Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares, Las Vegas, 2011
Mora forever tainted Mares’ IBF bantamweight title-winning effort by allowing him to land countless borderline and blatant low blows throughout the fight without penalizing the favored challenger and by calling two bogus knockdowns against Agbeko.
Mora’s first bad call, in the opening round, was forgivable. Agbeko threw himself off balance with a missed punch and fell halfway through the ropes just as Mares grazed the top of his head with a punch. However, the second knockdown he credited Mares with enraged every impartial viewer of the Showtime-televised bout.
That’s because the punch that put the defending titleholder down was clearly from a low blow. But instead of taking a long-overdue point from Mares, and giving Agbeko a much-deserved 5-minute break to recover from the punch to the groin, Mora penalized the fighter who had been fouled.
The call was bad enough on its own but after 10 rounds of warning Mares for low blows without taking a single point Mora created the stench of bias and gross ineptitude.
Showtime’s commentary crew of Bernstein, Antonio Tarver and Gus Johnson were surprised by Mora’s failure to penalize Mares during the first half of the bout. They were as mad as any hardcore fan by the late rounds.
“I gotta be honest,” Bernstein said after Mares landed low blow that caused a pause in the action but no point deduction in the 10th round. “This is an outrage. I haven’t criticized a referee this much in 30 years.”