Convicted Artist Magazine

Apr 16th
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usa-mexico-japanI often pick on Germany as the place where fighters can expect to be screwed if they do not fight for the correct promoter.  England is also a place you an go if you wish to have trigger happy refs wave it off any time the visiting fighter so much as wobbles slightly.  Canadian officials are not consistently bad, but they seem to trade off the ways that they reward hometown fighters.  Weird referees (Marlon Wright in Bute – Andrade 1), bad judging (Dingaan Thobela losing to Davey Hilton), etc.  Argentina ?  Don’t get me started on the robberies that go on there… starting with Wilfred Benitez’ money and passport.  However, here are a few examples of places where fighters can go, where fairness may not be a guarantee, but at least more likely to happen.

Mexico – Don’t get me wrong… if you’re a tourist in that country, carry a machine gun.  If you are fighting a man with the surname Chavez, just go home.  Mexico and fairness are not often mentioned in the same breath.  However, ask South African Simphiwe Nonqawi about winning decisions in Mexico .  He has won multiple decisions there, over another beloved Mexican fighting family, the Arces.  Austin Trout just came away with a wide decision over Rigoberto Alvarez.  That is a fighter from another family that is rapidly gaining a following in Mexico .  He is the brother of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, but that correlation led to no favoritism from the judges.  Even when a fighter does get a lousy decision, like Matt Vanda losing to Chavez Jr. in their first match, the fans do not let their national pride stop them from voicing their disapproval.  Maybe that is scaring the judges straight.

USA – I’m sure Felix Sturm and Axel Schulz would disagree.  However, given the country they come from, they have no right to complain.  French-based fighters Bruno Girard and Ike Quartey also complained of being jobbed here, but they were rewarded with either hometown rematches or bigger money paydays.  Countless other fighters have come here and won close decisions over Americans, won over the fans, and received fair refereeing.  We’ve had the good fortune of being the Mecca for which all fighters want to make a pilgrimage.  That puts the pressure on us to render good decisions.  Lousy decisions do plague this country, yet they usually have more to do with soft commissions and promoter affiliation, than with nationalism.  We are truly a U.N. of boxing, and any country who replaces us, had better adopt the same trend of fairness.  Are you listening, Germany ?

– Jose Navarro was screwed there.  Others have been as well.  Not to mention the two blind mice who scored the Tyson-Douglas fight close.  Again, this has usually been the result of promoter corruption, not nationalism.  While the two do meet on many occasions, Japan is singled out here, because of the amount of times their emerging stars have been allowed to lose.  I also rarely hear of anyone coming over to complain about referee corruption, and fighters also mention how they are treated like stars in that country, even when they are barely above journeymen in their own.

These 3 countries are entirely different in the way fans perceive fights.  Japanese fans are calm and serene, while Mexican fans are loud, boisterous, and have even been known to throw bottles of urine.  The American boxing experience runs the gamut.  It can be a first-rate affair like Vegas or New York City , or the parking lot of a dive bar in the Carolinas .  Doing the right thing, however, should never be a cultural affair.

Chris Strait

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