Promoter Don King, who turns 80 on Saturday, has been granted an early birthday present.
One day after King filed an official protest, the IBF ordered an immediate rematch of last Saturday night’s controversial fight between Abner Mares over Joseph Agbeko, the victim of repeated low blows that went unpenalized by referee Russell Mora.
IBF Championships Chairman Lindsay Tucker said that notification of the decision has been e-mailed to King and Mares’ promoter, Golden Boy Promotions,
“Don King filed a formal complaint, and we received that protest yesterday,” said Tucker. “We just did what we thought was the right thing to do.”
Neither King nor Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer could immediately be reached for comment.
Tucker said that the decision was made by IBF President Darryl Peoples, who “determined that inappropriate conduct by the referee affected the outcome of the fight.”
“Mr. Tucker and I observed several low blow fouls committed by Abner Mares. While the referee, Russell Mora, issued numerous warnings for low blows during the course of the bout, he neglected to deduct points for these fouls,” wrote Peoples in his letter to the promoters.
“With 1:03 left in round eleven, Joseph Agbeko was hit with a low blow foul that forced him to the canvas. Mr. Mora determined that the blow landed by Mares was legal and began to count indicating that a knockdown had occurred. Based upon our review of the bout, it has been determined by the IBF that inappropriate conduct by the referee affected the outcome of the fight.”
The order states that Mares-Agbeko II “must be held within the next 120 days or by December 14, 2011,” adding that “Neither boxer can take another fight until the rematch is completed.”
“Negotiations should begin immediately and be concluded by September 15, 2011,” wrote Peoples. “In the event that you have not negotiated this bout by September 15, 2011, the IBF will call for a purse bid to be held to determine who will promote the fight.”
King, who was not at the fight because of back problems, made it known on Saturday night that he would appeal to the IBF for an immediate return bout because Mora allowed Mares to land an excessive number of low blows.
Replays appear to show that an extremely hard punch by Mares landed squarely on Agbeko’s crotch area in the 11th round, which sent the then-titleholder to his hands and knees.
Mora ruled that the punch was a legal blow and awarded Mares a knock down, which gave him a 10-8 round. Had Mares been docked a point instead, the fight would’ve ended in a draw and Agbeko would’ve kept his belt.
“There were several low blows, and there was the one where the referee called it a knockdown,” said Tucker. “That was the gist of King’s complaint.”
Judges Adalaide Byrd and Oren Shellenberger scored the fight for Mares 115-111, with C.J. Ross having it even at 113-113.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com