If not now, when? The judging of big time boxing fights is a persistent issue, and only more glaring in the age of amplification via social media. A month doesn’t pass without a controversial decision by judges, or a referee, which leaves boxing fans and potential fans amazed, dismayed and disgusted.
So, when do we get the waving of the white flag, in surrender to acknowledgement of the issue?
I guess when we get “the powers that be” in agreement that something is wrong, and needs fixing.
Ismael Barroso Deserves A Better-Run Sport
Ismael Barroso would like for us to remedy an element of the sport which consistently undermines the standing of the sport. So would Vasiliy Lomachenko. So would more boxers than we can name off the top of our heads…
It's been going on for some time in boxing, of course.
Not to be accused of cherry picking, back in 2017, Steve Farhood had nice things to say about Dave Moretti, the latest guy in the shit spotlight.
Prior to the Mayweather v Pacquiao over marination dud, Farhood told George Willis of the NY Post: “For my money he’s the best active judge in boxing. Dave Moretti has been judging 40 years and scored 148 world title fights.
He has worked the last five Mayweather fights and 11 in total. He almost never posts a score you look at and say, ‘What was he thinking?’”
Seems like the last few years we've seen and heard of more “WTFs” from Moretti.
There are others in rotation with a worse track record, but his recent work to me screams “red flag.” Instead of “fixing” or at least TRYING to, we instead trudge forward, and repeat the process.
Watch a fight…
Be entertained by the action…
Feel surprised and disgusted that the contest was marred by incompetence and/or corruption.
Howl on social media…
Rinse and repeat.
If it isn’t the following week, give it two or three, and some arbiter or another will be in the negative spotlight, right? And after a couple weeks, our memories have faded some.
Dave Moretti Needs To Allow Fresher Faces Into the Mix
Dave Moretti loves our fading memories, I bet.
This is the man who scored the April 22 Gervonta Davis v Ryan Garcia fight in a “strange” manner.
You recall that Tank put down Ryan in round two. Moretti scored the round even, opining that what Garcia did apart from getting knocked down was so effective, he deserved the same credit that Gervonta received.
Time passed, and we in boxing moved on. So did Moretti; he received another high profile gig in Nevada, scoring the May 20 lightweight battle between Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko. And whaddya know?
He did it again, seeing things in the ring that a majority of watchers didn’t. Moretti scored round 10 of Haney-Loma for Haney.
My eyes, and yours, I bet, saw Loma out throwing and out landing the younger gunner in that frame. Compubox saw Haney going 5-25, while Loma went 11-44. Moretti saw the fight 116-112, Haney. His compatriots both scored it for Haney, by a nose, 115-113. (And let me interject here to say I had the same score.)
Teddy Atlas Continues To Lobby For A Fix (NOT THAT KIND OF FIX!)
That Moretti moment stood out for some boxing fans and pundits. Teddy Atlas’ disgust reverberated hard, with the New York fight fixture calling for Moretti to be called before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to explain his reasoning.
Not Just In Boxing–Accountability Is Lacking In This Age
While he’s there, called to the carpet, could Dave Moretti weigh in on that Gervonta-Ryan even round? And would he mind car-pooling with Weeks, so Tony could explain to the oversight body his reasoning in halting the Romero-Barroso fight with Barroso still in fighting/defending mode?
Now, maybe such situations do occur, and officials are trotted into the Nevada commission office and receive a grilling. If that is the case, we need to know. Why? Because the credibility of the sport as a whole is up for discussion.
You maybe have noticed, I know I have, that in recent years, that the open line between people on power and the masses has diminished. Gate keepers are effective at keeping pesky press, and regular citizens, from asking people in power to explain themselves.
You see it in the political arena. Pols rarely mingle with constituents, so their accountability is lessened. There are reasons for this beyond the odious, by the way. Handlers know that in this age, a gaffe can be magnified to ludicrous proportions quickly… so they minimize the amount of time President Biden takes questions free form from media.
We Need To Hear From Officials, Instead Of Allowing Them To Hide Behind Desks
That shouldn’t affect the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Yeah, we the people who invest time, money, energy and emotion in boxing deserve to know what Tony Weeks was thinking when he pulled the plug on Ismael Barroso. Same goes for the Morettis who turn in score cards which raise all the brows.
Conspicuous in this place we find ourselves is the silence. Where and who is in a leadership position to fix it?
Should Showtime lead the charge, because of the size of their platform? We heard their announce team react with correct levels of consternation while watching the Romero-Barroso ending.
“What,” exclaimed two or three of them when Weeks stepped in. “Oh my,” said Al Bernstein. “Weak stoppage here tonight,” Mauro Ranallo told watchers.
“There were no real punches that landed here, to be perfectly candid,” Bernstein added, as the climax replayed.
The boxing boss, Stephen Espinoza, made clear his thoughts on the handling, too.
It's up for debate; Espinoza would tell you that his and Showtime's power to “fix” some of boxings' ills is limited.
Point taken from Espinoza. Showtime analyst Al Bernstein echoed some similar thoughts as he and I conversed on Twitter a few days ago..
My thinking is this. The platform provider gets credit, positive and negative, for the content they allow/place on their stage. It reflects on them, for good or bad. This being boxing, there's plenty of bad. Our sport is by its nature deviant, to some small or large degree.
It attracts a cross section of people, some of them being anti social, maladjusted, prone to misbehavior within societal constraints. There has to be a level of acceptance of that imperfection for one to participate, right? But are we making too many allowances?
Why isn't there a fierce urgency to get it right, as much as humanly possible?
Showtime is a respected entity, the people on their team highly regarded within the industry. The sport needs help cleaning up, and we will take whatever we can get in terms of respected voices lobbying for improvements.
Nope, We Don't Expect An Over-Arching Commission To Be Formed, Headed By Atlas or Anyone
We do not and will assume we will not be forming an over-arching body to oversee the whole enterprise of pro boxing, so we can quit that fantasy.
Being that so much of the big fight action occurs in Las Vegas, I’d say it’s incumbent on the Nevada commission to lead the way in a shakeup and cleanup. For starters, as one of my friends pointed out, it could well be that Tony Weeks had the David Morell-Aidos Yerbossynuly fight in the back of his mind, from Nov. 5, 2022.
Was that all in Weeks' head as he watched Romero flail away at the 40 year old underdog who had performed better than most expected in the 140 pound title fight? It makes sense; and it is more fair to cite that as a potential impactor as opposed to accuse Weeks of being on the take. Did the commission consider that Weeks might be “gun-shy?”
No, nothing will eliminate human errors and leave everyone happy after scorecards are turned in. Handling fighters during a bout or scoring their activity is subjective, after all. But please, please, I’m begging the powers that be…
Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!
Let’s address this issue. Admit that it is an issue. And don't just admit, DO SOMETHING. Great god, where are the attempted fixes? Why are we doing things the same old way with so many instances of malpractice? This meets the definition of insanity, I do believe Barroso would agree.
I’d start with admitting that many of the same persons are causing controversy. It’s perhaps time for Dave Moretti to receive his gold watch at a retirement ceremony. Not sure how old he is, but I know my fastball isn't lively as it was 20 years ago, and I'm young enough to be his son.
Whether it’s loyalty or inertia, or what, I don’t know. But boxing needs change, because we as a sport are too often derided as being a minor league operation. A corrupted minor league operation.
The fighters and the fans deserve better. My unofficial research tells me that the sport has lost hardcore fans in significant numbers over the last few years. If the same sad patterns get repeated, that will continue.