THE RING Advisory Panel and editorial board was in a challenging position after the controversial fight between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Agbeko and Mares went into the fight No. 3 and No. 4 respectively in THE RING’s bantamweight ratings, behind No. 1 Nonito Donaire and No. 2 Anselmo Moreno.
Mares won the fight and the IBF title by a majority decision but not without a boost from referee Russell Mora, who failed to penalize Mares in any way in spite of numerous low blows.
At the same time, the low blows aside, both boxers gave good performances in what would’ve been a compelling fight if not for Mora.
So how should all of that be reflected in this week’s RING bantamweight ratings?
The Advisory Panel and editorial board decided to base their decision on the most-concrete element of this mess: the official result.
Thus, Mares and Agbeko change places in the bantamweight ratings, Mares moving up to No. 3 and Agbeko dropping to No. 4, but Mares remained below Moreno.
“Exactly how to handle the Abner Mares-Joseph Agbeko situation was one of the most difficult ratings decisions we’ve made recently,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING. “Both the Advisory Panel and the editorial board were unanimous in their condemnation of referee Russell Mora’s handling of the fight, especially the so-called knockdown in the 11th round. But that was the only thing with which everybody agreed.
“Advice from the Panel ranged all the way from maintaining the status quo to advancing Mares to the No. 2 position. In the end, after much debate, we decided to recognize the official decision by boosting Mares to No. 3 and dropping Agbeko to No. 4. Moving Mares ahead of second-ranked Anselmo Moreno would have been going too far, considering how close the fight actually was and how detrimental Mora’s work was to a clear-cut outcome.
“Bottom line: There was no perfect solution to the circumstances surrounding the final match of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament. The only fair thing would be an immediate rematch.”
RING RATINGS UPDATE
Lightweights: Michael Katsidis (No. 4 last week) departs to campaign at junior welterweight. However, Katsidis’ KO of journeyman Michael Lozada (in Katsidis’ first start at 140 pounds) was not significant enough to earn him a rating in his new division. Katsidis’ exit allows all 135-pounders rated No. 5 or below last week to advance one position each and makes room for John Molina to return at No. 10.
Bantamweights: Despite the controversy surrounding referee Russell Mora’s handling of the fight, Abner Mares (No. 4 last week) and Joseph Agbeko (No. 3 last week) switch places.