Judge Yourself: The Three At Ringside Are A Farce

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Brian Castano and Jermell Charlo are the latest victims in my theory of “Three Blind Mice” at ringside with a recurring issue of the longtime subjective system of judging that is inept and needs to be fixed.

This has nothing to do with the old adage of a fight that was fixed. Instead, Charlo and Castano gave fans a fight of the year candidate to unify the 154-pound titles on Showtime last Saturday and both fighters deserved better.

Boxing fans also deserved a better outcome with a 12-round split decision draw thanks to one judge with a bogus 117-111 score that amounted to giving Castano three rounds when it was obvious the fight should have gone his way.

You can say a draw is a victory for two fighters but the significance here is waiting another day to crown an undisputed champion. That undisputed claim could very well happen if the sanctioning organizations bypass mandatory and ridiculous mandates.

WBO champion Castano and his handlers have to petition the sanctioning body to waive a mandatory for a rematch and that may be more difficult than Charlo getting a waiver from the WBC, WBA, and IBF. There in lies that other adage about boxing politics that always puts a black eye on the sport.

Castano and Charlo were seeking to become the first undisputed 154-pound champions in the four belt era and that was significant. The anticipation of a heavyweight title unification with champions Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder in October will hopefully not have the same results.

And the same goes with Super Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. The face of boxing is close to signing a unification bout against Celeb Plant in Las Vegas come September 18.

Controversial decisions, though, are a part of boxing and scoring is subjective when it comes to the judges at ringside. Eight division world champion and future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley Jr. in 2012 and unfairly had to surrender the WBO welterweight title.

In four subsequent years, the two completed a trilogy and Pacquiao won two of the fights. Eventually, I do expect Charlo and Castano to meet again and possibly stage a trilogy because the sport deserved a unified champion. Promoters will never shy away from looking at the box office numbers and a possible pay–per-view revenue stream.

I have covered more than enough championship fights at ringside. I have viewed many from the comforts of home. I will not be the last to say that judging a fight is complicated, and a few years back was tested when Showtime Boxing appointed me and two others as ringside media judges for their telecast.

Believe me, you need to be attentive. You observe the punches thrown, technical ability of the fighters, and ring generalship. At times I am perplexed at the attention span of the “Three Blind Mice” that are appointed by sanctioning organizations and the promoters.

Boxing judges are not appointed by the fighters or their respective managers, and of course the sport lacks a national ruling body that can offer more scrutiny to the system of assigning who or what to score championship fights.

Some attention was obtained in December at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut before another closed venue due to COVID. “Three Blind Mice” was the perfect way to describe how undefeated Bantamweight Remart Gaballo scored a controversial split-decision victory over former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez in a fight presented by the PBC and televised on Showtime.

With the victory, Gaballo picked up the vacant interim WBC Bantamweight Title. However, it was clearly seen that Gaballo won at least 10 of the 12 rounds.

In only three of the twelve rounds were Rodriguez and Gaballo separated by more than three landed punches. Overall, Gaballo (24-0, 20 KOs) threw 148 more punches than Rodriguez (19-2, 12 KOs) of Vega Baja Puerto Rico but still managed to connect on 16 fewer power punches.

The punches of the 28-year-old Rodriguez seemed to be cleaner, as he wobbled the Filipino Gaballo on more than one occasion. However, two of the judges favored Gaballo’s aggression over Rodriguez’s ring generalship.

Boxing needed exposure and ended with controversy that did not help to convince the skeptics. Then, as I always say, three ringside observers will see a fight differently. Boxing is subjective when a fight is in the hands of the judges.

But those in command need to pay attention. There needs to be improvement with a scoring system as this latest disgrace was one of many over the past few years. As I have advocated, the best option is establishing a national boxing commission or appointing former fighters and champions to score fights.

Heck, fighters will always tell you, in the heat of the battle they are always scoring their fight as they trade punches. However, because the sport is political, and with promoters and sanctioning organizations that are very rarely on the same page, nothing will change.

But the judges saw it differently. Another controversial ending sent a message that the sport is in need of improvement when it comes to the subjective decisions of judges at ringside.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter @Ring786 Facebook.com/ Rich Mancuso

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich has covered countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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