There was a time, when boxing was run by mobsters Frankie Carbo and Blinky Palermo, that there were plenty of fixed fights. But after a high-profile trial in 1961, they were no longer involved in the sport and by the middle of that decade, the mob's influence in the sport essentially disappeared.
But many of those who watched Saturday's bout in Las Vegas between Brandon Rios and Richard Abril seem convinced that the outcome was rigged. Most are pointing the finger at Top Rank chairman Bob Arum as the culprit.
Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, who should know better, joined the fracas via Twitter. Strangely, after the bizarre conclusion to the James Kirkland-Carlos Molina fight in Texas last month, in which Kirkland won by disqualification, De La Hoya had nothing to say about a fixed fight. This, despite the fact that the scoring was outrageously bad and that his own buddy and matchmaker, Eric Gomez, ran to the commission table and demanded that Molina be disqualified. That, though, is because Golden Boy promotes Kirkland and had a vested interest in him winning, whether Kirkland deserved it or not.
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De La Hoya, though, hates Arum and uses Twitter like a 12-year-old to constantly bash his rival. On Saturday, De La Hoya intimated that something was amiss in the outcome of the fight, when Rios won by split decision despite the fact that most media and a majority of fans felt Abril had won.
De La Hoya managed to rile up his more than 371,000 followers when he suggested the result wasn't on the up and up.
I can't wait till top ranks ship sinks because I am sick and tired of these bad calls.
He wrote as if Top Rank had anything to do with the outcome when he clearly knew better, just as he knew that his company had nothing to do with the outrageous scoring and finish to the Kirkland-Molina fight.
Some suggested that Arum wines and dines the officials in order to see the fights his way, which shows a lack of understanding of the process. In Nevada, the commission tells a promoter what the costs for officials will be. Promoters are required to pay the fees for the judges and the referees working a card, as well as their expenses. But the promoter pays the commission directly with one check, and then the commission pays its officials.
Rios got a gift, but it wasn't all that surprising to those who have followed Nevada judging over the years, because Las Vegas judges always tend to favor the aggressor. Rios was the one pushing the fight and he was given the benefit of the doubt on most of the close rounds.
I scored it 116-112 for Abril, preferring his counter punching and boxing to Rios' mauling. Judge Adalaide Byrd also had it for Abril, 117-111. She was overruled by her counterparts, Jerry Roth, who had it 116-112 for Rios; and Glenn Trowbridge, who favored Rios 115-113.
Unlike some who were watching on television and weren't in the arena, it wasn't a runaway rout. There were a lot of rounds which were difficult to score because the fighters competed at close range a lot and there weren't a tremendous amount of clean punches landed by either man. Power is scored in professional boxing and Abril's punches didn't have a lot of pop.
Still, he landed more and deserved the decision, but it's hardly as if Frankie and Blinky came back from the grave to order Roth and Trowbridge to score the bout their way.
When there are bad calls in the NFL, say, the first inclination of fans, team owners and executives and media is not to suggest the outcome is rigged.
It's common in boxing, though, and that's sad. De La Hoya is only hurting the sport he purports to love by making such suggestions. When one promoter is successful, it's good for the entire sport. Golden Boy and Top Rank are the sport's two most successful promoters. If they can help raise interest in the sport, it helps each other as well as all the other promoters.
De La Hoya's childish Twitter taunts only serve to harm the business in which he makes his living.
He knows as well as anyone that the result of the judging on Saturday was simply human error and nothing more.
He needs to start acting like a professional or someone should take his rattle away.
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