Bad judging

By David A. Avila

Once again boxing judges failed to declare the proper winner and once again Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera was the victim of poor judging this past Saturday in Las Vegas.

“I don’t know what it is but the judges don’t give Mauricio Herrera the credit he deserves, said Max Kellerman, a radio sports analyst for ESPN and for television analyst for HBO. “He should already be walking around the with the (world title) belt.”

All three official boxing judges scored Herrera’s fight in favor of Jose Benavidez though most of the media covering the fight saw Herrera a lop-sided winner. It’s a disparity that needs to be fixed not only in boxing but in MMA as well.

“Nothing new,” said Herrera, who lost earlier in the year by a much disputed decision to champion Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico for the world title. “It happens all the time.”

Sadly it’s true. At times there are close fights that a decision could have gone either way, in two Herrera fights he was the busier and more accurate boxer, but was not given credit for connecting to the body.

“I guess they don’t count body shots because I was landing all night,” said Herrera. “That was my plan from the beginning to go for the body.”

Through most of the 12 rounds Benavidez leaned against the ropes and allowed Herrera to punch to the body and head. Usually and especially in boxing, this is akin to boxing suicide.

But when then score cards were tabulated judges Dave Moretti saw it 117-111, Eric Cheek 116-112 and Max DeLuca saw it 116-112 all for Benavidez.

The crowd and the media were stunned by the scoring.

Harold Lederman, a former judge who scores for HBO’s audience, said it best about the unpopular judgment rendered in Herrera’s fight with Benavidez.

“Herrera’s style is a style that the judges do not go for,” said Lederman who scored it in favor of Herrera. “It’s a style that you can get robbed. He got robbed against (Danny) Garcia and he got robbed tonight.”

The fight had significance because Herrera’s promoter Golden Boy Promotions and Benavidez’s Top Rank are breaking the ice after a lengthy cold war that saw both companies refusing to pit their heralded fighters against each other. After five years they finally made peace but now the judges are making things difficult.

Most of Top Rank’s own team felt Herrera won the fight though none would go on record.

HBO’s Kellerman said that Herrera should be enjoying life as a champion at this moment instead of wondering what happened.

“He beat (Ruslan) Provodnikov, he beat Garcia and he beat Benavidez,” said Kellerman.

Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank, said he would not oppose a rematch between Herrera and Benavidez. Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya was not available for comment. He departed to the MGM Grand where another fight card was taking place simultaneously.

The various boxing commissions need to revamp their scoring methods and scoring systems before public outrage takes further root. Right now, the scoring system has major flaws.