Monday, August 15, 2011

Mares vs. Agbeko

Being a fight fan I love a good boxing match and there was a good one yesterday. It was for the IBF Bantamweight belt and the winner of the Showtime Bantamweight tournament. Abner Mares was challenging champion Joseph Agbeko at the Hard Rock Cafe Hotel in Vegas. During the fight Mares continually hit Agbeko with low blows (Al Bernstein estimated about 30)  culminating with a devastating left to the balls in the 11th round (that Agbeko was winning) referee Russell Mora counted it as a knockdown. This gave a 4 point swing to Mares that one him a majority decision. Check the podcast for a rant and look at the You Tube videos below for the last 3 rounds of the fight and Jim Gray's epic post fight interview with the ref.
My Rant on the Abner Mares vs Joseph Agbeko Fight

Edit: I just got through reading an article by Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports with these excerpts:

It wasn’t the judges who were at the center of the controversy this time, however. Rather, it was Mora, the Las Vegas-based referee who repeatedly warned Agbeko for pushing Mares’ head down but failed to see several dozen low blows landed by Mares.
The postfight news conference was a circus with nearly all of the focus not on the men who poured their hearts out in the ring but rather on a man who wouldn’t admit he made a mistake even after being confronted with a televised replay.
The fight was up for grabs after 10 rounds but was sealed by Mora’s bad call in the 11th. Mares ripped an uppercut to the midsection – his body work above the belt line Saturday was masterful, and a key in the victory – that landed squarely on the groin.
Agbeko winced in pain and went down in a heap, as the crowd gasped. But rather than taking a point from Mares for a low blow, Mora ruled it a knockdown and began counting.
“This was a very big fight tonight and I am a champion, and I don’t know why I have to fight two people in the ring all the time,” a disappointed Agbeko said. “The referee came into our dressing room [before the fight] and gave us instructions and warned us not to do low blows. But the referee wasn’t doing anything about it when he was hitting me very hard with very low punches.”
The call turned the fight. Agbeko had the momentum and seemed to be on the verge of overtaking Mares. Mares was up 96-93 and 95-94 on the cards of Shellenberger and Byrd, respectively, after 10 and Ross had Agbeko up 95-94.
Had Agbeko won the final two rounds, he would have won the fight. But after taking a debilitating low blow, rather than winning the 11th, he lost it 10-8.
He also failed to get a five-minute rest period, as required by the rules, when a fighter is fouled.
“The punch that I saw live was a fair punch,” Mora told Showtime’s Jim Gray after watching a slow-motion replay that unequivocally showed the punch was low. “It parried off of his glove. It was a fair punch.”  Full article on Yahoo Sports
More from Kevin Iole in another article about how Don King (Agbeko's promoter) had gotten calls telling him to request Mora not ref the fight. Typically Kizer of the Nevada State Athletic  Commission is backing his boy and refuses to suspend Mora. Amazingly, Golden Boy Productions is making Don King look good. "Only in America!"

LAS VEGAS – Boxing promoter Don King said Sunday he received a phone call several weeks ago urging him to have Russell Mora removed as referee for Saturday’s bantamweight title fight between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares. The caller, whom King declined to name, said Mora was a “Golden Boy referee.”
King, who did not travel to Las Vegas for the fight because he is suffering from a bad back, said Keith Kizer, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, denied a subsequent request by King’s organization.
Mora was the focus of controversy throughout the fight for a series of calls, and non-calls, in the International Boxing Federation bantamweight title bout between the King-promoted Agbeko and the Golden Boy-promoted Mares at the Hard Rock Casino.
Helped immeasurably by a knockdown call by Mora on what replays showed was clearly an illegal low blow in the 11th round, Mares won a majority decision and lifted the title from Agbeko. Although Mares landed numerous low blows throughout the fight, Mora never deducted a point from him. There was also controversy surrounding Mora’s ruling of a knockdown by Mares in the first, when the new champ stepped on Agbeko’s foot.which I love so dearly,” said King, who has a home in Las Vegas 
“What I saw [Saturday] night was either total incompetence or corruption. Choose whichever you’d like. I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never witnessed anything like that. It’s so outrageous. The last one, Mares hit him directly in the [groin] and he was down, writhing in pain on his knees, and the referee called it a knockdown. It was so outrageous and makes you question everything you hold holy.”

“It is unreal and really gives a black eye to the State of Nevada, but resides in Florida. “Nevada is No. 1 in the world for the sport of boxing, but you have to realize it’s also No. 1 as the state of gaming. You need to maintain a reputation as a place with impeccable integrity and honesty in both boxing and gaming.

Kizer said Sunday he believes Mora is one of the best up-and-coming referees in the sport, which is why he did not remove him from the fight as requested by Dana Jamison, the vice president of boxing operations for Don King Productions. Kizer said Jamison gave no legitimate objection that would have caused him to remove Mora. He said the request was made entirely on the basis of the caller who told King that Mora is a “Golden Boy referee.”
“What does that even mean, that he’s a Golden Boy referee?” Kizer asked. “I get a lot of complaints about referees. Some people say this guy allows too much holding. Some people complain that a particular referee breaks them up too quickly and doesn’t allow them to fight on the inside, or that a referee allows too much roughhousing. But I’ve never heard anyone say a referee is a ‘Golden Boy referee’ or a ‘Top Rank referee.’ Honestly, I don’t even know what that means.”
Kizer, unhappy with Mora’s performance, had a lengthy discussion with him on Sunday after Mora watched the Showtime replay.
Mora conceded that the knockdown in the 11th round should have been ruled a low blow and that Mares should have been penalized, Kizer said. He said Mora “is displeased with himself.”
He said he would not suspend Mora, though he made it clear that Mora may be on the sidelines for a while and will have to work his way up to regain main event status.
“In a situation like this, the referee needs to get with me and also with some of the senior referees here in Nevada, which I’m encouraging, to learn from this performance and improve in the future,” Kizer said. “He’ll need to take his time coming back and build himself back up. I have a very high confidence he’ll be able to do so.”
Kizer said he plans to talk to Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez about a message Gomez posted on Twitter minutes after the fight. Gomez wrote, “I love Russell Mora,” which did not escape King’s notice.
King was angry about that and said it was more evidence of possible malfeasance.
“He loves Russell Mora? He loves him? Can you believe that?” King said. “Is that why Russell Mora looked the other way the 49 times when Mares hit [Agbeko] with a low blow? He loves him? I can’t believe that. Full article on Yahoo Sports
 - Khun Rut

This is video of the last three rounds of the fight.

This is the video of the post-fight interview by Jim Gray with Russell Mora.


Anonymous said...

This was just a flat out terrible job by Mora. The 11th was just the coup de grace, he was blowing it all night long. Mares probably should have been DQed before the 11th even started. It was outrageous, and yet he never took even one point. Either Mora is not competent (possible) or he was on the take (also possible). Either way, the fight should be declared a no contest.

Khun Rut said...

Unfortunately, Keith Kizer said by the rules he could not make it a no contest. Only if there was doping or a misinterpretation of the rules. Well I would say Mora misinterpreted the rules in believing the balls are a legal target. The Nevada State Athletic Commission at this point has no intention of overturning the decision or even suspending Mora. He's gonna have him talk to Kenny Bayless and Joe Cortez... great Joe fucking Cortez....

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