During the aftermath of the fight, however, Mora had the stones to grant a post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray.
Here is how that went:
Gray: You raised the arm of Abner Mares, but the question is, would he have won without your help this evening?
Mora: I don’t help the fighters. I enforce the rules. First and foremost, I have to enforce the rules. Those punches were on the belt line. It was a fair punch. I have to call it fair. It would be unfair to give the other guy an advantage just because he says it’s low. I saw the punch. It was on the belt line. I’ve got to call that a fair punch.
Gray: Well, Russell, let’s give you a chance to look at it again, because I would dispute it, Al Bernstein would and I’m sure that our audience would. Tell us based on what you see now if you feel that this was blow the belt.
[Shows the replay of the knockdown]
Mora: It has a different view point now that I’m looking at it here in slow motion, but from when I saw it live, I saw that it was a fair punch. It was on the belt line and that was my call.
Gray: But now that you see it on the replay, do you feel that you’ve made a mistake?
Mora: I’d like to take my time and see that.
Gray: Well we can see it again…
Mora: I would like to get with my other referees and ask them that question and then we can sit down and talk about it. It was above the belt line, it was a fair punch. It parried off of his glove and that’s a fair punch.
Gray: With all due respect, you have a very difficult job, and I have a high respect for referees, and so does Al Bernstein. But this quite possibly, [Bernstein said,] is one of the worst officiated fights that he’s seen in years. How would you rate your performance?
Mora: I think that it’s a shame for anybody to say that.
Gray: But isn’t it also a shame for the fans to see nine, 10, 12 or 15 low blows and the guy is getting a warning, and you’re giving Agbeko warnings throughout the night, and you barely said anything to Mares?
Mora: If it was a low blow, then you would be 100 percent correct. But those are not low blows. They’re on the belt line.
Gray: Well you’re way off, Russell.
Mora: Okay, thank you very much.
During a subsequent interview with RingTV.com, Gray explained the rationale for his questioning.
“My responsibility is to Showtime, but I’m thinking about the fans. So that means that I’m watching the fight as a fan, and I’m thinking, ‘What’s going on here?’” said Gray.
“I wasn’t malicious or mean-spirited and didn’t accuse him of being incompetent. I simply asked him direct questions related to what was in front of him. You have to be accountable for your actions, and in this instance, I was just asking him to be accountable. Do I feel that I did the right thing? Absolutely.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org