Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 26th
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chris_straitFor every Sven Ottke, Paulie Ayala, and Julio Cesar Chavez who seem to win a lot of close, controversial decisions, there are fighters on the other end who come up short consistently, and often do not get the decisions they deserve.  Today, we look at a few of those fighters from the last decade, so as to give them some credit, and let them know we have not forgotten that they are better than their records.
Kassim Ouma – We love to talk of his inspirational story, but people never seem to mention how this poor guy gets screwed left, right, and center by judges.  His record shows he has lost four out of his last five fights.  What that record doesn’t show, is that he could have (and usually should have) been declared the winner in three of them (Rosado, Bundrage, and Roman)!  Only the loss to Jermain Taylor was a clear defeat.  Other than that, he only has two losses.  There was only a stoppage loss earlier in his career, as well as the loss to Roman Karmazin.  This trend of unfairness has gotten worse recently with the aforementioned events, but a glance at his wins shows that is not a new phenomenon. 
Ouma easily controlled Angel Hernandez and Marco Antonio Rubio, only to win razor thin split decisions.  He completely outfought Verno Phillips in their second fight, only to win by one point on two of the judges’ cards.  His lack of knockout power means he will be in distance fights more often than not, yet why bother fighting at all, when your style is not appreciated.  Ouma is an even greater mystery, as to why he is in this category, as he is an aggressive fighter, and those guys usually have judges loving their every move.  Weird.
Clarence “Bones” Adams – It’s bad enough when three of your losses are due to your body not holding up (two losses from a dislocated shoulder, another from a broken jaw), but when you cannot ever get a close fight to go your way, it is a heinous kick while you are down.  Adams beat Paulie Ayala in their first fight, only to be screwed out of the decision.  He could have easily been given the decision in the Guty Espadas match as well, and did not.  His only loss due to being actually beaten, was to Paulie Ayala in their second macth (although Orlando Canizales looked to be on his way to winning a close one in Adams' first defeat).
Now, not being the heavily-promoted fighter, or the fighter with the Latin last name, hurts Adams in the lower divisions immensely.  When he won the WBA bantamweight title in 2000, the WBA did everything within their power to separate him from it…. switching his opponent four times (all Venezuelans, wink wink…until the last one, a Mexican) before a hometown title defense in Kentucky .  Furthermore, after dominating his opponent, he barely retained the title by a few points.  This is on the heels of his earlier career, in which he had two draws (against Edwin Santana and Kevin Kelley) in fights that could have easily gone his way.  In the days before Bob Arum hated white fighters, this would not have happened.  He was good, personable, and of championship-level caliber.  He deserved better.
Glen Johnson – He is the standard bearer for this category.  Joseph Kiwanuka, Sven Ottke (surprise), Silvio Branco, Julio Gonzalez, Omar Sheika, Daniel Judah, and Clinton Woods (twice), have all received gifts against this consumate “Road Warrior”.  Don’t get me wrong.  He has legitimate losses in his career, as well.  Not only have the better fighters he’s faced beaten him, like Hopkins, Dawson, and Tarver, but he has fallen short against lesser fighters than himself, like Merqui Sosa, Syd Vanderpool, and Derrick Harmon. 
His style of defensive pursuance is not the easiest to score, yet it is his willingness to fight in other fighters’ back yards that is to blame.  Luckily for Johnson, many of these fights were televised, and eventually, you begin to win over enough sympathy that a couple close ones will go your way.  That is what finally happened.  Eric Harding and Clinton Woods (in the second fight) did not receive the gift decisions we were almost expecting them to get.  In an ironic twist of fate, his “losses” made him look vulnerable enough to receive shots against Roy Jones and Antonio Tarver… and to further the irony, Johnson himself got a gift in the first Tarver fight to become the undisputed champion. Johnson is a rare fighter in this category, who has had a happy ending to his painful journey.
Chris Strait

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