The Strange Case of Tom Hauser’s Strange Case of Steve Smoger

By Ted Sares on April 9, 2014
The Strange Case of Tom Hauser’s Strange Case of Steve Smoger
“Boxing is a cesspool.... Conflicts of interest are taken for granted.” (Ed Mulholland)

I prefer my referees to be less tolerant, less vocal, less celebratorious, and more focused on the well-being of the boxers…

“[Steve] Smoger is widely thought of as fair and unbiased. People in boxing know that certain referees favor the house fighter, but that’s not the case with Smoger. Fighters and trainers trust him far more than they trust most referees.”—Thomas Hauser

The Scandal

Quite some time ago, Thomas Hauser wrote an article for Seconds.Out.com entitled “The Strange Case of Steve Smoger.” In it, Hauser, with scalpel in hand, went into great detail as to how Smoger, a municipal court judge in New Jersey, was found guilty of misconduct in office leading to his resignation and almost to his disbarment as a lawyer in 2002.

Hauser concluded his scathing article the full details of which are found in The Strange Case of Steve Smoger as follows:

“So what’s the proper resolution?

“Boxing is a cesspool. Promoters have admitted paying bribes to world sanctioning organizations. Too many state athletic commission officials are corrupt. Conflicts of interest are taken for granted. To single out Steve Smoger for a permanent ban would be unfair and hypocritical. Boxing accepts, and at times extols, much worse conduct.

“In the ring, Smoger has carried out his duties with distinction and honor. Still, he has been found guilty of significant wrongdoing. These are not mere technical violations, and they should not be ignored.

“Smoger is not now under suspension in any state. Rather, he has relinquished his license in one jurisdiction and it has expired in another. That might not be a bad course of action to follow across the board. Then, after a decent interval, Smoger should be allowed to reapply for a license to referee in each jurisdiction and welcomed back into the fold.”

Hauser chose to be judgmental in his treatment of Smoger though in so doing, he was fair and balanced. I will limit my narrative to Smoger the referee, but for those interested in more details of this case (some of which are pretty shocking), see 800 A.2d 840 (2002) 173 N.J. 25

Many years later

“I am honored to address my fellow brother and sister officials of Canada by way of my referee clinic…”—Steve Smoger

The reason the Hauser article resonated was that I recently noted that the now equally acclaimed Smoger will be conducting an Informational Referee Clinic on April 12. 2014 at the Marquis of Granby Pub/Restaurant Banquet Facility in Toronto, centrally located near historic Maple Leaf Gardens. The prolific “Double-S” has also conducted these clinics in Delaware and Sint Maarten. Now Delaware I get, but Sint Maarten falls under the category of good work if you can get it. And when it comes to getting good work, no one surpasses Steve Smoger, whose 30-year career includes officiating more than 850 bouts, averaging more than 27 per year and highlighted by more than 165 world title fights. In 2012, he worked 55 fights.

Whether Latvia, U.S Virgin Islands, Greece, especially Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Bermuda, United Arab Emirates, Australia,  Connecticut, Russia, Oklahoma, or God knows where, SS has suitcase and will travel. Throw a dart and he has been there. Of course, this international travel begs the question how is Smoger (essentially an East Coast-based official) able to get such assignments elsewhere while other highly competent local referees are passed over? For example, on March 1, 2014, Smoger worked a championship fight in Gauteng, South Africa. He followed this up with three bouts in beautiful Philipsburg, Sint Maarten on March 15 and then shortly after journeyed to Panama City, Panama for a six-rounder.

Smoger’s Resiliency

To say the least, Steve has bounced back incredibly well from those dark days in 2002 as he now receives one plum assignment after another and probably has enough awards to require an addition to his New Jersey home. Ring Sports Magazine and Boxing Scene Magazine recognized Steve as “Referee of the Year” in 1993. In 1994, Flash Magazine named Steve “Referee of the Year.” Also, in 1995, Steve placed runner up to Mills Lane for “Best Referee in the World” in a poll conducted by Boxing Illustrated.

A New Jersey and Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame inductee, Smoger is also this year’s Ring 10 Arthur Mercante Sr. Award winner as a referee who “exemplifies honesty and integrity in the sport of boxing and who attempts to the best of their ability to keep the sport safe and at the same time entertaining.”

The following link connects to two lengthy interviews SS had with writer Adam Abramowitz that provides great insight into Smoger’s views on boxing and other subjects: http://www.saturdaynightboxing.com/2013/01/the-snb-interview-steve-smoger-part-ii.html

Smoger’s Style

“My proclivity is to allow the fight to go to its natural conclusion, and to let them solve it and to let them resolve it…Sometimes, there comes a time when I have to make the call. But if I can prolong it and give them every opportunity, so be it.”—Smoger

“Smoger is a gutty guy. He has balls. He’s a ballsy referee, and I think that that’s what people want to see.”—Bob Arum

“The most amazing aspect of boxing – is the ability of a human being to get up when he’s hurt.”—Smoger

Smoger has a fan-friendly semi-lassez-faire style. He is a “let-‘em-go” sort of referee that will let fighters fight and not intervene unless absolutely necessary. He always does his homework and is a third man that most (but clearly not all) like.

The Twilight

“What’s indisputable is that Smoger never should’ve placed Tapia in position to take a crushing shot that could’ve done permanent damage. Smoger usually is applauded for being a fighter-friendly referee who’s willing to allow vulnerable boxers to fight out of trouble, a practice that sometimes allows them to come back and win.”—The Record (NorthJersey.com)

Smoger was once one of the best referees—often referred to as an invisible man. However, since 2011 he has done work that has sullied his reputation and strongly suggests he may have seen his best days. Long in the tooth and with his belt almost up to his chest, SS can no longer move well, staying too far away from the action, and when he does get in close he appears too frail to break the fighters apart. Moreover, his long-standing tolerance of allowing both fighters to hold and hit is wearing thin. He has even dispensed with his strange leg raising ritual at the end of a round. The following instances support these criticisms:

On December 7, 2013, the relentless James Kirkland pummeled and battered Glen Tapia in the sixth round. With Tapia clearly done and against the ropes, Smoger moved to stop the fight, but he was too late to keep Glen from taking one last vicious left hook. That shot left Glen standing but totally in another planet as the “Touchy-Feely” Smoger, as is his weird wont and for whatever reason, planted a kiss on him. It was scary to witness and Smoger was subjected to heavy criticism.

On October 25, 2013, Smoger continually admonished and swore at Armenian Karo Murat even shoving him in the face, and then, after the bout, he hugged and kissed Bernard Hopkins. Despite both men fighting dirty (particularly Murat), Smoger seemed totally biased against Murat throughout the bout. This one was embarrassing to witness as SS’s well-documented affinity for Bernard was more than apparent but his inexplicable contempt for Murat was discomforting. Said Jimmy Tobin in the Cruelest Sport, “Referee Steve Smoger, the patron saint of morbid bystanders, molested Murat nearly as often as Hopkins did.”
On March 29, 2014, Smoger was involved in a dreadful clinch fest in which Thomas Dulorme put on a clinic on how to hold without getting caught against Karim Mayfield. SS also failed to call two low blows on Dulorme. Even the overly tolerant and politically correct HBO announcers commented on this one.

There have been other eyebrow-raising instances. For example, the way Double-S handled the stoppage in the second Cotto-Margarito affair suggested to some that he was looking to the doctors for a noncontroversial way out when he had the authority to stop the fight on his own (though admittedly many were skittish about the Margo’s eye even before the fight began). Conversely, he let Pawel Wolak continue against Delvin Rodriquez (during their first bruising fight) even though Wolak’s eye looked worse than Margarito’s. “It’s ugly but I can stand it. Let them roll,” said Smoger about Wolak’s eye swollen to the size of a small grapefruit.

And the way Smoger let Roy Jones Jr. take unnecessary and dangerous punishment from Denis Lebedev in Moscow in 2011 drew harsh criticism, as did the manner in which he permitted Kelly Pavlik to pummel Edison Miranda after Miranda was clearly finished in their 2008 fight. “I didn’t stop the [Jones] fight because there were only a matter of seconds remaining…and it seemed that Roy was pretending, trying to trick his opponent…He did this repeatedly in the fight. So I thought Jones was doing the same thing here, trying to deceive Lebedev in the final seconds of the fight in order to lure Denis in to land a big punch [which Jones managed to do in the previous round],“said Steve. This was of no consolation to Jones who lay face down and unconscious.

On this same Moscow card, Ugandan Hamza Wandera took way too much punishment from Ismayl Sillakh. At one point Wandera even turned his back and ran from Ismayl and that should have prompted an immediate stoppage but it didn’t. In the end, Wandera took crunching haymakers before Smoger finally deigned to step in.

SS also was in his signature delay mode when Shane Mosley took a brutal whipping from the late Vernon Forrest in January 2002.

In all fairness, given the incredible large number of fights SS has worked, it’s no wonder he had had some bad ones, but given the risks involved, the “bad ones” must be kept to an absolute minimum.

There are many that worship at the altar of referee Smoger. To criticize him is to risk heresy if not banishment from some sycophantic organization. But boxing has received heavy criticism of late (especially after the Magomed tragedy, the death of Russian Roman Simakov, ring deaths in Indonesia, the two recent fatalities in Mexico, and the critical injuries suffered by Colombian Jose Carmona following his KO loss to Jorge Arce in Mexico n November 2013).

Boxing has been termed more demolition derby than sweet science with a growing disregard for anything called defense. Maybe so, maybe not, but my concern is that while it might seem timely to anoint Steve Smoger and his “let ‘em fight” style as the best thing since sliced toast, I worry that the safety of the fighter might be overlooked in the process of anointment. That to me is far more important than whether a referee is “ballsy” because he has a “proclivity” to allow fights to go to their natural conclusion (which by the way carries with it an undertone of last man standing). I prefer my referees to be less tolerant, less vocal, less celebratorious, and more focused on the well-being of the boxers instead of boasting about some intrusive sense of when to stop a fight so that the fighter is safe and the fans are sated. No, I’d rather the referee keep in mind the adage Better one punch too early than one punch too late.

But be all this as it may, there is no question that Steve Smoger someday will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. After all, once the close knit Boxing Establishment narrows its focus on someone. you can almost predict the year that “someone” will be inducted. The increasingly irritating Hype machine Michael Buffer even refers to him as the “Future Hall of Famer.”

Back to Hauser

To reiterate, Hauser concludes in his aforementioned article, “Boxing is a cesspool…officials are corrupt. Conflicts of interest are taken for granted. To single out Steve Smoger for a permanent ban would be unfair and hypocritical.…”

Fast Forward

By now, and many years later, Hauser’s own conflict of interest when he became a consultant to HBO has been vetted. Suffice it to say that many—even his peers—asked: how can you be a true journalist and also a consultant to the industry which you’re covering?

But then, boxing is a cesspool. Conflicts of interest are taken for granted. To single out Thomas Hauser would be unfair and hypocritical.…”

By Hauser’s own logic, spurious as it may be, I must again agree on all accounts.

Ted Sares is a private investor who enjoys writing about boxing (though he plans to wind down in 2014). A member of both the RAW and the Elite Powerlifting Federation, Ted is one of the oldest active competitors in the world and will be competing in Westbrook, Maine, Amherst, Nova Scotia, Venice, California, and Charlottesville, Virginia in future months.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Glen Tapia Rushed To Trauma Center After Fight Vs. James Kirkland



Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat: Full Fight - Showtime Boxing



HBO Boxing After Dark: Mayfield vs. Dulorme Highlights



Pawel Wolak Speaks After His Fight With Delvin Rodriguez - www.TwoDice.tv



Roy Jones Jr. vs Denis Lebedev (Final Round)



Kelly Pavlik vs Edison Miranda - 1/3



Kelly Pavlik vs Edison Miranda - 2/3



Kelly Pavlik vs Edison Miranda - 3/3



Ismayl Sillakh vs Hamza Wandera



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  1. Ted Sares 01:04pm, 02/11/2015

    Yes mate. I’m out and about. I post here and on Saddo. Send me an email. Sorry I don’t respond but I didn’t check this thread for any new messages.

  2. John 10:56am, 02/04/2015

    Ted, you out there buddy? Where are you?

  3. Ted 01:19pm, 11/30/2014

    Hi John. Surprised to see another post. Yes, I have a platform in the UK and my stuff is also posted in Asia on a frequent basis. Cheers mate and stay in touch.

  4. Pokergasmic 01:03am, 11/30/2014

    Ted, you still around? I see lots of your stuff in the UK and in the Philippines. What gives with that?

  5. Ted 01:44pm, 09/13/2014

    Yes, Randy Gordon told me about this, He is now done in NJ, but he gets plenty of work in other locales. Bottom-line: this was not good news for Steve.

  6. Big Walt 11:51am, 09/12/2014

    An interesting, surprising, and very bad development for SS. Larry Hazzard has been re-named Boxing Commissioner in NJ, beginning on Monday, Sept. 22

  7. Ted 10:43am, 07/30/2014

    Still another fight that should have been stopped earlier.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfsig9KvLYo

  8. kid vegas 04:05pm, 07/22/2014

    Larry Hazzard went after Smoger like a tiger on a goat on Billy C’s radio program and tore him a new one. Seems like more and more pundits are going after him now.

  9. Ted 02:37pm, 07/16/2014

    Hazzard blows Smoger’s cover. Take this fast forward to the 34 minute and 12 second mark which runs to the 48 minute 35 second mark.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6np_J4CUiMo 

    Then go back after hearing that main thing, to the 21 minute 39 second mark which runs until the 24 minute 35 second mark.

  10. Ted 05:24pm, 05/20/2014

    Well I’ll be dipped.  I’m just fine Poker. Been doing some selective writing but mostly doing a lot of lifting as I am on the circuit and will be competing in North Dakota soon if my body allows it. Also am anxious to hit the links.

    I am still posting here on Boxing.com and enjoy reading the articles..

    Thanks for asking good buddy.

  11. John 01:18pm, 05/20/2014

    “Ted the Bull, what are you doing these days? I miss you.”

  12. Thresher 02:35pm, 04/24/2014

    Yes it does, Kid. In that regard of wanting to be in the limelight, he comes off as shameless. I suspect he is obsessed with the idea of getting into the IBHOF—and for good reasons. If I were him, I’d do the very same thing.

  13. kid vegas 12:15pm, 04/24/2014

    I notice that Smoger is on some ESB show. He is the only referee who does this kind of thing and that says it all about him in my view.

  14. From Graeme Barrow in New Zealand 04:12pm, 04/21/2014

    Another brilliant column Ted, which makes it the more distressing to me to read of your imminent retirement. It will leave a huge hole. May I be impertinent enough to ask the reason?
    Am currently in the UK for three weeks.
    Hope you are well.
    Cheers, Graeme

  15. Ted 04:09pm, 04/21/2014

    One final note. Since I MADE A PRIOR COMMITMENT TO ANOTHER SITE FOR ONE OR TWO ADDITIONAL ARTICLES. YOU MAY SEE THEM O LINE BUT PLEASE DO NOT ASSUME I AM RESUMING.

    ADIOS AMIGOS.

  16. Ted 04:07pm, 04/21/2014

    Meinhard, gut Freund, danke. See you on Facebook.

  17. Meinhard Schmidt 01:27pm, 04/21/2014

    Dear Ted,
    very sad to hear that this is your last article on boxing.com. I learned very much from your writing, and i enjoyed your style as well as your vast knowledge (no wonder because you were rindside for dempsey-firpo as you once told me haha). And one thing we have in common (despite our difference in age and upbringing and so on) is our view on boxing, the fact that we sometimes hate it, sometimes love it. The deep respect for everyone who climbs in the squared circle is something which sets you apart from a lot of so called “writers”. Thank you, we will stay in touch, yours, Meinhard

  18. Ted 04:02pm, 04/20/2014

    Thank you Matt. Ditto

  19. Matt McGrain 01:38pm, 04/20/2014

    Goodbye and good luck Ted.

  20. Ted 07:22am, 04/20/2014

    Thank you Angel

  21. Angel 06:10am, 04/20/2014

    Ted, another great article.
    The Smoger story is so interesting, you wonder how boxing will survive.. or will it?
    I agree with so many others posting here, your writing will be missed.

  22. Ted 05:21am, 04/16/2014

    Many thanks Paul. Much appreciated.

  23. Paul Magno 09:38pm, 04/15/2014

    Say it ain’t so, Ted….Of course I wish you the best and appreciate all of your work over the years, but it’s always sad when one of “the good ones” decides to leave the business. The problem is that every good guy leaving gives a bit more power to the creeps, crooks, and morons who populate the vast majority of the boxing media…But the sad truth is that it’s harder to be decent and thoughtful over the long haul than it is to be a useful idiot shill…Those guys can last forever, but guys like us tend to burn out…I’ll see you around Facebook and all the other places we communicate, but I’m secretly hoping THE END is only a prelude to a second wind…

  24. Thresher 07:14am, 04/14/2014

    And this is how Arum colludes in it Mike

    http://www.boxingscene.com/arum-bradleys-value-went-up-by-choosing-brawl—76678

  25. Ted 06:51am, 04/14/2014

    Mike, you are correct. I took the term from you.

  26. Mike Silver 07:20pm, 04/13/2014

    “Boxing has been termed more demolition derby than sweet science with a growing disregard for anything called defense”. Nice turn of phrase Ted. Not sure, but I believe I was the first to equate boxing with the words “human demolition derby” in my book “The Arc of Boxing”.  I used it to describe the first Gatti vs. Ward fight.

  27. Ted 11:31am, 04/13/2014

    Well I just looked out the window and it’s snowing snowballs outside and then a baby black bear crossed the yard. Got to love the Northern Kingdom.

    Now I am going to drive to the golf club and pay my annual membership.

    Talk about mixed signals.

  28. Ted Sares 08:05am, 04/13/2014

    Hmm, well part of the way I learned my history was to sit around and have a smoke and cup of coffee with men like Joe Cream (Jersey Joe Walcott’s brother) and Ernie “The Rock” Durando. This was way back in the late 60’s in New Jersey. Later, I did it with guys like Dickie DeVeronica, Greg Haugen and Harry Arroyo and then with some South Korean fighters like the great Moon Sung-Kil whom I got to know while living in Seoul. . Today, it’s with the likes of Tony DeMarco, Joey Degrandis, Dana Rosenblatt, and a whole bunch of men and women in between. I have always tried to get as much as I could from the boxers themselves because it made for better stories (at least for me). Charley Norkus was one of my all-time favorites and he participated in arguably the most brutal Pier 6 fight of all time against Danny Nardico.

  29. From Charley Norkus, Jr 07:52am, 04/13/2014

    Very sad to hear those words. I, for one, always was amazed and mystified how you could write so much material as quickly as you had over the years with honesty and truthfulness and with accurate knowledge of your subjects. I know you experienced “The boxing scene” for so many years-yet your ability to put so much information out there in the boxing world at so quick apace has always astounded the senses.
    I do not know what any future plans you have, Ted, but I certainly wish you everything well in the future for you and yours. I will miss your writing, and my “going to school from your articles” as everyone sure will also. I know you will always keep in heart the sport we all love, but changed immensely over the decades. Glad to say you experienced the older generations, as newer writers are lost in the bullshit hype put out today. Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Louis,etc etc have all lost a major part of their legacies by you closing down the shop. And I might add- Charley Norkus fans and the younger fans who found out who he was by your skilled craft.
    I wish you the Best my friend, there is not enough “Thank You’s” I can bestow upon you for what you have done in the past on behalf of The Norkus and Durando Families. I hope this one last whole-hearted THANK YOU will suffice.Be well. Enjoy, Charlie Norkus Jr

  30. Ted 07:25am, 04/13/2014

    Thank you Audley. I will definitely try to improve my totals. There are some world records out there I have my eyes on.


    Cheers

  31. Ted 07:23am, 04/13/2014

    Thanks Benoit. You may be the very best in the business,

  32. Audley 06:14am, 04/13/2014

    It is hard to find good referees, the job is tough and making the right decision can be tougher. Great article Ted, as always. Your writing will be missed. As far as your other “career” as a powerlifter, I have watched you improve your totals, lifting heavier weights each meet when many guys your age have a hard time lifting a bag of groceries. Great job on the lifting platform.

  33. Benoit 05:20am, 04/13/2014

    Thanks Ted

    I really enjoyed this article that you wrote


    Miranda vs. Demers: The Night the Judges Got It Right
    By Ted Sares: After 10 rounds of solid action, Colombian Dionisio “Mister Nocaut” Miranda (20-2-1) beat Canadian Sebastian “Double Trouble” Demers (25-2) in Demer’s home town of Montreal, Canada. While Demers used his jab effectively, landed more punches and was busier throughout, Miranda landed the cleaner and more effective shots, particularly when he connected with his big right hand. As analyst Teddy Atlas said, it was the quality of the Colombian’s punches versus the quantity of Demer’s, even though Teddy gave the edge to Demers 95-94.

    I had the fight a draw, but the judges had it 95-94, 95-94 and 94-95 giving Mr. Nocaut (his spelling) a SD and the IBF International middleweight title and vacant NABA middleweight title. A knockdown of Demers in round nine counted heavily in giving Miranda the final edge in scoring.

    All in all, it was a fan friendly fight, but wait, that’s not the real story here. The two judges who gave the fight to Miranda were Benoit Roussel and Pasquale Procopio, both from Canada. The judge who scored the fight 95-94 in favor of Demers was Joseph Pasquale from New Jersey. Say what?

    On a night when home cooking” seemed almost certain to be served, these fine judges went against the grain, remained objective and did their job as professionals. This one should be used as a training film on how to judge a fight, for on this steamy night at the Gare Windsor Salle des Pas Perdus in Montreal Quebec, Canada, the judges got it right.


    Visit the authors web site at www.tedsares.com.

  34. Ted 05:47pm, 04/12/2014

    John, I believe Toby and Mitch had personal issues aside from boxing. I knew Toby. Richard Green might well have been a different story. It was very sad. All three were outstanding referees.

  35. Ted 05:10pm, 04/12/2014

    Thanks very much John

  36. John 02:50pm, 04/12/2014

    It’s got to be a tough job being a boxing referee. We can’t ask the late Mitch Halpern, Toby Gibson, or Richard Green, because they ended their lives early by suicide. Stop a fight too soon (Richard Steele) and you’re crucified. Stop one too late, and you have to live with the guilt of Jimmy Garcia, Duk Koo Kim, et al. Ted, I’m going to miss your informative and always well-researched boxing articles. I’ve read you since way back in the ESB days. Always popular, always controversial, yet ALWAYS on the side of protecting the fighter.

  37. Ted 11:04am, 04/12/2014

    Thanks John. Actually I might compete in the Muscle Beach Lift Off in June if I can time it with a visit with my daughter who lives nearby. If so, you can count on a visit in Oxnard.

  38. John 08:31am, 04/12/2014

    Nice piece, Ted. Let me know if your powerlifting takes you to Venice, Calif. I’m only 50 miles away down the Pacific Coast Highway and would love to come to the event.

  39. Ted 06:17am, 04/12/2014

    Thank you Clarence. You are a refreshing uniqueness in a sea of boring homogeneity

  40. Clarence George 07:28pm, 04/11/2014

    I first met Ted at a powerlifting competition in LaSalle, Indiana, on a burnt-orange and smoke-gray day in early November ‘79.  I came in second and he came in ninth.  We then had dinner, fried clams, at a nearby Howard Johnson’s, where we came across four Pan Am stewardesses—two blondes, a redhead, and a gal from Hong Kong with the rather disconcerting name of Ima Dong.  We took them across state lines to Arkansas where we skinny dipped in the local hot springs.  Afterwards…well, Ted’s married now, so we’ll leave it at that.  Anyway, this will give you an idea:

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Arts/Arts_/Pictures/2011/11/29/1322584184207/Pan-Am-007.jpg

    It never occurred to me that we’d meet again.  But we did, in January 2013, when I started writing for Boxing.com.  We didn’t always see eye-to-eye (well, he’s only 5’2”), but with time, no end of booze, and certain negatives in my possession, we developed a relationship marked by one-sided, er, mutual respect and affection.

    Ted, me auld warrior, you will be missed (I’m tapping my heart with my fingers, like the Eyeties do).

  41. Ted 06:36pm, 04/11/2014

    How very kind of you Don. That made me take pause, mate.

  42. Don from Prov 06:32pm, 04/11/2014

    You represent a lot of years of good writing, my friend.  Someone once said on a boxing site that was in its stride that being on it was like going to his favorite pub with all the local characters, etc.  What I remember most from the time that I’ve known you are the Scotch and Cigar Club pieces your did, and plugging into one of those articles there made me feel like I was back in the neighborhood and had gone down to the corner grill that was really a restaurant, drugstore, magazine shop—a mall rolled into one mom and pop store, but on Sunday mornings all the local color: off duty cops, low level Mafia guys, dads from down the street—everyone jammed into the horseshoe shaped counter at the grill with their newspapers, cigarettes, coffee and eggs, and the talk started; every subject from boxing (and other sports) to local politicos, women, and music were up for discussion (and a lot of bullshit), but what great talk it was to listen to: I might have learned more in that little corner store about whatever was worth knowing about than I did in any four years of college.  And that memory of Sunday mornings was what the Scotch and Cigar Club reminded me of, with stories flowing, from around the world really, into one tiny internet space.  Always, music and food and women were just off the center spot that the boxing talk (and bullshit) took. 
    I will miss your articles.

  43. Ted 05:46pm, 04/11/2014

    After my Smoger piece goes into the archives or runs its course, I will no longer post on Boxing.com. I plan to write 4 articles a year for Boxing World Magazines which I have been doing for years.

    Cheers, Don

  44. Don from Prov 05:41pm, 04/11/2014

    Will you no longer be posting, Ted?

    I know you’ve been talking about stepping away from writing—

  45. Ted 12:40pm, 04/11/2014

    Thank you so much Peter. That was very nice of you.

  46. Peter Silkov 12:29pm, 04/11/2014

    Excellent, thought provoking, article as always Ted!.  I have to say Smoger has been one of my preferred referees over the years, I liked his ‘let them get on with it’ attitude.  Having said he’s certainly had some shaky nights recently, the Tapia fight was a shocker all round really.  I do think there is a case for referee’s needing to have a certain level of fitness in order to handle fights, and maybe SS had slipped below the level really required to be able to safely manage two highly tuned and highly charged athletes intent on doing physical harm to each other.  At the least he should probably be made to lighten his workload a little. 
    I sincerely hope that you don’t give up writing about boxing Ted.  There’s plenty of writers around, but only a small amount of them really have something to say, and even fewer say it from the heart, rather from the ego.  So say it ain’t so Ted.  Boxing really needs those writers who tell it like it is, with a bit of soul.

  47. Ted 07:00am, 04/11/2014

    Thanks buddy. I appreciate that. No, this has nothing to do with that and no one would even know about it were it not for Facebook.

  48. dollarbond 06:38am, 04/11/2014

    Adios, Ted.  You are a great writer.  By the way does this have anything to do with powerlifting?

  49. Thresher 06:34am, 04/11/2014

    Referees should not have gimmicks. I agree 100%. They should be low profile and as invisible as possible in the ring. Lipton was good at this. Very invisible and professional. Eddie Claudio always says, “Let’s get Poppin.” WTF! Jay Nady salutes though I don’t believe he was ever in the service. Joe Cortez was bile-inducing. Mills Lane started it all with the nose rubbing routine.  Just do your job is the best way. I like Harvey Dock and the Stiller boys out in Oklahoma. I loved Dick Flaherty and Charlie Dwyer—both retired. Just did their jobs. No gimmicks. Along with Bob Benoit, they are all in the Ring 4 Hall of Fame.

    Mercante Jr. is the worse referee in history IMO.

    PA, thanks for your kind words, buddy.

    Don has the beat.

    Irish. Read my side note at the bottom. I plan to “wind down” as in no more. I have enjoyed my time on Boxing.com greatly, but I can no longer suffer the multitudes of a-holes that infest the cesspool. Has nothing to do with Boxing.com.

  50. FightClubWriter 08:54pm, 04/10/2014

    Raxman, I agree. Refs shouldn’t have gimmicks and catchphrases, only wrestlers should. And that’s the bottom line…

  51. raxman 08:18pm, 04/10/2014

    I think with boxing, as with all sports, the referee has done a good job when you think back on the fight (or match) and can’t think of a single thing they did/didn’t do.
    I’m especially not interested in referees having an in ring persona - whether its the punchers ref Smooching Steve Smoger or the I’m firm but I’m fair Joe Cortez.

  52. Philip H. Anselmo 07:31pm, 04/10/2014

    Well… if this is the epitaph for Smoger, his Anti-Smoger counterpart in all this was unjustly criticized ref Richard Steele.
    Steele was booed profusely in every single fight he worked after the 1st Tyson -Ruddock fight because folks thought it was stopped early.
    And at the time I believed it too.
    That is, until I watched the replay over and over.  Ruddock was laying completely limp on the ropes, and an on-charging Tyson was coming in for the finish.
    Makes me wonder if Tyson’s reputation as a brutal puncher, which was a definite truth, influenced Steele’s decision to jump in “early”?
    Or he was just doing his job as he saw it?
    A conclusive KO would’ve been preferred IMO back in the day, but what if Tyson was allowed to follow-up, like perhaps Smoger might allot, and my wish came true of a “conclusive KO”?

    If I remember correctly, Steele said into the mic that the talking heads were wielding as he was being escorted from the ring to the dressing room area amongst a wall of boos, and things being thrown at him, “I saved a life”...

    Boxing “pundits” will tell you, and you’ve definitely heard it from the talking-heads on major networks, “boxing needs more action, we want KO’s”… MK from HBO rings a bell…

    So, as scrutinized as Smoger is for giving boxing “what it wants”, maybe even unknowingly to himself and the detriment of boxers, as you point out Ted, I can’t help but think of the complete flip side of this situation:
    Rich Steele, and how HIS epitaph will read…?
    Too cautious?  50/50 on his calls?  A damn excellent ref?  Other….?
    I’d like to know your opinion!
    Fantastic read Big Brother!
    I’d love to read a new column on your thoughts about Steele!
    The flip side!
    Much love and respect-
    PHA ‘14

  53. Don from Prov 06:32pm, 04/10/2014

    Well, I’m glad that Smoger got another shot after his early misstep.

    But he does now seem out of step.

  54. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:32pm, 04/10/2014

    Ted Sares-Did I break wind again? I bet that’s it….. I broke wind! For that I am ever so sorry!

  55. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:28pm, 04/10/2014

    Ted Sares-Hello? Did I miss something here? Did I conk out again? Was I drooling? Was I snoring in class again? I’ve been kibitzing from the back row with this learned and wise Professor for a couple of really great years now….and now I learn that he’s soon to be honored as Professor Emeritus….WTF! Night school here at City College will just not be the same. Say it isn’t so!

  56. Thresher 04:50pm, 04/10/2014

    Walter I am as done as Fran Botha

  57. Ted 04:49pm, 04/10/2014

    Thanks, Kid, I’d SAY THE ONES ON BOXING.COM TELL IT LIKE IT IS

  58. Thresher 04:47pm, 04/10/2014

    Here is Hauser on Mercante Jr.


    http://www.secondsout.com/columns/thomas-hauser/an-appalling-end-to-foreman-cotto

  59. kid vegas 04:39pm, 04/10/2014

    Ted, I’d have to co-sign with Gutter, Your laser-like candor and honesty will be badly missed. There are few boxing writers left who are not prostitutes. Adios amigo.

  60. Thresher 04:37pm, 04/10/2014

    Here is Hauser’s expose on Cole:

    http://www.secondsout.com/columns/thomas-hauser/texas-is-shameless

  61. FightClubWriter 04:15pm, 04/10/2014

    So it turns out the kissing bandit Steve Smoger (who is beloved by the boxing media) is a low life dirtbag. What a surprise. I wonder what’s in Laurence Cole’s and Arthur Mercante Jr’s closets?

  62. Big Walter 01:43pm, 04/10/2014

    Very sorry to see you go big guy, but think I get it. Somehow, I just think you will pop up somewhere else. It’s in your blood.

  63. Ted 01:09pm, 04/10/2014

    Absolutely Amigo, absolutely

  64. es ~ aka Cupey Alto 01:01pm, 04/10/2014

    Super nice piece by my main man Ted Sares.

    If this is to be one of teds last pieces I will miss them ever so much. I may not have known Ted for as long as most but I trust this man as much as anyone. I true friend that I share so many common beliefs. Keep in touch big man.

  65. Thresher 10:50am, 04/10/2014

    Of course you may ask. That would be Tony Weeks hands down. I prefer my referees to be less tolerant, less vocal, less celebratorious, and more focused on the well-being of the boxers and that is the definition of Tony.

  66. Big Walter 10:35am, 04/10/2014

    Dare I ask but who IS your favorite referee?

  67. Thresher 09:36am, 04/10/2014

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXrP1iFam3s

  68. Thresher 09:35am, 04/10/2014

    kid Vegas spot on. I remember that one. It was in NH. At the time I though he did a od job but in retrospect he should not have let the fight continue. Fortunately, Ray got through it without further damage,

    Here is the link.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXrP1iFam3s


    Listen to Joe Tessitore’s sickening commentary.

  69. Thresher 09:28am, 04/10/2014

    No Bill, but I strongly believe it’s his major source of income and I further believe it one hell of a lot. Given the monster number of fights he works, all you need to do is come up with a multiplier and do the math. For example 55 times y = a lot of money. I suspect no referee comes close to what Steve makes. He once made over 7K for a fight, but that’s very rare.

  70. kid vegas 09:24am, 04/10/2014

    Smoger may have hit the top of the bell-shaped curve with his handling of the Emanuel Augustus vs. Sucre Ray Oliviera fight in 2005 when Augustus asked Smoger with his eyes, ‘Are you sure you want me to start hitting him again?’ Ray had complained of head pains at the 1.38 mark of the eighth round but after consulting with the doctors, Double-S let the round play out as Augustus fortunately refrained from hitting Sucre Ray with anything upstairs. Even strong Smoger supporter Teddy Atlas expressed his concern.

  71. Thresher 09:23am, 04/10/2014

    Tex, SS is perfect for today’s style of boxing. Last man standing. Might as well watch a dog fight. Does he know his stuff? Of course he does. But I agree that his time has come and gone.

  72. dollarbond 09:21am, 04/10/2014

    Ted,
    Do you know how much he makes as a referee?

  73. Thresher 09:21am, 04/10/2014

    Big Walter. No, That gusher was a laugher.

  74. Tex Hassler 08:59am, 04/10/2014

    Throught the years I have watched Steve Smoger referee many fights. I agree with Mr. Sares and maybe it is time for Steve to ride away from the position of referee. While much of boxing is a cess pool no one seems to know how to clean it up.

  75. Big walter 08:48am, 04/10/2014

    Did this one inspire your article?  http://www.boxing.com/steve_smoger_master_of_an_art_form.html

  76. Ted 07:47am, 04/10/2014

    Thanks Gutter

  77. Ted 07:46am, 04/10/2014

    Iris, LMFAO! But you don’t “form a train,” you pull a train!!

  78. Gutter 07:43am, 04/10/2014

    I’m not really a Smoger fan.  The guy strikes me as a very weird dude, and very inconsistent in his refereeing.

    There are still a lot of people out there, including some influential politicians, who would love to ban boxing, and when referees like Smoger allow someone to suffer critical injuries that could have been prevented, they are helping dig boxing’s possible eventual grave.  Everyone can make a mistake, but it seems Smoger sees it as part of his rep to allow fighters to get right up to the edge.  In some cases, a fighter is bound to fall over that edge, then. 

    The material about Smoger’s past behavior in another profession, the legal profession, no less, sheds more light on the man.  Does a leopard really change its spots?  Hmmmmm.

    As for Ted Sares winding down, I hope that doesn’t happen.  Ted provides a lot of refreshing honesty in the “cesspool” of current boxing journalism that is now so often no more than thinly veiled groupie-dom in print.  Don’t let the bastards grind you down, Ted!

    Gutter

  79. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:40am, 04/10/2014

    Ted Sares-This is a serious journalistic effort but I can’t help myself so here goes…..if “Touchy-Feely” had been in the ring the night that Broner started hunching Maidana he would have formed a train behind Broner and got some hunches of his own in. The point is this….this is a less than serious person in a very serious profession…...in this “Brave New World” we are literally surrounded by these critters…..do you really and truly believe that Biden, Reid, and Pelosi are serious people….they may be dangerous but they certainly are not serious.

  80. Ted 07:32am, 04/10/2014

    Thanks Dan.

  81. Thresher 07:30am, 04/10/2014

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnXETuramsw -Wandera vs Sillakh fight on same card as Jones-Lebedev fight

  82. Dan Adams 07:28am, 04/10/2014

    Ted, another great article… DON’T QUIT WRITING!

  83. Thresher 07:25am, 04/10/2014

    Ha. Thanks

  84. dollarbond 07:23am, 04/10/2014

    Great title!  it hooked me in liek a wide mouthed bass.

  85. Magoon 03:46am, 04/10/2014

    Hauser and Smoger aren’t much more than names to me, so I don’t know if they deserve it, but I don’t think this is a stinging indictment. It’s not clear to me that Smoger is worse than most of the other guys doing this kind of work today. As boxing continues to collapse in on itself, it’s going to get harder and harder to recruit quality people - it’s like trying to get the best and the brightest to work as orderlies in publicly-run loony bins. Not happening.

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