By Mike Sloan: Ever since Saturday’s mega event concluded, a sizeable chunk of the boxing buzz has not been about Floyd Mayweather’s masterful performance against Canelo Alvarez or Danny Garcia’s upset win over Lucas Matthysse. Because it’s the sport of boxing, one of the hottest topics has been a negative one: the absolutely dreadful and mind-numbing 114-114 score turned in by CJ Ross for the Mayweather-Canelo fight.
The score was so unrealistic, so preposterous that the first thing I thought was that 50 Cent paid her off. I’m not lying. I have no proof, obviously, but her score was so asinine that the only logical explanation is that she is either A) a complete halfwit, B) she walks with the aid of a seeing-eye dog, C) she’s narcoleptic, or D) she was bribed. Or maybe she’s so delusional that she actually believes in her heart that Canelo fought Mayweather to a draw. If that’s the case, then every promoter and boxer needs to file a restraining order against her to keep her at least 250 feet away from the nearest boxing ring.
To be fair, I admit that I know several of the Nevada judges personally, but not CJ Ross. I’ve never spoken a word to her ever. But if I did know her on a personal level, I’d actually be worried that she’d mistake me for Jackie Chan the next time she saw me.
My score of 119-109 in favor of Mayweather notwithstanding (and the countless other unofficial scores I’ve been given in that same ballpark), anybody with any sense of logic or a grasp of what boxing is all about would know full well that Alvarez only won –at most – two rounds. How somebody who has been a professional judge– and I use that term as loosely as possible – for as long as Ross can inexplicably score that fight a draw is beyond any and all comprehension.
Mayweather flat out dominated Canelo from the start. Though he wasn’t hurting the Mexican star and didn’t come close to knocking him out, he did whatever he wanted inside the squared circle and he did it for every minute of every round. Granted, a few of the rounds were a little closer than others; even the 116-112 score from Dave Moretti seemed a bit of a stretch. But a draw? That score was so atrocious that even Eugenia Williams almost choked on her water when Jimmy Lennon, Jr. read the official scores.
The overwhelming majority of the boxing sites and newspapers that cover the sport have been ripping into Ross and her absurd sense of what actually happened inside the MGM Grand. Various writers have been raking her name over the coals and calling for her to either be fired or in the very least, suspended. And anybody who believes this way certainly receives my support. But where every writer that I’ve read since Saturday night is lambasting her, it’s time to take things to the next level and actually try and change the way this sport is operated.
What is so infuriating about the nonsense that was written all over Ross’ scorecards is the fact that this is not the first time she’s done this. Obviously, it’s well known that she somehow thought Manny Pacquiao was the shorter, bald black man when he fought Timothy Bradley, but that’s not her only misstep along the way.
Throughout the years she has also scored the Juan Carlos Burgos-Luis Cruz a draw even though virtually everybody had Burgos clearly winning; he scored the first Abner Mares-Joseph Agbeko fight a draw, even though most scored it for Mares (because referee Russell Mora apparently was blindfolded during the bout and took no points away for the repeated low blows); down in Primm, she had a four rounder between two nondescript fighters David Tabatadze and Paul Mendez a draw when Tabatadze easily won every round; and she somehow thought Ben Tackie drew with Kendall Holt even though Holt clearly won almost every round. A little more research would inevitably turn up more results of her seeming inability to choose a winner, but there are word limits in these columns.
Virtually everybody who loves the Sweet Science laments the fact that it’s a sport run mostly by crooks and morons and that the officiating is constantly the worst in all of professional sports. Everybody complains and tries to come up with solutions, but almost nobody ever actually tries to do anything about it. I’ve always commended Nigel Collins and The Ring Magazine back in the day for making a stand against the crooked sanctioning bodies and creating their own legitimate world title for the sport. That, to a small degree, has caught on.
What needs to happen is a complete upheaval of sorts of these horrendous officials. The number of sanctioning bodies is one dilemma that can be eradicated if everybody within the sport not connected to the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO, etc banded together, but that’s another column altogether. However, this putrid odor that stems from decades of ringside shenanigans can be cleaned up in a matter of months, if not sooner. Highway robberies have all but crippled boxing and it is one of the leading reasons why so many followers of the sport have left, never to return. When people ask me why how I can love a sport so much even when the winner has already been decided weeks in advance, it irritates me because for the most part, those people are correct. Or at least it seems that way.
But Mike, you ask, how in the world can this problem be solved? We always point out the horrible scorecards of these buffoons sitting ringside, but nothing ever changes! To answer that question, it’s quite simple.
To kick things off, we’ll start in Nevada because that’s my home state. I know it seems completely impossible because of how many multi-millionaires with tons of influence are among the “esteemed” panel that makes up the vaunted Nevada Athletic Commission, but changes can be made. Doctors, lawyers, shrewd businessmen and the like are what comprise the entire core of the commission and those guys are not about to give up their seats for anyone because, well, they like to be in charge. However, with enough pressure from the right people and a commission that actually holds people accountable for boxing-related travesties, things can be done.
For starters, Nevada needs to kick Keith Kizer to the curb. Over the years he’s become much more aloof at the fights and doesn’t seem to ever care that his trusted judges and referees are being witch hunted on a monthly basis. He’s grown more arrogant with each passing week and has a nonchalant attitude to everything involving the sport. And if Kizer is too ingrained within the NAC to be booted, he needs to grow a pair and begin addressing the media immediately following events such as the confusing draw that Ross turned in. We don’t want to hear the usual political jargon about how he stands by his judges because they are the best judges in the world and that they do a great job. Well, Keith, I have news for you: your judges are among the worst on the planet and the Nevada Athletic Commission has become the laughingstock of boxing and MMA.
When a judge like CJ Ross scores a virtual shutout 114-114, she needs to be brought to the post-fight press conference and forced to answer to the media. Every reporter would have a field day asking a million questions as to how in the world she somehow felt that Canelo won six rounds in a fight where he barely won one. The fighters, trainers and promoters all have to stand at the dais and answer questions, so why not the officials? It wouldn’t take away the integrity of the sport, either. Instead, it would build the sport from the fraudulent, snake-infested cesspool it is into something at least less corrupt than the NCAA.
When directors like Kizer refuse to drag his officials out into the media fracas, it just reeks of dirtiness and underhandedness. It should be a requirement that if a score is turned in as laughable as what Ross did, he or she is immediately thrown into the fire. And if the judge (or referee, for that matter) refuses, he or she is immediately suspended indefinitely. And if the official fails to show up to the post-fight press conference, then someone like Kizer had better get his butt up onto the dais and address the media like a big boy. Commissioners have no problem grilling the fighters when they are about to fine and suspend them, so the same treatment should be expected to be directed at the officials.
There can’t be anymore hiding behind the comfort of one’s desk and deflecting questions about lousy officiating. There is a reason why boxing has become a non-entity in America unless someone like Mayweather fights. The countless title belts and too numerous weight classes are two-thirds of the problem; the other 33% is how horrible some of these officials are and nothing is ever done about them. That has to change and these miscreants need to be called to the carpet every single time Tom Foolery occurs in the fightsports. We need a commission that will demand answers from its officials and stand up on the podium next to guys like Bob Arum and explain just what the hell happened. And then, take action and eliminate the problematic officials like you would any termite or roach (figuratively, of course).
Most importantly, heads need to start rolling. Obviously, everybody has a bad day at the office. Sometimes you’re not on you’re A game and you give a lousy score or you can be a terrific ref like Mora and just have a terrible night. It happens. But when it becomes a reoccurring theme, these people need to first be suspended and then fired. CJ Ross might be an extraordinary woman outside the ring (again, I don’t know her personally) but as a ringside judge she is among the worst in history. Dalby Shirley was notorious for scoring fights like he was asleep, and Duane Ford, Adalaide Byrd and Patricia Morse-Jarmin aren’t any better.
I’m not trying to make friends with anybody; the less friends I have, the more money I save every holiday season. Merely, I’m trying to clean up the sport of boxing, the sport I cherish more than any other. How can I make these changes I’m ranting about? By taking Kizer’s job. That’s right; I’m honestly going to try my best become a member of the commission and single-handedly clean up the mess that the NAC has become. Nobody else has the guts to actually do anything about it, but I do. When is enough finally enough? Now.
I will keep you all informed with my progress in trying to become a member of the NAC and I’ll document everything that ever happens during this time. I will write reports on everything, even if I am continuously ignored and/or shot down by the powers-that-be that unfortunately run the show here in Nevada. I’m not some high-powered attorney, doctor, or business mogul, but I’m a hard-working boxing guy. It’s time a boxing guy with a team of boxing people run the show.
You can also follow Mike Sloan on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mikesloan19