Convicted Artist Magazine

Apr 25th
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chris_straitWhen officials make errors, or engage in corruption, the fighter on the short end is often the one for whom we cry, and attempt to gain justice.  However, in the long run, especially after rematches are completed, the fighter who had at first benefitted from the errors has often also been shorted.  Here are a few examples:
Joan Guzman vs. Ali Funeka.   While we would still be complaining that he came in overweight on purpose to gain an advantage, he would have had revenge.  A rematch would have still been likely, as it was an entertaining fight between two TV-known fighters in a not-so-talent-rich division.  Funeka clearly beat Guzman in their first fight, and then Guzman avenged the loss.  That is what really happened, even if the first fight was scored a horrible draw.  The proper result would have made Guzman's recent decision win a much more glorious end.  Instead, he is viewed as maintaining a false unbeaten record through promoter corruption, and then finding a new way to steal the fight in the rematch (the aforementioned weight issue).  Now, we just have two reasons to hate Guzman, instead of congratulating him for doing better in the rematch.
Azumah Nelson vs. Jeff Fenech - Nelson's KO win over Fenech in their rematch was very impressive.  His malaria excuse seems to also have been accpeted (whether fairly or unfairly) for his poor showing during their first match.  However that match was scored a draw, and not the appropriate decision win for Fenech. The Australian had held titles at 118, 122, and 126lbs, beforre retiring due to hand problems.  The culmination of his comeback should have been the win over Nelson.  This would have had him joining a class that at the time only included Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns (four-division champions).  The way Fenech was screwed here is obvious, however, Nelson was also not given his just due as having avenged a loss, and regained a title.  Due to death (Salvador Sanchez), and weight (Pernell Whittaker), Nelson was unable to avenge any other losses.  He eventually would win one of four with Jesse James Leija, but the KO win over Fenech would perhaps have been his finest hour, had the first match been scored correctly.
Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor.  Ok, this was a referee's bad decision, instead of officials, but the point is still made.  Were this fight to have been allowed to the scorecards, Taylor would have won, and likely still moved up in weight, where he received beatings from Terry Norris and Cristano Espana.  Chavez could have won his vacant belt back, as he dropped the IBF title shortly therafter anyway, and the WBC was his bitch.  His 10 round TKO win over Taylor years later would have been viewed as revenge, not a convenient time to fight an already shot former opponent.  Not to mention that in a career full of Chavez winning in questionable fashion, his legacy could have used one less such occasion.
Joe Louis vs. Jersey Joe Walcott.  Walcott gave Louis a beating in their 1948 match, and was seen as the winner by everyone but the two judges (the referee scored for Walcott).  Even the great Louis would not accept the tainted victory.  When Louis KO'd Walcott in round 11 of their rematch, he should have been rewarded as not only the longest reigning champion, but the first two-time champion.  Heck, if Billy Conn could've gotten on his bicycle in the last three rounds of their first match, Louis may even have been a three time champion!  So, Louis lost out on history, and Walcott also lost on being a two-time champion, as his KO over Ezzard Charles 2 years later would have made him.
Chris Strait

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