Campillo Appeals IBF Decision

By John G. Thompson - It may cost him $10,000 but according to various sources former champion Gabriel Campillo filed the necessary paperwork for an appeal with the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation following an atrocious decision on February 28th at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Two of the three judges of the bout awarded the split decision to Campillo’s opponent Tavoris Cloud, thus robbing Campillo of Cloud’s IBF light heavyweight belt. Showtime commentator and recent inductee into the Boxing Hall of Fame Al Bernstein said after the fight, “It’s one of the most egregious decisions I’ve ever seen.”

Campillo, from Madrid, Spain, is no stranger to poor decisions. Twice he fought a German fighter in Germany and twice he failed to earn a decision, though many non-biased observers might have awarded him both fights. He won the WBA World light heavyweight title in a close majority decision over Beibut Shumenov in Shumenov’s native Kazakhstan, though most observers thought that Shumenov deserved the nod. Then, strangely, he lost the title to Shumenov in a split decision in their rematch in Las Vegas, when many pundits (myself included) believed Campillo clearly deserved the win.

This most recent decision, however, appears far more egregious and deserves rectification. In fact, one might say that this was one of the worst decisions since the Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara fiasco last July. In that instance, Williams earned a majority decision in a fight in which almost everyone felt that Lara won handily. So preposterous was the decision that the governing body, the WBC, suspended all three judges – even the one who scored the fight a draw.

This situation is even more distressing, being that the result denied Campillo a title he had fought so hard for. Cloud knocked Campillo down twice in just the first round and the fight looked all but over until Campillo made some adjustments in the second round and began to back up Cloud, an excitingly aggressive fighter not known for moving backwards. Campillo turned the tide of the fight, outworking Cloud with superior movement and multiple punch combinations, battering Cloud in the later rounds and opening cuts over both eyes. Most observers would not give Cloud more than three or four rounds. When the decision was read, the crowd in attendance let loose with a chorus of boos.

Two of the judges – David Robertson and Joel Elizondo – awarded the fight to Cloud by scores of 116-110 and 114-112 respectively. Robertson had judged only one previous title fight in his career and this was the first title match for Elizondo. The more experienced Judge Dennis Nelson scored the fight appropriately at 115-111 for Campillo (as I had it).

According to IBF rules regarding appeals of decisions, Campillo must pay a non-refundable fee of ten thousand dollars (US) to have this decision reviewed, with no guarantee of a reversal. According to
Campillo’s manager Sampson Lewkowicz and attorney Leon Margules the paperwork has been filed and fees paid. In addition to the appeal, Margules said that a letter sent on behalf of Campillo to IBF President Daryl Peoples and IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker formally requests an immediate rematch in accordance with other IBF rules and regulations.

It is unclear how long this process may take, though if there is any justice in boxing, the decision should be overturned, the two judges should be suspended, and the IBF belt awarded to Campillo. Unfortunately, most of us boxing fans have followed the sport long enough to know we shouldn’t hold our breath. Perhaps the best we can hope for is a rematch between Cloud and Campillo, which is not such a bad option given the back and forth action of the first bout. In fact, one of the worst things about the decision was that it overshadowed a tremendous performance by both fighters.

Article posted on 03.03.2012

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