Burgos-Martinez: Here We Go Again
“I’ve seldom landed so many clean punches and he only scuffed me. How can such a thing happen? This kind of thing is ruining boxing.”—Firat Arslan
“I can’t be getting cheated like this. It’s sad, man, it’s sad. It’s nonsense. What needs to be done in boxing for this not to happen again? This isn’t a game. What else do I have to do?”—Steve Cunningham
“I came here. I thought they (the judges) were going to be honest you know. I don’t know how they are scoring. I thought I landed the harder punches. I felt I won.”—Arash Usmanee
First, Firat Arslan lost a controversial decision to Marco Huck in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany on November 3, 2012.The scorecards read 115-113, 115-113 and 117-111 in Huck’s favor but Judge Giustino Di Giovanni, who had it nine rounds to three for Huck, had to be on another planet. He should not be allowed to judge any more fights.
Steve “USS” Cunningham (25-5) then lost a hotly disputed decision to Tomasz Adamek on December 22, 2012. Adamek (48-2) received winning scores of 115-112 from Judge Debra Barnes and 116-112 from Dave Greer, while an alert Tom Miller scored it 115-113 for Cunningham. To most observers, Cunningham seemed to have beaten the favored Adamek during their 12-round rematch and was visibly devastated by the outcome.
On January 4, 2013, Arash Usmanee was on the losing end of a UD to Rances “Kid Blast” Barthelemy that still has fans buzzing over what they witnessed—not by the fight itself which was a thriller, but by the decision which enraged Teddy Atlas who said, “It may be a new year, but it’s the same old bad judging…It’s either incompetence or it’s corruption.” A badly tired and bruised up Barthelemy barely survived Usmanee’s late flurry. Atlas had the fight 117-111 for Usmanee.
Now in all fairness, I might be able to make a case for Huck, Adamek, and “Kid Blast, but what happened at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night was just plain bizarre. The Juan Carlos Burgos-Rocky Martinez fight figured to go the distance. It did not disappoint. What did disappoint was the outcome which was a split decision draw.
The 116-112 scorecard tabulated by Judge Tony Paolillo in favor of Rocky Martinez was as wrong as wrong can be. John Signorile’s 114-114 was bad enough but 116-112 was unacceptable. Burgos fought a disciplined and focused 12 rounds using laser-like body shots to affirm the tiresome metaphor that putting money in the bank early will reap dividends later. And Burgos did just that as Martinez slowed down in the late rounds allowing the Tijuana native to dictate the action and garner what should have been a dominant UD. Judge Waleska Roldan had it 117-111 for Burgos. I had it the same way and so did Harold Lederman.
The sad fact is, none of these people had ever judged a title fight before. Yes, a judge has to start somewhere, but surely the New York Commission could have included one judge with title fight experience.
Even sadder and more foreboding, however, is the fact that bad boxing decisions are fast becoming the rule rather than the exception—not only is locales with weak commissions—but even in Madison Square Garden.