Doug Fischer

10: Worst refereed boxing matches in last 10 years

NO. 8

FRANK SANTORE JR.

Sergio Martinez vs. Kermit Cintron, Sunrise, Fla., 2009

Santore robbed Martinez of a clear knockout in the sixth round of the 12-round junior middleweight match and helped the judges, who scored HBO-televised bout a majority draw — steal a deserved decision victory from the future middleweight champ.

Santore docked Martinez a point for a rabbit punch in the 12th round, which led to two 113-113 scorecards that otherwise would have had the Argentine veteran winning by one point. There was no reason to penalize Martinez. The back of Cintron’s head was grazed as he was ducking down and pushing it into Martinez’s chest. HBO’s Max Kellerman called it “an absurd deduction.”

However, it was Santore’s actions (or inaction) in the sixth round that earned him a spot on this list. Martinez dropped Cintron to a knee with a short left cross near the end of the seventh round. Santore counted to “nine” with Cintron on his knee before apparently waving the bout off at the sound of the bell. Cintron claimed it was a head butt that put him down but Santore shook his head and told the whining fighter he didn’t see what put him down.

Martinez celebrated what he thought was a knockout victory as cornermen and officials filled the ring. But just when it looked like the fight was over, everybody left the ring and Santore motioned for the fighters to resume the fight with the start of the eighth round. Santore later said that Cintron had beat his count, but it sure looked as though the fighter convinced the referee to change his call.

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