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Judges robbing or challengers not doing enough?

Latest Sergio MartinezBy Robert Elmore: The judges told Pernell Whitaker that he did not do enough to earn a victory against the more popular Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993; Mike McCallum against the more popular James Toney in 1992; Lennox Lewis against the more popular Evander Holyfield (the first fight); Austin Trout against more popular Saul Alvarez; Martin Murray against the more Sergio Martinez; Juan Manuel Marquez against the more popular Manny Pacquiao.

With the exception of Marquez, McCallum, and Murray, Trout, Lewis, Whitaker had titles during their bouts. But each of these fighters share a common interest; they all out landed their opponents according to compu box numbers (Except Marquez). But boxing has always said in order to take the title from a champion.

One must do more than out-land them in overall punches, land more jabs, and power shots. A knock down or two won’t cut it either. A knockout would take care of everything. This has not always been the case. It’s a 50/50 thing.

Most boxing experts and fans alike say that the fighter that lands the harder crisper shots deserves to get the nod. If that’s the case, then Marvin Hagler should have retained his title against Ray Leonard and Marquez should have been the victor in his 3rd match with Pac. He disregarded his boxing skills and looked for the knockout and got it. Does this mean that less popular fighters needs a knockout to win against the more popular fighter?

In the case where you have two fighters that are not that popular but fighting for a title, the scoring wouldn’t be a big deal. An example of this is Victor Ortiz versus then WBC champ Andre Berto. Neither fighter was popular and only known by the hardcore boxing fans.

So when Ortiz won, it was like “congratulations, but so what”. The fight was interesting enough to create a second match before the steroid usage by Berto, but not enough to launch either fighter into super stardom. However, in the case of Pernell Whitaker versus Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell simply needed to beat Chavez from Pillar to post.

He did in his own personal way. He had Chavez guessing all night and landed some flush shots. Chavez was unable to pressure Whitaker and land bone crushing shots that stopped Meldrick Taylor three years prior. The fight ended in a draw causing a great stir in the boxing circles. Many believed that Pernell was robbed. So much so that Sports illustrated at the conclusion of the fight labeled their ROBBED.

In 1992, McCallum lost a majority decision to James Toney. Toney landed the harder shots, but only fought half the rounds. Yet, he was given the victory. The same thing happened during the Saul Alvarez/ Austin Trout and Martin Murray/ Sergio Martinez.

Both Murray and Trout out landed their respective opponents, but lost. You can also throw in Thomas Hearns in his rematch against Ray Leonard. Hearns knocked Ray down twice and dominated most of the fight. The fight ended in a draw. But Leonard was still Americas sweetheart coming off wins against Hagler and Donnie Lalonde. The perception is the peoples champ couldn’t go out with a lost. Does this mean that the less popular fighter needs a knockout against the more popular fighter all the time?

But then there is the other side of the coin. Boxing has also demanded that the challenger must take the fight from the champion. Basically, if a pure defensive minded boxer goes against a crowd pleasing brawler, he needs to let his hands go. It’s almost if the judges are telling the pure boxer “you must become a brawler in order to win”.

While I don’t agree that a defensive minded fighter must subject himself to a brawler status, he simply must find a way to sway the judges or take the fight out of the judge’s hands altogether. It was the horrible scoring that forced Marvin Hagler to only take each fight into his own hands. But as long as boxing exists, it will always be a 50/50 thing.


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