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CJ Ross & Eugenia Williams Might Have A Lot To Talk About



The goal of gender equality, at least as it pertains to the participation of females as boxing judges for world championship bouts, took another major hit Saturday night when already-controversial judge C.J. Ross (first name: Cynthia) saw Canelo Alvarez win six of 12 rounds against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Fortunately for everyone else who was actually paying attention to what had transpired in the ring, the other two assigned judges, Craig Metcalfe and Dave Moretti, had Mayweather (seen above, in Hogan photo, reacting to the egregious Ross card) ahead by respective margins of 117-111 and 116-112, their more prudent assessments resulting in “Money” claiming the WBA and WBC super welterweight titles that had belonged to the red-haired Mexican.

It might even be argued that Metcalfe and Moretti were overly generous to the game but outclassed Canelo. Some astute observers had Mayweather pitching a 120-108 shutout, and he also won by a Grand Canyonesque margin on my personal scorecard, 119-109. So all’s well that ends well, right?

Uh, maybe not. It has been duly noted that Ross – in the first major assignment of her career — also saw Timothy Bradley Jr. as a 115-113 winner in his June 9, 2012, matchup with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao. Virtually everyone else pegged Pacquiao as an easy winner, but in this case Ross’ blurred vision was compounded by the fact that another judge, Duane Ford, also turned in a 115-113 scorecard for Bradley, who came away with a split decision in what some have termed as a bigger robbery than the Brink’s Job.

So now Ross has followed the Pacquiao-Bradley debacle with her perplexing take on Mayweather-Alvarez, which should lead to only one logical conclusion: Someday she probably will be inducted into the new Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame.

Another female judge whose name, fairly or not, is destined to live in infamy is that of Eugenia “Jean” Williams, whose much-derided scorecard favoring Evander Holyfield in his March 13, 1999, heavyweight unification showdown with Lennox Lewis incited a firestorm of criticism, the heat and magnitude of which even Ross’ dubious scoring for Mayweather-Alvarez was unable to match. Williams submitted a card favoring Holyfield, the IBF and WBA champ, as a 115-113 winner which, coupled with the 115-115 card turned in by British judge Larry O’Connell, enabled Holyfield to hold onto his belts on a split draw. The other judge, South Africa’s Stanley Christoudoulou, had WBC titlist Lewis ahead by a 116-113 margin.

It was the last world championship fight worked by Williams, an Atlantic City, N.J., resident who nonetheless continued to draw judging assignments in her home state deep into 2012. Her last judging gig came on Oct. 12, 2012, Dorin Spivey’s 10-round majority decision over Rod Salka for the NABA lightweight championship at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in A.C. Williams – who was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011 – had Spivey, who retained his fringe title, coming out on top, 97-93.

No boxing judge’s entire body of work, regardless of gender, should be judged solely on the basis of one unpopular and disputed call, and Williams at least had a reasonably extensive resume heading into Lewis-Holyfield I (Lewis won the rematch, eight months later, on a unanimous decision). She had drawn assignments for 29 previous world title fights, including Ray Mercer-Tommy Morrison, Riddick Bowe-Jesse Ferguson and Holyfield-Mercer. Williams also should be given some credit for attempting to explain her rationale for going with Holyfield, which included scoring the fifth round for him, a round in which he was rocked several times and seemingly was on the verge of being knocked out by Lewis. Ross, on the other hand, has not gone public with any defense of her scorecard for Mayweather-Alvarez.

“I have no qualms with someone disagreeing with me,” Williams said a few days after Lewis-Holyfield I. “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. But I know what I saw and I’m standing firm that I did the right thing. I have no regrets.”

Well, at least she didn’t until she was called in to testify before a Grand Jury empaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to investigate charges that the three assigned judges for Lewis-Holyfield I had received improper benefits. In addition to her receiving a fee of $5,150 for the assignment, as did O’Connell and Christoudoulou, their hotel bills and meals were paid for by Holyfield’s promoter, Don King, although that was not uncustomary for such events.

Shown a videotape of the fight, including the fifth round that was so called into question, Williams waffled, saying that, in retrospect, she would have given that round to Lewis, thus leveling her final scorecard at 114-114. She suggested that her line of sight had been blocked by Lewis’ broad back and by ringside photographers jostling for position along the apron.

“What I saw on TV is not the same as what I saw that night,” she testified. “I can only go by what I looked at that night and I scored that accordingly.”

Before and after her grand jury appearance, Williams was pilloried as a know-nothing judge, or worse.

“I gave Evander three rounds, at the most,” said Lewis’ trainer, Emanuel Steward. “From what I saw, it looked like Lennox was working with one of his sparring partners. But this sparring partner got $20 million. It was not even a close fight. Lennox controlled him with the jab, played with him when he wanted to. We were actually having fun.

“This hurts boxing. We just can’t laugh it off. Undisputed heavyweight championship of the world. New York. Madison Square Garden. And to see what happened here … No, you can’t say, `Oh, well, that’s just boxing.’ I think it’s disgusting.”

Promoter Bob Arum, the Top Rank honcho who had no ties to either fighter, weighed in on the controversy as a presumably unbiased observer.

“I’ve been in boxing 35 years and I never heard of Jean Williams,” huffed Arum, who was contacted at his Las Vegas office by the New York Post. “She has no experience in big fights. Why was she picked for this one? The fight wasn’t even close. I had it 10-2 for Lewis. This isn’t a difference in opinion. This was blatantly wrong.”

It would be just as blatantly wrong for sexists – hey, you know who you are – to lump Williams and Ross as a matched pair, conclusive proof that women have no place in the fight game. There are female judges whose work has not been similarly defaced by accusations of incompetence or dishonesty. Adalaide Byrd, for one, has a pretty sterling reputation, and onetime judge Melvina Lathan has earned her spurs as the respected executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission. I’m certainly not going to forever hang Williams out to dry for one eyebrow-raising scorecard, and even Ross deserves another chance to rehab her reputation, although if I’m NSAC executive director Keith Kizer, I might have her work her way back to big assignments through a series of less high-profile fights.

In a TSS tribute to women’s boxing pioneer Jackie Tonawanda, who was 75 when “Lady Ali” died of colon cancer in June 2009, I described the hurdles female fighters have to face to be taken seriously in boxing, that most macho of athletic endeavors. By extension, the same might be said of women promoters, judges and referees.

Men are supposed to be the hunter-gatherers of the human species, and as such certain occupations have long been thought (at least by guys) as their exclusive preserve. While males go off to war as soldiers, protect our streets as cops and stain boxing rings with their blood, the ladies are supposed to stay home, bear our children, bake us cookies and, if they really need to get out of the house and earn a paycheck, serve society as nurses, secretaries, waitresses, beauticians and, oh, maybe as pole dancers.

I was, of course, being facetious. But Cynthia J. Ross’ latest tale from the crypt isn’t making it easy to advance the notion that women are as capable of scoring a boxing match as their male counterparts. And if she doesn’t believe her six-rounds-apiece assessment of Mayweather-Alvarez won’t hurt her, in a professional sense, someone should put her in touch with Jean Williams.

You’d have to figure they’d have a whole lot to talk about.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.



Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face



Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar



Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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