The incompetent 119-110 score issued by judge Pierre Benoist after Saturday’s Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez bout has inspired a lot of articles and reports about the awful state of judging in the sport we love.
Just one week after Ali Funeka was robbed of a world title by a pair of suspicious 114-114 scores against Joan Guzman, Benoist’s wide score completely ripped off the scab that had been healing since Gale Van Hoy incomprehensibly saw Juan Diaz utterly dominate Paulie Malignaggi back in August.
But as amateur and professional boxing pundits alike gnash their teeth about bad decisions and their negative impact on the sport, the wheels keep turning and absolutely nothing is being done to alter an obviously broken system.
Recently, the BPA (Boxing Promoters Association) issued one of the most laughably ironic statements of the year when they “expressed deep concern” over the state of officiating in boxing and offered to create a rating process to judge “competency and integrity” among officials.
Kids running the candy shop?
The most ironic part of their statement is that those officials showing the most competency and integrity would probably end up getting the fewest judging assignments.
Right now, as it stands, the pool of available boxing officials consists mostly of yes men and professional vacationers whose well-paid officiating getaways are paid for directly by the promoters.
Sure, the judges are technically appointed by the commission, but everybody knows that those in the running for appointment are among the group of judges already on the promoter-approved list of acceptable officials. The promoter, who is ultimately footing the bill for the judges, referee and the entire event, will not be forced to accept an appointment that they really don’t want.
So, what we get is the same incompetent and/or corrupt officials being passed around from fight to fight with the full knowledge and approval of both promoter and a commission that is just happy to have a revenue-generating event in their home state and a paycheck in their pockets.
At this point, nothing short of a total restructuring of the system will improve the quality of the officiating.
The principal conflict of interest has to be eliminated if things are to improve. This means either establishing a complete separation between the promoter and the officials via strong and independent national commission or by ending the promoter’s urgency to protect his own interests by ending his ability to sign fighters to exclusive contracts.
Until we can put an end to this ridiculous conflict of interest where, basically, the officials and fighters are on the same promoter’s payroll, there can’t be any real level of fair play. The commissions will swear up and down that there is indeed a system of revision and discipline when it comes to their officials, but the truth is easily seen.
And, right now, under the current system, how are the most egregious offenders disciplined for their transgressions?
Well, look at our friend Gale Van Hoy, who was at the center of a firestorm of controversy due to his ridiculous 118-110 score for fellow Texan, Juan Diaz. Van Hoy was punished with a trip to Germany and an assignment to judge a WBC interim title fight.