Sven Ottke vs. Robin Reid, Nuremburg, Germany, 2003
Tilleman took referee bias to another level by literally “protecting” Ottke from Reid during a surreal 12-round super middleweight title bout that the undefeated German beltholder won by controversial unanimous decision.
Tilleman actually broke the action more than once to warn Reid against landing legal punches to Ottke’s face. (You can’t make this stuff up, folks.)
Tilleman repeatedly admonished the former beltholder from Britain for head butts even though it was Ottke who continually lunged in with his head. Ottke’s strategy in the fight consisted of flicking out a light jab, grabbing Reid in a headlock and waiting for Tilleman to break them up.
The referee was content to allow Ottke to basically run out the clock without fighting and he never warned the popular German for his constant clinching and rabbit punching.
After failing to count what appeared to be a knockdown scored by Reid early in the sixth, British commentator (and former pro boxer) Duck McKenzie stated: “This is the worst bit of refereeing I’ve seen in all my years in boxing, which is 17 years complete.”
And then, as if on cue, Tilleman penalized Reid a point for a head butt that was initiated by Ottke, who literally dived into the Brit.
Ottke, who retired undefeated one fight after the bout with Reid, won by scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 117-112, a decision that irks British fans to this day.