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20 NOVEMBER 2018


Worst Decision of the Year: Shumenov's W Pts 12 Campillo

By Tri Nguyen: Upon further review, the Worst Decision of 2010 may not have been so bad after all.

Beibut Shumenov was one of the hottest prospects in boxing. He had a solid amateur pedigree, representing Kazakhstan in the 2004 Olympic games and beating some recognizable names early in his career, including Montell Griffin and Donnell Wiggins. He was destined for stardom, so it seemed. But then he lost a close decision to Gabriel Campillo August 15, 2009. So close that everyone was screaming for a rematch.

The rematch took place on January 29, 2010 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for the WBA Light Heavyweight title. Most fans who saw this fight left with the indelible image of Shumenov getting pummelled and nearly stopped in the ninth round. It was almost incredible that referee Jay Nady didn’t stop the fight after Shumenov absorbed over a dozen unanswered shots and looked out on his feet.

This fight’s momentum swings were so extreme that it would be easy to only remember the final 20 minutes of action, most of which Gabriel Campillo won handily. But Shumenov fought like he always does; all-out action with little regard for his pace. What most people forget is that he dominated the early part of the bout and probably deserved to win the first six rounds. He landed the harder shots and was busier. Campillo left the third round with a cut above his left eye that may have influenced the judging even more. Shumenov has had stamina problems throughout his young career and in this fight, it was a glaring issue. His pattern is familiar; he starts strongly, winning the first minute of every round with his aggression, but the final half of the round would see him fade badly. This was especially true from rounds 7 to 12. As Sugar Ray Leonard proved against Marvelous Marvin Hagler, land the last flurry of a round and you can sway the judges. It’s only natural to remember the latter half of a round and even more so to remember the latter half of a fight. Contrary to the old saying, in boxing it’s not the first impression but the last impression that matters most. That may be why Campillo supporters think they were robbed.

According to CompuBox, Gabriel Campillo outlanded Shumenov 320-219 through 12 rounds. That’s a significant difference and illustrates how badly Shumenov faded. But most of his landed punches came in the first six rounds. In winning the first six rounds, Shumenov would only have to win a handful of the final rounds. Although the final six rounds mostly belonged to Campillo, the championship rounds could have been scored either way. The action was furious as both fighters were fatigued from a tough bout.

The three judges scored the fight 117-111and 115-113 for Shumenov and 117-111 for Campillo. The discrepancy between the two judges who scored the bout 117-111, one for each fighter, is conspicuous and adds fuel to the controversy. It was later revealed that only one of the judges was approved by the WBA, but all three judges had clean records devoid of any previous controversy. The 10-Point Must system in boxing leaves much room for subjective interpretation, and this fight illustrated the system’s flaws.

This fight will go down in history as 2010’s worst decision in boxing. One of the most aggravating aspects of boxing is the judging, leading many to believe that boxing is fixed and dictated by promoters and managers. While this decision isn’t Chavez-Whitaker or Lewis-Holyfield I, or even De La Hoya-Sturm, simply because the stage was not as big, many people will see a clear-cut robbery. But an objective review shows that it was a very close fight between two prospects. The changes in momentum during the fight made it very difficult to score. Shumenov’s early dominance and eventual deterioration may have cost him a victory in the court of public opinion. But giving him a decision victory may be justified.
WINNER: Beibut Shumenov W Pts 12 Gabriel Campillo

Previous Worst Decision of the Year Awards

2009: Ali Funeka D.12 Joan Guzman
2008: Francisco Figueroa Emanuel Augustus
2007: Jermain Taylor W.12 Cory Spinks
2006: Arthur Abraham W.12 Edison Miranda
2005: Bobby Pacquiao W.12 Carlos Hernandez
2004: Oscar De La Hoya W.12 Felix Sturm
2003: Shane Mosley W.12 Oscar De La Hoya
2002: Johnny Tapia W.12 Manuel Medina
2001: Paulie Ayala W.12 Hugo Dianzo
2000: Erik Morales W.12 Marco Antonio Barrera

December 25, 2010

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