Enter Massimo

By Ted Sares on September 24, 2011
Enter Massimo
The referee moved about the ring with light-footed grace and remained virtually invisible

Maybe it started with Arthur Mercante’s deplorable showboating during the Cotto-Foreman affair. Then Russell Mora did a slow stoppage in the Donaire- Montiel fight and Steve Smoger followed suit as Denis Lebedev hammered Roy Jones into unconsciousness in Moscow. Mora proved that a even a good referee can have two bad nights when he failed to penalize Abner Mares for repeated low blows in the fight against Joseph Agbeko. Then just last week, referee Wayne Hedgpeth made what appeared to be a premature stoppage of Alfonso Gomez in his duke with Saul “Canelo” Álvarez. Even usually reliable Tony Weeks was a bit too intrusive in the entertaining Vargas-Lopez war. Then, to add to the downward slide, Joe Cortez became a principal party to the contributory negligence of what happened between Mayweather and Ortiz.

However, lost in the shuffle of this string of questionable referring, well known (in Europe) and longtime Italian boxing judge and referee Massimo Barrovecchio worked the Klitschko-Adamek fight in Poland and did an extraordinary job as he moved about the ring with light-footed grace and remained virtually invisible until he appeared at just the right time to signal the end to that beat down.

Maybe they can have a seminar in New Jersey and invite Massimo to be one of the speakers.

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  1. The Thresher 05:33pm, 09/26/2011

    Actually, I didn’t mind Jay all that much. But I think he might have some health issues now that will preclude him from reffing. Just a rumor but the source as a good one.

  2. Joe 01:28pm, 09/26/2011

    I’m guessing you don’t care much for Jay Nady…..funny.

  3. The Thresher 11:45am, 09/26/2011


  4. Gajjers 11:14am, 09/26/2011

    I really liked Richard Steele, till he made that (robotic rather than humane) decision to deny Meldrick Taylor his hard-earned victory over J. C. Chavez with 2 secs to go. Technically, that could be considered the apt thing to do, but man, the psychological blow (in addition to the blows Chavez delivered) effectively finished Taylor as a top-class fighter. I never forgave Steele for that. He kinda messed up the 1st Tyson-Ruddock fight also. Major assignments soon dried up for Steele after that. Is Joe Cortez headed for the same fate?

  5. The Thresher 11:03am, 09/26/2011

    I always liked the late Toby Gibson and I also liked Richard Steele. I don’t care for refs who need to have a signature, whether it’s a wink, a salute, or scratch on the nose

  6. The Thresher 10:56am, 09/26/2011

    MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX. I will rate VK in my top ten this year. WORD!

  7. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 10:14am, 09/26/2011

    I’m a little concerned that Boxing.com doesn’t have my man V.K. rated in the top-10 pound-4-pound category….. V.K. is top-10 today—-even at age 40…... The dude never loses a friggin’ round….. And, no, his opponents are not simply bums, either…. V.K. is that good….

  8. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 10:09am, 09/26/2011

    “Holy, Tyson and Liston” make up #‘s 8 thru 10, but while I realize LIston was a chitty champion from 1962 to 1964, he was an overall bad-azz mutha’ in the ring…

  9. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 10:06am, 09/26/2011

    My top 6 hvy champs are as follows: “Ali, Holmes, Johnson, Louis, Lewis and Foreman.” I think V.K. sits pretty with them dude’s here in 2011…

  10. Gajjers 08:40am, 09/26/2011

    You’re most Welcome, Thresher… Yeah Joe, I’d forgotten about Mitch Halpern (RIP). The thing I remember most about him is his being vetoed by the Tyson camp prior to the Holyfield rematch (can’t remember why - allowing too many Holy head-butts the 1st time, maybe?), only for Mills Lane to disqualify Tyson for the most shameful capitulation I’ve ever seen on the big stage. I was just wondering though - given that ref selections can be vetoed, who actually selects the ref for any given fight (and especially the marquee ones)? The fight camps in consensus, state commissions or the governing bodies (for title fights)?

  11. Joe 08:08am, 09/26/2011

    The last “great” ref we had was Mitch Halpern….RIP.  Hazzard was very good as well.  I’m going with Tony Weeks as today’s best.

  12. The Thresher 05:51am, 09/26/2011

    Gajjers, thanks amigo

  13. Gajjers 07:44pm, 09/25/2011

    Good article, Ted (Kid Blast?). I’m really warming to this boxing site - concise (and occasionally opinionated, which is just fine by me) articles, and refreshingly mature, insightful & eloquent posts. Are you all writers? I’m impressed. My favorite ref has been Mills Lane (should give y’all an idea how relatively new to the boxing world I am) - a little guy with a strong personality, who didn’t molly-coddle anyone, and who could handle the big guys pretty well. Though I didn’t see much of him, I liked Larry Hazzard as well - a few boxers I know could use footwork like he displayed. Joe Cortez has been handling big fights for a pretty good while, and I was thinking during the ring intros for the the Mayweather-Ortiz vaudeville that he looked a bit worn around the edges, only for what later transpired to confirm my suspicions that maybe he should be thinking about that gold Rolex watch… His off-days (VERY dangerous if you’re the 3rd man in the ring) are increasing in frequency, which can’t be very assuring for fighters whose bouts he officiates. I just hope it was truly an anomaly, not a trend we’re seeing unfold here…

  14. TEX HASSLER 07:07pm, 09/25/2011

    The referee plays a vital part in boxing and day dreaming can get a fighter killed. Joe Cortez usually does a good job in my humble opinion.

  15. The Thresher 10:59am, 09/25/2011

    Dollar, I just as soon not mention them. Rather focus on the ones I like.

  16. The Thresher 10:58am, 09/25/2011

    Giorgio, I miss Geneva and Rue Le Moule.. Remember Le Bec Fin?

  17. dollar bond 10:12am, 09/25/2011

    Ted, who are some of the referees you don’t like?

  18. Giorgio 09:40am, 09/25/2011

    I am great, and thing in Geneva are Super.
    I like reading you : always very good

  19. The Thresher 08:12am, 09/25/2011

    Pug, great observation. I know Massimo has that rap, but it sure didn’t show up in the Klit-Adamek slaughter. However, in yesterday’s Sprott loss to Dimentreko (sp-?), some Brit fans criticized him for “protecting” the big Russian. Moral of the story is that I doubt there is any such thing as a perect referee. My personal favrite is a guy out in Oklahoma by the name of Ritter. I also liked the retired Elmo Adolph.

  20. The Thresher 08:04am, 09/25/2011

    Giorgio my amico, How are you? How are things in Geneva?

  21. Jofre 07:30am, 09/25/2011

    Good observation. He did do an excellent job. When you don’t notice the ref and he makes the stoppage at the correct time…. You know the referee is of quality stock.

  22. The Thresher 07:19am, 09/25/2011

    MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX, who are the other 6 in front of him?

  23. Giorgio 07:14am, 09/25/2011

    I did not see the fight but I trust your words, I have heard he is good at least something we are good at in the today boxing world

  24. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 06:58am, 09/25/2011

    Massimo did a fine job…. He might be Europe’s best referee in 2011.?.?

    The fight was good to me…. I loved how my man V.K. just totally controls his subjects….. Adamek game, but soundly thrashed into a 10 round TKO….

    V.K. is my # 7 all-time bad-azz heavyweight champ…... Lil’ brother Wlad has skills and power, but a glass-jaw… He’s between #‘s 10 thru 15…... WORD!

  25. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:42am, 09/25/2011

    Robert—Ron Lipton was a ref who was, for the most part, invisible in the ring as well.  His personal experiences as a fighter and sparring partner helped him be a great ref in the ring.  He was one of my under-the-radar favorites.

  26. pugknows 06:51pm, 09/24/2011

    Massimo is one very busy guy. I have followed his work for years. He is top shelf though some say he favors Russians too much.

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