By: Ronald Cameron
I’m sure by now boxing fans have watched or heard about the Bantam-weight title fight between the IBF champ Joseph Agbeko vs. challenger Abner Mares. Most of the fellow boxing writers at BoxingIQ.com have touched on the horrific job of refereeing that Russell Mora displayed on last Saturday night and he should be ripped for his performance. Other than Richard Steele and Tony Perez, I don’t remember a referee getting this much negative publicity for doing a lousy job. In my opinion, Russell Mora should be banned from boxing for at least 3 years. I would not have a huge problem if he was banned for life. With that said, he was not the only one who deserved to be ripped for his performance last Saturday night.
Agbeko’s corner men failed to protect their fighter by waiting until the 11th round to complain about the low blows.
It’s clear that Mora refereed as if he was blind, but what bothered me almost as much as Mora’s reaction to the fouls was Agbeko’s reaction. If you’re Agbeko and you’re getting hit in the jewels all night long and no one is being penalized for it, why not retaliate and hit him back low?
Let me go back in time for a second: Remember the Evander Holyfield vs. Michael Dokes fight? Dokes was hitting Holyfield low all night long and Holyfield finally had enough. Holyfield responded with hellacious shot below the belt-line and after that, Dokes stopped fighting dirty. I’m in favor of retaliation if a fighter continues to foul. And if Mora would have penalized Agbeko for retaliating, then it would have further proved that Mora was even more corrupt than some may have thought he was.
And what I also could not understand, Agbeko’s corner waited about 6 rounds too late to react and complain to the referee about all of the low blows. One question to boxing fans: Do you believe Hall of Fame trainers Emmanuel Steward, Lou Duva or Angelo Dundee would have waited until the 11th round to complain to the referee about the low blows? Some of the blame falls on Agbeko’s corner men, who are paid a great deal of money to stand up and take care of their fighter and Agbeko’s trainers failed to do so by not complaining.
And one last thing: As bad as things were last Saturday after the fight, imagine what would have happened if Agbeko’s promoter Don King was in attendance at the fight? I’m convinced King would have sent someone over to Agkebo’s corner to tell them to complain to the referee about the lousy non-calls, or King himself would have went to the referee between rounds and gave him an ear-full. If that would have happened and if Mora continued to react as if he was busy reading a newspaper, then I’m sure the $hit would have hit the fan once the fight ended.
Mares won the fight, but the real winners are Golden Boy Promotions and Don King because there will be a rematch which means more $$ for everyone involved.
It’s really too bad this fight ended with so much controversy because it takes away from Mares performance, Agkebo’s comeback in the later rounds and the overall fight which was a pretty good scuffle. One thing is clear, the controversy surrounding this fight garnered a lot of publicity and it was for the wrong reasons. Russell Mora will take the hit for this as he should, but again he’s not the only one who should be criticized for what took place. I just read that the IBF has ordered an immediate rematch between Mares and Agbeko and it has to take place before December 14th.
This is good news because there is unfinished business between the two fighters. Controversy sells and this rematch will be a much bigger fight than their previous battle because of it.
In what was supposed to be the end of the Bantamweight tournament which could have matched the winner with the “Filipino Flash”, Nonito Donaire, but because of all of the controversy, the winner of the rematch will be even more popular than before after the dust clears. So if the objective of a promoter is to help make your fighters more popular and more money in the process, then I guess both promoters accomplished what they wanted to. Controversy sells. To quote the great Nino Brown from the movie New Jack City, “Money talks and BS runs a marathon!” Everyone involved will get another payday due to this rematch and the fighters and promoters will look past the BS that took place last Saturday night.