Convicted Artist Magazine

Mar 06th
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russell-moraWe live in an age where officials walk around above the law.  They may not have an easy job in the world of sports, but they enjoy a ridiculous amount of freedom from the powerful, as well as ridicule from the fans and writers.  I will confess that in many cases, I would not wish to walk a mile in their shoes.  That does not, however, excuse them from doing their job correctly.

I believe in the “3 strikes and you’re out” mentality.  These are 3 televised strikes against you.  You have blown calls that many times when we are watching?  You probably have done it far more when we are not.  You must be taken out of the game for years, and retrained.  If you strike out again, you are gone.  The NBA’s asinine policy of fining coaches who criticize officials is oppressive and wrong, but no one’s life is at stake.  Tennis officials have been historically bad, but again, players enter and leave in the same health, regardless.  In boxing, men’s lives are at stake… not just their careers.

Joey Curtis was the TV boxing joke of the 1980’s.  He stopped fights too soon, and stopped fights too late.  He even left the finished boxer to stagger around helplessly, while he raised the hand of the victor.  A generation earlier the jokes were former fighters who were given referee assignments.  Who can forget Jersey Joe Walcott blowing the Ali-Liston rematch, or Joe Louis allowing Jerry Quarry to take too much punishment against Joe Frazier?  Even the great Richard Pryor made one of his better-known routines about the latter match.

Russell Mora is quickly becoming our generation’s poster boy for bad refereeing.  He has now been seen to stop a fight too late, another too soon, and now show flagrant bias or incompetence in the face of obvious fouls.  That’s not only 3 strikes… it is 3 strikes within a few months, and in completely separate categories... on 3 different networks!  This means one thing.  He is a bad referee.  It is time for him to go.  He is also a bad referee in a state with many good ones.  There is no reason to tolerate his presence in Nevada .  Furthermore, he seems easily corruptable, and less of a man.  Kenny Bayless said right to Manny Pacquiao’s face, “I blew the knockdown call”.  He barely makes mistakes, yet he owns up to them.  Mora makes them constantly, and even when confronted with Jim Gray’s video evidence, he still would not fess up.

I’d like to also comment on the sad state of this particular episode.  Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares appear to be evenly matched men, neither of whom should be much of a threat to Nonito Donaire, but both are exciting options for the young Filipino star.  Agbeko, however, is a black man, of African heritage, fighting in the lower weights, living in NYC, and promoted by Don King.  Simply put, he cannot draw flies to a dumpster.  Mares has the right ethnicity, and promoter, to sell tickets.  I believe that was at work here also.  This is also the second consecutive close call Mares has gotten, and both fights involved him getting away with numerous low blows.

Obviously I do not know who, or what, or why… plus it is bizarre to see a Don King fighter on the other end of something fishy, but so much for Golden Boy being the promoter of the people.  They’ve been involved in just as much nonsense lately as the others.  The end game will tell us the truth.  There should be a return bout even without the controversy.  Not only did it end bizarrely, but it was a close, exciting fight, and neither man should be ready to surrender his new belt to Donaire (an almost certainty), without cashing in on a publicly demanded rematch.  

Chris Strait

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