Anyone who saw Showtime’s telecast of the Abner Mares-Joseph Agbeko knows about the controversy. Mares got away with multiple low blows on Agbeko, with a blatant shot leading to a knockdown rather than a point deduction. Promoter Don King, who represents Agbeko, said it best in a story on Yahoo! Sports.
“What I saw [Saturday] night was either total incompetence or corruption. Choose whichever you’d like,” King said of referee Russell Mora. ”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.”
I followed the fight Saturday night through the tweets of various respected boxing writers — Kevin Iole of Yahoo, Dan Rafael of ESPN. So they were blasting away Mora. When I got home and saw the replay, you can’t help but be outraged.
But what made matters worst was the way Golden Boy Promotions were going about Mares’ victory. Mares is a Golden Boy fighter. Now Golden Boy does this with big victories for all their fighters, but Saturday’s tweets made it feel like gloating. Rightly or wrongly, that was a perception, and Oscar de la Hoya got hammered on Twitter. But Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez posted on Twitter minutes after the fight, “I love Russell Mora,” according to the Yahoo! story.
Don King said he was urged by an anonymous caller to have Mora removed because he was a “Golden Boy” referee. Take that for what it’s worth, but I would have a hard time believing Oscar de la Hoya or his company would do something like that. I don’t know what to make of Mora, other than he should not work a world championship or high-profile fight for a long, long time.
Golden Boy can do the right thing, which would be to have Mares fight Agbeko immediately. It would be good for the sport, and good for their image.