Bantamweight Tournament farce!

By Robert Brown: This past weekend’s showdown in Showtime’s Bantamweight tournament was not only to determine who the tournament winner was, but to also establish who the number 1 Bantamweight fighter in the world was. Instead of being a great showdown between two highly competitive, highly skilled combatants, the fight evolved into a highly controversial farcical event, largely due to the questionable and highly controversial officiating by the referee.

It is unfortunate that such a magnificent and unpredictable year in boxing, with the courageous performances of Erik Morales and Victor Ortiz which were highlights that we have to focus on such negative performances in boxing, such as that of the referee on Saturday evening. The boxing world cannot allow performances like this to go unnoticed; otherwise boxing’s credibility cannot and will not be maintained.

Over the course of the evening I myself counted 15 – 20 suspect blows during this fight. Abner Mares was neither officially warned at any stage, nor was points ever deducted from the scorecards. Instead ironically, the only fighter that seemed to get warned on a regular basis was Agbeko for supposedly pulling Mares head down and seemingly giving the referee a rather weak out for not punishing Abner Mares, for in my opinion, consistently punching on and below the belt line which the referee refused to acknowledge.

I understand referee’s have a difficult job and there is a lot of pressure involved, however this type of blatantly poor officiating cannot be allowed to continue at a world class level. The officiating in this fight clearly played a huge part in costing Joseph Agbeko his IBF World Title.

One of the worst blunders by the officiating referee in this fight was the clear low blow right in the middle of the cup in the 11th round which caused Agbeko to collapse and was incredibly called a knock down. The referee was clearly standing in the correct position to have a clear view of the blow, and to everyone’s amazement except his own, determined that punch was legal and ruled it a knockdown.

I am not the only person to question the performance of the referee. The commentators were questioning the referee’s actions throughout the entirety of the bout and they clearly stated that they thought the low blow in the 11th round was profoundly low, and at the very least should not have been called a knockdown. And in my opinion, serious consideration should have been given to deducting points from Mares scorecard by that stage in the fight if not earlier.

Al Bernstein stated emphatically during the fight, that this refereeing performance may have been one of the worst he has seen in the last 15 years, and he is an analyst that does not criticize officials on a regular basis.

It appears that Joseph Agbeko and Don King promotions are preparing to both launch official protests against the verdict. They are possibly seeking a review of the decision with a re-calculation of the scorecards. It is my belief that it is highly unlikely that the desired result from Agbeko and his management team will occur. It is more likely that a rematch will result and in my opinion this should be granted as soon as possible.

Article posted on 16.08.2011

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