v Marquez III). These close decisions are debated long after the fight and are fiercely contested by supporters of each fighter. Indeed, these cases seem damn unfair to the fan of the boxer on the losing end of the decision.....but are generally accepted over time.

Then you have the occurrence of what the fans call 'robbery'. Fights such as (dependent on your point of view of course) Martinez v Cintron, Holyfield v Valuev, Diaz v Malignaggi 1 among many, many more. These are debated much more aggressively than the close decisions and even acknowledged as such by the critics and experts as downright unfair calls.

As fans it's easy for us to switch off after the fight, open another beer and discuss the outcome with our mates; gathered round to dissect the sweet science in our armchair-analyst wisdom. But before long we move onto the next topic about the upcoming bout or fight due to be signed in the near future, or who should face who next....... etc etc.

How hard must it be for the boxer who has put it all on the line, risked his health to entertain the likes of us, made sacrifices aplenty in the preparation and training prior to the fight- to suddenly have it all snatched away?

It stinks. And as i said above, it seems to be widely accepted as 'part and parcel' of boxing nowadays.

How much longer will this be allowed to go on and further tarnish the reputation of our beloved sport?

Article posted on 19.12.2010

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