There should be a special corner in hell reserved for judges who, through incompetence or something nastier, nullify a fighter’s hard-earned ring performance with a blatantly bad scorecard.
C.J. Ross, with her putrid 114-114 score in Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez contest has earned Hall of Fame seating in that special section after twice mucking things up in boxing mega-bouts.
In June of 2012, Ross defied logic by naming Timothy Bradley a 115-113 winner over Manny Pacquiao and helping create a highly controversial split decision loss for Pacquiao, who most felt cruised to a decisive win.
This time, it was Mayweather who had his “WTF?” moment when hearing the decision of the judges.
After a masterful twelve rounds, Mayweather was comfortably ahead on the unofficial scorecards of, literally, everyone– even Ross’ fellow-judges Dave Moretti and Craig Metcalfe, who scored the bout 116-112 and 117-111, respectively— when Ross’ draw tally was read aloud at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
ESPN’s boxing analyst Teddy Atlas couldn’t hide his utter disgust for Ross’ scoring and for the sport that seems to support this type of sponsored awfulness.
“This is really destroying the boxing industry and it takes us away from the marvelous performance of Floyd Mayweather,” Atlas exclaimed during his post-fight breakdown of the fight. “Look, we’re in the betting capital of the world– they put a betting line on anything…but I can guarantee you one line that will not be up in this town tomorrow. And that will be the line of whether or not C. J. Ross– that criminal, that corrupt or incompetent, whatever you want to call her, I don’t know what she is– but this is the second time she’s done this. There will be no line up tomorrow about whether or not she will be reprimanded by this commission or any commission– because she won’t be. Because it doesn’t happen in boxing. Boxing is unregulated. It has no national commission like the other sports and it’s destroying itself.”
As for Ross, herself, she’s not exactly torn up by the call or the subsequent criticism aimed at her.
“I have no problems with my scoring the fight the way I did,” Ross told Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “When you score 12 rounds of boxing, you’re scoring 12 separate fights,” she said. “From where I sat, there were a lot of close rounds and a lot of exchanges Canelo was able to win. Canelo was able to land his punches effectively from the inside and control the rounds I gave him.
And before fans start organizing letter-writing campaigns to discipline or flat-out fire Ross, they may as well save their energy. Ross has the full, continued support of Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“Discipline does not make sense here,” Kizer told Bob Velin of USA Today.
“Just because a judge’s scorecard ends up even, doesn’t mean the judge necessarily thought the fight as a whole was even,” Kizer added. “It could be that a judge has six rounds for each fighter, but the six rounds she gave fighter A, she gave them to him easily and the six rounds she gave fighter B, they were really close rounds. That’s pretty much how it was last night.”
Kizer also labeled calls to remove Ross from the judging ranks, “Mob mentality” and characterized Ross as one of the commission’s best judges.
Since the nastiness started flowing and the pressure started being felt by the commission, Nevada commission chairman Bill Brady has publicly accepted some of the blame for the appointment of Ross and has promised some changes, whatever that means. But you can bet on a weak tea response once the heat is off.
“How that judge could be appointed after the decision of Bradley and Pacquiao is not a question I can answer,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told Velin. “How can that happen? Is it going to happen again?”
The answer to Schaefer’s question is a big and decisive “Yes.” It will happen over and over again in a sport that absolutely refuses to regulate itself.
Left to its own devices, boxing never fails to deliver these suspiciously odd scores and questionable calls. And with no real centralized authority, nobody can ever be truly held responsible.
It’s time to once again, as Atlas suggested, make the call for a real, independent, and strong commission to bring some order to the sport. All of boxing’s ills—from bad scoring to the regulation of anti-doping efforts— can be solved by creating a legitimate centralized authority. For whatever reason, though, nobody ever cares to even try. Not the media, not the fighters, and certainly not the promoters, who have the power to bring immediate change, but also have the most to lose by a boxing gone legit.
At the end of the day, we get the sport that we deserve. And as long as boxing embraces a Wild West regulatory method, chaos and sanctioned incompetence will continue.
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