I have been trolling a
lot of boxing forums to hear the thoughts of
fight fans from all over the world after last
weekend’s Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara fiasco. After
yet another crazy weekend of horrendous decisions by
incompetent or corrupt boxing judges, I felt the
need to speak.
An exciting HBO-televised
fight ending with the three judges gifting the
decision to the undeserving Williams. The three guys
I am referring to were the only people in the entire
world who saw the fight in favor of Williams, and,
unfortunately, were the only three who actually
mattered. I mean, besides the millions of fans who
not only pay to see the fighters, but are also
responsible for the compensation of the judges,
Besides the many other
underlying issues with this robbery, the thing that
most upsets me (aside from the actual decision) is
the way people in general are talking bad about
Williams. How is it that we are so mad at this
decision that we are faulting the fighter who gave
it his all and still entertained millions?
Seriously, it is not Williams' fault that Al
Bennett, Hilton Whitaker III and Donald Givens
wrongly gave this decision to him.
In the grand
scheme, it wouldn’t matter if Williams, himself,
agreed that the decision was a farce. Though it may
help his perception to the boxing world, it will do
nothing to right the horrible outcome.
Not only did Williams
take a beating and is hurting physically, but now,
because of terrible judging, he can’t even lose like
a man. Likewise, Lara can’t win like a man. The
judges wrongfully stripped both fighters of that
very pride. Shame on those three judges for tainting
an otherwise good fight. They have contributed to
making the sweet science bitterly sour.
I do not buy the notion
that these three judges were inexperienced or
lacking big fight experience. Between Bennett,
Whitaker and Givens, they have nearly 40 years of
experience and judged over 25 world title fights.
This is where I can’t figure out if they are corrupt
or just plain incompetent. You decide.
HBO’s Harold Lederman
scored the bout 117-111 for Lara.
The first judge, Al
Bennett, who has been judging since 1991, scored the
Lara-Williams fight a draw-114-114. After viewing
the official scorecard, the one round that sticks
out to me is the 11th, which was clearly
dominated by Lara but was awarded to Williams. One
can argue about close rounds, but for the 11th
round to be scored for Williams was downright absurd
and cost Lara a 115-113 victory on Bennett’s
Bennett’s most notable
robberies began in 2003 in the United Kingdom when
he scored a fight 115-113 for Clinton Woods over
Glen Johnson, creating a split-decision draw. One
judge scored the bout 116-112 for Johnson and the
other was a 114-114. Another controversial decision,
this time in Atlantic City, came when he judged the
2008 Paulie Malignaggi vs. Herman Ngoudjo fight, a
unanamus decision for Malignaggi. Bennett had the
widest margin of the three judges -- 117-111 for
Malignaggi. His colleagues scored it 116-113 and
115-113, Showtime analyst Al Bernstein scored the
bout a draw, and Guy Jutras of Radio-Canada saw
117-111 for Ngoudjo. Neither of those fights can
compare to the robbery that took place on Saturday,
but it is a start.
Next in line is Hilton
Whitaker III who scored the fight 114-115 and also
scored the the 11th round for Williams.
Whitaker’s most recent
controversial decision was in 2010 in Atlantic City
when he had Zab Judah beating Lucas Matthysse
114-113. In 2008, he scored the Shamone Alvarez vs.
Terrance Cauthen fight a draw 94-94 when the other
two judges had it an identical 98-90 for Alvarez.
He also judged another Cauthen fight in 2004,
awarding it to Cauthen 78-74, while the other judges
scored it 76-74 and 77-74 in favor of Cauthen’s
Lastly, Donald Givens,
the most inexperienced of the three judges, carded
116-114 for Williams. His inexperience and
decision-making is evident in that he couldn’t pick
a winner for every round, scoring two even. Givens
has only been judging since November 2009 and
therefore hasn’t had time to amass a resume of
controversial decisions. But give him time. One
fight that sticks out was a 2010 bout between
Antwone Smith and Lanardo Tyner. Though the fight
ended in a ninth round TKO win for Tyner, Givens
scored the fight 77-76 for Smith while the other two
judges saw the fight 78-74 in favor of Tyner. I'll
give Givens the benefit of the doubt at this point
and assume incompetence and inexperience, rather
than corruption, at this point.
become all too evident that boxing is in dire need
of some sort of oversight. Incompetent judges and
corrupt decisions can and will continue to push avid
fans away from the sport. Boxing used to be known as
the sweet science, but because of inept decisions
that have become all too common it is leaving a sour
taste in many people’s eyes. None more sour than
what Lara is feeling right now, I am sure.
“There's a period of life when we swallow a
knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or
-- Pearl Bailey