We were as stunned as Zhora Hamazaryan (above) when he was declared the loser against Thomas Mattice in July. Photo © SHOBOX.
By Paul R. Jones! EAST SIDE BOXING Writer and Photographer
Our fifth award winner of 2018:
WORST DECISION OF THE YEAR (2018)
WINNER: 🏆 THOMAS MATTICE SD8 ZHORA HAMAZARYAN
Unfortunately, there are controversial (e.g., Tony Harrison’s recent win Jermell Charlo,
Canelo Álvarez’s decision over Gennady Golovkin) and questionable decisions (e.g., Devon Alexander’s “draw” with Victor Ortiz) in boxing.
But nothing is more aggravating to die-hard boxing fans than a corrupt decision: boxing’s equivalent of a robbery.
The latter is precisely what we witnessed in a July bout between two undefeated prospects: Thomas Mattice (13-0-1, 10 KOs), of Cleveland, Ohio, and Armenian Zhora Hamazaryan (9-1-1, 6 KOs).
Hamazaryan floors Mattice in round 2, scoring the only knockdown of the fight. Photo © SHOBOX
From the opening bell, Hamazaryan brought the fight to Mattice, forcing the Ohioan to fight at an uncomfortable tempo.
In round two, Hamazaryan caught Mattice with the business end of a massive shot that dropped Mattice hard, scoring the only knockdown of the fight.
|‘EAST SIDE BOXING’
WORST DECISION OF THE YEAR
|2018: Thomas Mattice SD8 Zhora Hamazaryan|
|2017: Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam SD12 Ryota Murata–I|
|2016: Maurice Hooker DRAW Darleys Perez|
Rounds three and four were also Hamazaryan rounds, with round five qualifying as the only clear-cut round for Mattice.
Over the remaining rounds, Hamazaryan remained in control earning what virtually everyone believed was a hard-fought victory.
SHOSTATS supported this narrative, with Hamazaryan out-jabbing, out-punching, and out-landing Mattice. Mattice’s only notable statistical advantages were in power punching efficiency and body shots landed.
Therefore, it came as a shock when Mattice was announced as the winner—inexplicably given the victory by judges Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett (76-75, twice), with the lone dissenting judge Bob Lafratte scoring the bout in favor of Hamazaryan (77-74).
Perhaps SHOBOX’s on-air team characterized this robbery best:
“[Mattice] didn’t win the fight, that’s all I can say,” said veteran scorer, commentator, and ringside reporter, Steve Farhood, who had it 78-73 in favor of Hamazaryan (see above).
“Absolutely criminal,” said veteran broadcaster, Barry Tompkins.
“I have to say, I’ve been doing this for over 40 years,” Tompkins added, “[It’s] one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen.
We concur with Tompkins and Farhood.
And although Mattice and Hamazaryan would fight again in September, ending in a defensible draw, it was Mattice’s gifted “win” earlier in the year that continued to leave a bitter taste in our mouth worthy of top honors in this most dubious category.
* * *
Did we get it right? Email us with your comments and we’ll include the best ones in a future mailbag.
Be sure to visit EASTSIDEBOXING during the final weeks of December, when we’ll unveil more of our award winners, followed by a complete list of winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions for 2018 in early January.
Justin Jones contributed to this report.
Editor’s Note: This selection was made by Paul R. Jones! and Justin Jones on behalf of EASTSIDEBOXING.
About Paul R. Jones!
Paul R. Jones! is a boxing writer and ringside photographer for EASTSIDEBOXING. He joined ESB in 2011. A scientist by day, and disruptive boxing wonk and writer by night, Paul covers the humorous, offbeat, and absurd from the sport of boxing. Paul’s articles have appeared in PEDIATRICS, Race and Social Problems, and Motivation and Emotion, and he’s covered boxing for BOXINGINSIDER, TheFightJournal, BOXINGNEWS24, and WRAPSONTV. Follow him on Twitter here: @boxingepicenter. Or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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