Fans of boxing erupted over the scorecards of two similar fights this past weekend: one in Temecula and another in Las Vegas.
Max DeLuca, perhaps the best judge of boxing in the world, participated in both controversial fights. In a bout between winner Oscar Escandon of Colombia and Canada’s Tyson Cave he favored the loser with his crazy unorthodox slapping style over the winner who landed solid blows.
In the fight that saw Jose Benavidez win by leaning on the ropes most of the fight, he favored that style over Mauricio Herrera, who pummeled the body most of the 12 rounds. Despite Herrera carrying the fight, he was penalized for attacking the body.
Does it make DeLuca a bad judge? Not at all. But it does bring to light that judges need to have a more uniform and consistent form of scoring a fight. They’re too often all over the place.
When Herrera’s work to the body was largely ignored it highlighted the fact that working off the ropes or lying on the ropes is not necessarily penalized. Throughout the fight Top Rank members and Benavidez’s own team were shouting for him to get off the ropes. Usually, this spells doom. But not in televised fights.
One matchmaker at the fight said he saw Herrera as the winner. It was almost unanimously agreed that the Riverside junior welterweight was the winner. Not on Saturday. Herrera was robbed for the second time in a year. Last March Danny Garcia was judged the winner though the world felt he lost. But sometimes the harder worker is rewarded with a decision.
Other questionable decisions
Who can forget Paul Williams versus Erislandy Lara?
Williams out-worked Lara, who did the same thing on the ropes and when the judgment was rendered, people screamed bloody murder. It was the reverse of Benavidez-Herrera.
On the flip side, you have a fight like Lara versus Saul “Canelo” Alvarez where the Cuban coasted around the ring flipping jabs occasionally. Alvarez fired the harder shots but rarely landed. He made the fight so the judges rewarded him the win.
In my opinion a marquee fight that millions are watching on television should reward the boxer that is providing action. Shoulder rolls and occasional counters that couldn’t break an egg should not be rewarded. But a boxer who continually punches without getting hurt should be rewarded. Last Saturday Herrera was not rewarded for his abundance of work.
Don’t bring up Compubox figures. They’re only on one side of the ring and can’t see the punches landed. They provide fans with some kind of reference but they are not the word of God.
If a prizefighter has many more punches landed he should win the fight, clear and simple. Herrera did that. Benavidez did land an occasional long counter but the force of the punch was not set to stun. If it were, he would have marked up Herrera’s face. Usually Herrera leaves a fight with tremendous cuts, swelling and bruises. Not after the Benavidez fight.
Judges should really be certain that a guy lying on the ropes is not rewarded for lack of effort. Unless counters are very telling blows that stun, wobble or knock down the other fighter. This simple rule was not followed. Simple touch counters that lacked force but were clearly seen were given too much credit.
“My plan all along was to work the body,” Herrera said after the fight. “I guess they don’t count body shots.”
Another mistake was giving Benavidez too much credit for stealing rounds in the last 30 seconds. Yes, he did score some blows late in the rounds, but he absorbed two dozen punches or more during the entire round. And he wasn’t blocking the body shots.
If Benavidez does that against a heavy puncher like Lucas Matthysse or Danny Garcia, it will be lights out. The Arizona youngster has abundance of talent. What he learned last weekend may come back to bite him.
—- Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank