This past weekend was a great weekend for people who enjoy boxing. There were several high quality match-ups. We saw David Haye partially unite the Cruiserweight division. We saw Samuel Peter take the interim status off his alphabet title belt. We also saw an incredible upset with Nate Campbell upsetting heavy favorite Juan Diaz in the storied lightweight division.
Unfortunately it was also a bad weekend for boxing fans as well. We were given again the spectacle of embarrassing judging. I am not even going to begin to discuss the minor quibbles I have with the judging on the big cards of the weekend. No. My special angst is for the judging exhibited on the televised bouts on the ESPN Friday Night Fights event on March 7, 2008.
There were two match-ups that night. The first was Jason LeHoullier versus Jose Luis Gonzalez. The second match-up was between rising young contender Thomas Mashaba versus live underdog Cristobal Cruz. Both match-ups went the distance and both bouts were judged horribly in my opinion.
The second match were Mashaba was beaten by Cruz was less of a shock then the first in my opinion. There is no doubt that Cruz out punched Mashaba by a wide margin. Throwing lots of punches is only part of the equation. A judge is supposed to determine who is throwing the punches, who is connecting, who is connecting with the more significant punches and who is driving the action. In my opinion Cruz threw more punches but his punches were not accurate, they were not meaningful and he did not control the action. One judge saw this as a draw and the other two saw it 113-115 all for Cruz. A very bad decision in my view.
Far worse was the robbery that took place against Jose Luis Gonzalez. I don’t see any way this match was a tie. On my card this bout was 97-93 in favor of Gonzalez. I could see how a reasonable person could have judged this 96-94 Gonzalez or 98-92 Gonzalez as well. What I can’t see is any scenario were this is not a clear Gonzalez win. He was completely and totally dominant in this fight. Of the three judges the scores were judge: George Smith 97-93 (Gonzalez) | judge: Clark Sammartino 95-95 | judge: Don Trella 96-94 (LeHoullier). The only score I do not have a problem with here is George Smith. Clark is plain wrong and Don Trella should be investigated. This type of garbage scoring makes this purest of all sports into a joke. It makes a mockery of the sweat, blood and heart that these fighters leave on the canvas. It irks me and I wish something could be done about. For now we will call out the worst of the worst judges when and how we see them.
This week the Thoughtless Award of Shame goes to Don Trella, Judge, for his embarrassing and suspicious score of 96-94 (LeHoullier) in the LeHoullier vs. Gonzalez bout.
It is a pity that the last bout at the Foxwoods Casino, before tear down and rebuild, had to be a fiasco. It is also sad that the sport continues to serve up fiascoes as if they are a fans dearest wish.
On a side note there was a lot worth discussing this past weekend. I would love to discuss Samuel Peter’s development as a fighter and Nate Campbell’s improbable win over the Baby Bull. Unfortunately there is no time this week yet. If time opens up I may revisit these topics unless someone else opens up a dialogue first.