AGBEKO DESERVED BETTER
I think it's safe to say that King Kong Agbeko won't be having any children in the future.
Agbeko deserves an immediate rematch. The ref was inept to the level of outrage, but I also think Abner Mares deserves serious criticism for repeatedly throwing low blows, knowing he wouldn't get penalized. That's a dirty fighter in my book. All of those fans cheering the decision, they should be ashamed.
Agbeko is an amazing warrior for being able to tolerate all of those low blows and keep fighting on, not only would most fighters wilt under the cod-shots, but they'd also be completely mentally discouraged by the situation. I think he should be commended for his heart. — Ronnie The Conqueror, St. Louis, MO
Agbeko definitely should be commented for his courage, resilience and his will to continue under Mares’ body/groin attack and Mora’s awful and unfair officiating. Most fighters, including title holders, would have stayed down in the 11th round. Not Agbeko. He’s got the heart of a champion as Team Mares acknowledged before and after the fight.
I think Mares is receiving (and will continue to receive) a lot of criticism for the low blows he delivered in Saturday’s bout as you will see as you read this week’s Monday and Friday mailbags.
However, he’s always going to have his ardent supporters, mostly Mexican and Mexican-American fans from the area of Southern California where he grew up.
Regarding the fans in The Joint who cheered the decision, I really don’t believe they should be ashamed of themselves. The decision wasn’t a bad one. I had Mares winning it seven rounds to five (never mind the points tally because I don’t believe he scored legitimate knockdowns in rounds one and 11). It was a close fight. I have no problem with anyone who scored it even or 7-5 in rounds in favor of Agbeko. However, if you’re a Mares fan, as the folks who cheered when the decision was announced obviously were, you had no doubt that your fighter won. You can’t get mad at them for being fans. That’s what they’re supposed to do: cheer for their guy.
I don’t know if I would label Mares a “dirty fighter.” Prior to the Vic Darchinyan fight I never heard of any of his opponents complain of low blows. I’m not saying his punches never strayed below his opponents’ beltlines prior to stepping up to the world-class level. The young man commits to the body and when a fighter does that it’s inevitable that some of his body shots are going to be borderline and some are going to be low. It doesn’t mean he’s doing it on purpose all the time and that‘s how he wins his fights.
However, if you believe that Mares knew the referee was not going to severely penalize him at any point and he blatantly targeted Agbeko’s cup protector to gain an unfair advantage then maybe he is a dirty fighter, just like Bernard Hopkins, Felix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto, and a dozen other future hall of famers. In fact, by your definition, there are A LOT of “dirty fighters” enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?
What's up Dougie?
First of all, Mares-Agbeko was a hell of a fight. I don't have a problem with Jim Gray going all Jim Gray on the ref after the fight. I'm a Mares fan, and I loved it when he told Gray, “Don't ruin my moment, man.” However, there was a lot of hype about Mares being Golden Boy Promotions' (your boss) first "draftee" out of the amateurs to become a world champ. The ref really sucked, and now it looks like he may have been a sacrificial lamb. He was sweating bullets during the post fight interview. What's really going on in boxing Dougie? — Miguel, LBC
What do you mean by what’s “really going on?”
Russell Mora was sweating bullets during the post-fight interview with Gray because he knew the broadcaster wouldn’t bother having him explain a questionable call while watching a slo-mo replay unless he blew it.
If Mora was a “sacrificial lamb,” for whom?
If you’re suggesting that Mora was protecting Mares because he’s a Golden Boy Promotions fighter I think you’re being paranoid and perhaps biased.
If Golden Boy was the evil, all-powerful promotional company that hardcore nutcakes and slimy insiders make them out to be they would have used their “limitless influence” to make sure Mares won his first shot at the IBF belt, against Yonnhy Perez last May. That fight ended in a majority draw that most of press row scored for Mares. Nobody hinted that the two judges who scored the bout a draw did so to stay in the good graces of Ken Thompson or Gary Shaw, co-promoters of Perez. (Nor should they have, by the way, I thought Mares won it but it was a legitimately close fight.)
I’ve asked this question before, but I’ll go ahead and fire it again at you: Why is Golden Boy Promotions always called out by fans when a Golden Boy-promoted fighter gets the benefit of poor officiating, but never the other way around?
Why wasn’t Don King’s name brought into the outrage when Lucas Matthysse (a GBP fighter) lost a controversial decision to Devon Alexander (a DKP fighter)? I must have received 100 emails from fans who were pissed off about that split decision, but I swear that only three or four even mentioned King.
Why wasn’t Kathy Duva brought up when Matthysse lost a controversial split nod to her fighter Zab Judah last November? Why wasn’t Dan Goossen brought into question after Erislandy Lara (a GBP fighter) lost that horrible decision to his fighter, Paul Williams?
MARES’ TAINTED VICTORY
It's been a long time. I read your write up for the Mares fight and wanted to elaborate on something you wrote:
Abner Mares’ majority decision over Joseph Agbeko should have been a proud moment for the young bantamweight standout to share with hardcore fight fans around the world.
I feel this statement is a bit unfair to Agbeko. With a neutral referee, we cannot be certain Mares would've been the victor. After all, Mora's horrendous botch job in the 11th resulted in at least a 3-point swing in Mares' favor. We also have to conclude that Agbeko must've certainly been debilitated by the dozens of low blows he received throughout the fight. He really seemed to be coming on late in the fight and that incident in the 11th couldn't have come at a worse time.
I know herds of boxing fans who cry foul every time a referee is partial to a certain style of fighting, but I really believe that Mora's horrendous job last night cost Agbeko the fight.
That being said, I agree whole heartedly with you that both fighters fought their hearts out and Mares definitely deserves credit for his great effort and for giving the fans an exciting fight. — Will Alston
You make a good point, Will. Who knows if better officiating would have enabled Agbeko to overtake Mares late in the bout and score a legit decision over the young challenger?
A different (hopefully better) referee may have ruled the first-round knockdown to be a slip, which would have spared Agbeko a point in a losing round. A different referee may have given Mares a stern warning about the borderline and low blows by the middle rounds and the young man may have backed off his body attack a bit, giving Agbeko more energy in the later rounds (which I thought he dominated even with the blow blows). A different ref certainly would have ruled the 11th-round knockdown caused by a low blow to be a foul and given Agbeko up to five minutes of recovery time, which would have served him well in the championship rounds. He probably would have docked Mares a point, too. (In fact, he may have penalized Mares a point earlier in the bout if the challenger didn’t heed his stern warning.)
So it’s definitely conceivable that a different ref could have made for a different outcome. However, we are playing a game of “What If?” And when you do that it’s just as easy to come up with counter scenarios, especially when one of the fighters involved has proven his ability to make mid-fight adjustments and to fight through adversity as Mares has.
Who’s to say that Mares wouldn’t have boxed more on his toes or targeted Agbeko’s head more (he certainly found the Ghanaian often with his right cross) if he wasn’t allowed to target the veteran’s body for fear of being DQ’d? Who’s to say that if Agbeko had more energy down the stretch that Mares wouldn’t agree to stand and trade toe-to-toe through the championship rounds? And who’s to say that he would not have won such a fight?
I don’t know, Will. I’m not Uatu The Watcher (Marvel comics reference, folks) and neither are you. We’re not an immortal cosmic entity with the ability to peer into alternative realities, so we just don’t know. All we know is what happened in this reality, and Mares beat Agbeko on Saturday. He realized his lifelong dream and it should not have been tainted by God-awful officiating.
MORA STRIKES AGAIN?
I feel bad for both guys. Agbeko had a decent win taken from him because of the knockdowns (by my card anyway), plus a potential payday against Nonito Donaire, although that might be a blessing in disguise since the Filipino Flash is rampaging through the division at the moment. I feel sorry for Mares as well — albeit to a lesser extent since it was his shots that were low — because it wasn't his fault that Mora wasn't up to the job but he really should have been keeping those punches higher. Hopefully, there is a return fight so either Agbeko can get his revenge or Mares can erase the cloud that hangs over him from last night's fight.
Come to think of it wasn't it Mora who was also in charge of Michael Katsidis vs Robert Guererro when he kept calling Katsidis' perfectly legit body shots low? I remember Katsidis was really beginning to get to him with the body shots before he lost a point for BS low blows… Russell Mora is in some serious need of training when it comes to calling body shots??
On a more positive note and since I mentioned Guerrero, how do you see his fight with Maidana panning out? I really like Guererro's boxing ability. He's a very good technical boxer but against Katsidis he seemed to get hurt a little (until **shock horror** Mora ruined it by deducting points from Katsidis for legit body shots). Katsidis is a good puncher but not the biggest hitter at 135 but Maidana is probably the biggest puncher at 140 and Guererro is just moving up into the division. If Guererro turn it into a boxing match he'll win it but I can really see Maidana stopping him and pulling off the upset. Either way, it should be a good matador vs bull sort of fight and I'm looking forward to it.
Moving on, I keep reading about Adrien Broner fighting my compatriot Ricky Burns in November. If that one happens how do you see it going? From what I've seen of Broner (admittedly not a huge amount) he's a big puncher but can get a little sloppy at times. Also, presuming he comes through the Broner fight (which is a big ask) how do you think Burns fairs in a unification fight with Monzke Fana? The fight keeps getting talked about but never made.
Lastly, I'm also really looking forward to seeing Morales vs Matthyse on the Mayweather-Ortiz undercard, it's the main reason for me to watch that card to be honest since I'm not giving Ortiz as much of a chance as most people seem to be. — Kenny, Scotland
Morales-Matthysse will definitely steal the show if the young guns — Jessie Vargas and Josesito Lopez — don’t. I give Ortiz a very slight chance of an upset. At 24 with only one 12-round bout under his belt, he’s just too green at the moment. If he were 25 or 26 with three or four 12 rounders to his credit, I’d give him more of a chance. If he were 27 or 28 with six or seven 12-round bouts on his ledger maybe I’d view this as an even fight, or slightly favor him, but that’s not the case.
Broner is an immensely talented young boxer but I do not believe he is ready for Burns. He still needs some world-class seasoning. (I have no idea why Boxrec.com rates Broner as their No. 1-rated 130-pound fighter.) I like Burns by decision. Burns-Fana is an even fight. The veteran who gets the fight in his home country will probably have the slight advantage in that one.
I favor Guerrero over Maidana by close but unanimous decision. Read my Gym Notes column on The Ghost this week. You’ll see that Guerrero has a lot of respect for Maidana and knows exactly what he’s going to experience on Aug. 27. I think his experience with Katsidis will help him deal with Maidana’s relentless attack and scary resilience.
You are absolutely correct that Mora was the third man in the ring the night Guerrero beat Katsidis and you are right that he made more than a few bad calls during that fight. I did the international broadcast with Dave Bontempo for that card (headlined by Maidana-Morales) and I ripped Mora for absolutely killing Katsidis’ momentum in the eighth round. I also criticized him for the point the took from Guerrero (for low blows) in the ninth.
Mora is one inconsistent dude when it comes to body shots. However, I don’t think his poor officiating effected the eventual outcome of Guerrero-Katsidis (although I agree that the Aussie badass was hurting The Ghost in the eighth round). That was Guerrero’s night. In fact, I think Katsidis’ corner could have stopped the bout any time after the ninth round to spare their man undue punishment.
Regarding Agbeko-Mares, I think a rematch will happen. I don’t know if it will take place before the year is out but I can’t think of a better (winnable) and more lucrative fight for either fighter at 118 pounds. We can all toss Donaire’s name into the equation if we want but, A) he’s got an HBO date in the fall that doesn’t include either man, and B) he’s WAY too dangerous for Mares or Agbeko to fight in their very next bout.
That’s absolutely true, Stephen. Just ask Matthysse, and I’m sure Agbeko would agree. You make a good point, but I have to ask you if Marlon B. Wright was ripped as hard by the public and sports media in Quebec as Mora was (and will continue to be) here in the States by American fans? I don’t recall any referee being slammed as hard — by the broadcasters, fans and media — for a bad night as Mora is right now.
Pathetic. What else can be said? Not only did that absurd knockdown call produce a 3-point swing, as Agbeko was winning the 11th, but AT LEAST a point should've been deducted from Mares during that fight. Also, all those low blows had to have had a negative impact on Agbeko. An immediate rematch should be ordered. The NSAC should call Mora in, have him review a tape of the fight, and explain what the hell was going on in his mind. Take care. — Patrick
I don’t agree that Agbeko was decisively winning the 11th round before the low blow. If memory (and my notes) serve me, Agbeko nailed Mares with jabs and right hands that seemed to stun the challenger but then the younger man got in his grill and backed him up while outworking him in close. I jotted down “Hell of a round” and “non-stop action” before the infamous low blow and awful ruling from Mora.
I agree (of course) that a point should have been deducted from Mares in the 11th round. I agree that the low blows had to have had a debilitating effect on Agbeko, especially by the late rounds of the bout.
I also agree that an immediate rematch is in order. And Mora should definitely have to explain his actions and lack of sound judgment to a review panel with Nevada’s athletic commission. He should be suspended as the judges of the Williams-Lara bout were.
THE WEEKEND’S FIGHTS
Hi Doug, how are you doing? My thoughts on the fights took place this weekend:
1. Cintron-Smith — Cintron won but it was not much. Just like Bernard Hopkins was saying from the ringside, he seems to have tendency to not to be able to follow the game plan. I don't know if he was tired but he could not keep the distance and let Smith came inside way too many times. I feel like he'll be picked and used for Cinnamon's future name opponent.
2. Mares-Aggreko — Russell Mora messed up. I thought missing legal body shots and miscalling low blow as a legit shot was Vic Drakulich's signature call but I guess Mora just joined his club. I definitely feel sorry for Agbeko who seemed to be changing the tide after 5, 6 rounds and was coming out strong in late rounds. I had no idea why Abner stopped getting off first and instead, started waiting on Agbeko and getting hit with so many jabs and overhand rights. I know GBP will not make it but if he ever face Filipino Flash, he'll get KTFO in few rounds. Keep up the good work! — Naoki, Reno NV
Thanks for emailing, Naoki. I’ll comment in order:
1. I think Cintron chose to let Smith inside because the prospect is not a KO puncher. Neither is Kermit come to think of it. He outworked the kid but there doesn’t appear to be any “zip” on his shots any more. I don’t care to see him face Saul Alvarez, who I believe would dominate the enigmatic veteran. The only high-profile fight with Cintron that I would be mildly interested in is a rematch with Angulo, especially if it takes place in Mexico. If Cintron dove out of the ring south of the border the doctors and commissioners down there would toss his ass right back in.
2. I agree that Donaire would KO Mares. Same with Agbeko. But I think both guys would give the “Filipino Flash” a tougher (and more extended) fight than Montiel did. I also agree that Agbeko was turning the tide of the fight beginning with the middle rounds. Rounds five and six were toss-up rounds that I scored for Mares, but I scored rounds seven through 10 for Agbeko. The 11th was a pivotal round, and well, we know what happened.
NO MORA MORA
Doug, please tell me that Russell Mora will not be doing any title fights again, or any other fights anytime soon?! That was simply disgusting!! Was this guy paid or what? I'd like to think not.
Boxing is in a good place right now and these incompetent referees are just ruining the sport. First the Lara-Williams fight, then this s__t. At best, Mares is not a champion and that was a draw… I'm sure you see it the same way. I like to see Mora out of the sport, until he gets his head examined (the guy wouldn't even admit it during that interview/replay). Props to Jim Gray.
Looking forward to the Ring Radio Show. Peace. — Allan
Be sure to call in to Tuesday’s Ring Radio broadcast (877-967-9244) if you can or email a question or comment (to me at firstname.lastname@example.org) to be read on the show. Just include where you’re from and put “Ring Radio” in the subject line. I’m fairly certain (but not 100 percent sure) this week’s show will be live. If it is, it will start at 10 a.m. PT
“Props to Jim Gray.” Did you ever think you’d see the day when fight fans all over the world were saying that!?
Nobody is a real champion in the 118-pound division. These guys — Donaire, Anselmo, Mares and Agbeko — have to fight each other. I favor Donaire to be the last man standing, but you never know. There’s a reason they fight the fights.
If you don’t want to recognize Mares as a beltholder that’s fine. I do recognize him. I thought he won the fight and I believe that he would have without the biased actions of Mora.
I wish I could tell you that Mora was going back to reffing four- and six-round preliminary bouts off TV until he proved that he’s got the eye and the judgment to be a world-class official who can competently referee high-profile 10- and 12-round bouts, but I can’t do that.
That’s what I would do, but it’s not my call. Perhaps there’s enough of a public outcry for the NSAC to take real action on this matter. We’ll see.