Lee Groves

10: Best Tetralogies

10. Lupe Madera vs. Katsuo Tokashiki – April 4, 1982 to Oct. 23, 1983

All four of the Madera-Tokashiki fights were for the WBA junior flyweight title and of all the series listed here, Tokashiki-Madera most closely reflected the scoring dilemmas posed by the Pacquiao-Marquez bouts. Almost every one of the 49 rounds they fought over 18 months were difficult to score because neither Tokashiki’s fast-twitch boxing skills nor Madera’s intelligent aggressiveness produced sustained dominance. Therefore, judges were forced to use mental tweezers to separate them and the final results were polarizing – to say the least.

Tokashiki’s split decision victory in fight one drew howls of protest as many felt Madera’s body punching trumped Tokashiki’s counters. TV commentators – and former champions – Yoko Gushiken and Yoshio Shirai gave Madera a five-point edge but THE RING’s Joe Koizumi scored it 146-145 for Madera. Meanwhile, veteran California referee Chuck Hassett and Illinois executive secretary Nick Kerasiotis agreed with the official verdict.

The anger surrounding the decision prompted a second fight one year later, which, in turn, created even more controversy. The April 1983 rematch in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall was deemed a split draw as the two traded the momentum throughout. Tokashiki started slowly but cut Madera badly in round two and for the remainder of the fight crimson dotted the Mexican’s face. Tokashiki surged in rounds nine through 11 but the badly bloodied Madera rallied strongly in rounds 12 through 14. Knowing his title reign was teetering, Tokashiki produced a final surge in the 15th to draw even and keep his belt.

With nothing resolved, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza ordered a third match exactly three months later at Korakuen Hall. Madera appeared well in control when early in round four a clash of heads opened a massive cut on top of the Mexican’s head. Madera stopped fighting immediately and asked referee Carlos Berrocal to summon the ring physician. The fight was stopped and the Japan Boxing Commission initially declared the fight a draw. But further consultation revealed that WBA rules required going to the scorecards after three rounds and because Madera led 30-27 on all three cards he was declared the new champion – the first ever to be crowned by a “technical decision.” The crowd was infuriated by what they felt was a “second” decision, one that caused their favorite to lose his title.

The furor was such that a fourth fight – the third in six months – was mandated, this time in Sapporo. The series mercifully ended with Madera winning by two points on all three cards (147-145, 145-143, 144-142) and earning a 2-1-1 mark against Tokashiki. The series must have wrung everything out of both men, for Tokashiki fought only twice more (going 1-1) while Madera lost his title in his next – and final – fight to the 9-10-1 Francisco Quiroz by ninth round knockout.

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