By Austin Killeen
For as long as boxing has existed, questionable decisions have been part of the fabric of the sport. Sullivan versus Corbett in 1892 is considered the dawn of modern boxing as we know it. Fortunately for Corbett the scoring on the part of the two judges and the referee were not required. Sullivan was unable to beat the referee’s count in the 21st round. Recently Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton were involved in two terrific bouts resulting in razor thin verdicts. No one could question the judgment of the officinal’s involved as clearly both contests were extremely close. Friday night the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada played host to a televised card on Showtime. In the main event David Benavidez (19-0-0, 17 KO’s) won a split decision over Ronald Gavril (18-2-0, 14 KO’s). While in the co-feature J’Leon Love (23-1-1, 13 KO’s) fought to a technical draw against Abie Han (26-3-1, 16) after eight rounds of action. Sadly both contest involved scoring that would defy all logic on how to score a fight.
In the Han/Love co-feature a collision of heads halted the contest in the eighth round. Under the unified rules of boxing they went to the score cards at the end of the round. Judge Richard Ocasio scored the contest 79-73 in favor of Love, while Judges Tim Cheatam and Patricia Morse Jarman both saw the bout even 76-76. What fight was Ocasio watching; he only gave Han one round. All three ringside commentators, Al Bernstein, Barry Tompkins and Raul Marquez had Han ahead on their score cards.
In the Benavidez/Gavril bout, the undefeated Benavidez seemed to open up a big lead after six rounds of exciting action. To his credit Gavril staged a rally in the middle rounds, with Benavidez appearing to be running out of gas. Getting a proverbial second wind, Benavidez took over the contest in the closing rounds, in spite of a flash knockdown in round twelve; a round he appeared to be winning easily. Judge Dave Moretti scored the bout 117-111 for Benavidez. Adalaide Byrd also had the bout in favor of Benavidez by a score of 116-111. But Judge Glen Trowbridge scored the contest 116-111 for Gavril. That’s a swing of ten or eleven rounds depending who you compare Trowbridge’s scorecard with.
Will either Judge Richard Ocasio or Glen Trowbridge be asked to come before the Nevada Boxing Commission and explain how they arrived at their scores? Anyone reading this article can easily come up with a dozen verdicts that have left them speechless. Boxers like Han and Benavidez spend countless weeks in training, sacrificing time away from their families and friends, and eating special diets to make weight while maintaining their energy. Why should all this sacrifice be for not, because of incompetent officiating.
Boxing has been this way for over one hundred and twenty years. Will we ever see the system change?