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Veteran referee Jack Reiss
excelled as the third man
in Chavez Jr. vs. Zbik bout

Just want to give a thumbs up to referee Jack Reiss this weekend.  Jack Reiss officiated the much anticipated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. match this weekend in California and his management of a grueling match was exceptional.  Although Reiss's name was rarely mentioned, his understanding of the action that quite often tested his patience was extremely professional.  Both boxers were guilty at times of bending the rules, and Jack Reiss to his credit warned both guys repeatedly, but did not penalize either boxer (although he would have been justified had he done so). 
Chavez Jr. was guilty of at least a dozen low blows and Sebastian Zbik, himself, was guilty of holding Chavezs' head down too often to mention.  Zbik openly complained to Reiss after round 3, but Reiss in his straight forward, verbally commanding style informed both Zbik and his corner that Chavez low blows were the direct result of Zbik holding Chavez head down.  The precise manner in which Reiss spoke to the fighter and his corner quickly eliminated any rebuttal that could have ensued, and quite frankly justified his actions throughout the remainder of the bout.  Although both fighters continued to bend the rules, the law had been laid down after round three.  Reiss monitored the borderline low blows by Chavez and the holding by Zbik, but he allowed both guys to continue to battle without disrupting the rhythm of the match, with excessive warnings or point deductions.
Chavez would go on to win a majority decision, but a couple of point deductions could have effected the outcome of the bout.  Most referees do not like to take points away from boxers, as they would rather the boxers themselves determine the outcome.  In a close, competitive battle, where both boxers have been warned, it is up to the referee to determine if point deductions are warranted.  Reiss' discretion in not penalizing either boxer was quiet, but very professional.  A less experienced official may have reacted quite differently, which would have led to a different outcome..  What makes Reiss's actions exemplary, in my humble opinion, only come with experience and a keen ability to stay calm, as things get a little out of control.  Every match has its' own chemistry, and Reiss did not allow complaining by Zbik to alter his judgement.  Reiss correctly penned most of Zbik's complaints on Zbik himself, but even the low blows that Zbik was not responsible for were borderline. 
 Low blows can become a gray area for many officials and you have to determine in fractions of a second if the borderline blow justify a warning.  Many boxers will complain, which can sway the referee to warn the other boxer, which can put the referee in a precarious situation when it comes to future borderline infractions.  Experienced cornermen will "work" the referee, in an attempt at point deductions, or worse, disqualifications. 
Saturday night was a great example of discretion on an experienced referee's behalf.  Great job Jack in letting the fighters' determine the outcome. 


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 Harvey Dock was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame (Class of '94) for his accomplishments as an amateur boxer, and has been a professional referee for eight years. He currently trains a stable of  amateur boxers.

His column here at addresses The Sweet Science from the perspective of the third man in the ring.

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