Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs. Juan Francisco Estrada could have been a draw.
But two of the judges scored it in favor of Juan Francisco Estrada, one even seeing him win nine of the twelve rounds!
It is not just questionable biased scoring that we are talking here.
I am old enough to have seen numerous similar controversial endings as we have witnessed over the recent weekend, in non title and especially in title fights.
The culprit i believe is that unwritten boxing code which protects certain favored fighters.
To be fair, fighters as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, even Manny Pacquiao at one time or the other were seen to have benefited from such unwritten code.
The unwritten code states that the boxer who is perceived to possess or represent the better potentials to carry on with the business side of boxing ought to enjoy all the benefit of the doubt in any close fight. This is particularly true in Las Vegas, the boxing and gambling capital of the world.
Ali enjoyed such privilege in all his close fights against Ken Norton, even their third and last meeting which many saw as a clear Norton win. Leonard got every benefit in his fight versus Marvelous Marvin Hagler, even as his voluminous but pitty pat punching showed no sign of damaging nor slowing down the marvelous one. The same is also the perception in all of Pacquiao’s first three bouts with Juan Manuel Marquez.
All judges are aware of and oriented to this unwritten code, some more than the others. That is why we have blatantly outrageous scoring that at times result to suspensions. Remember that 118-110 a lady judge gave to Canelo Alvarez in his first fight with Gennady Golovkin which ended in a Draw?
The key I believe is not merely meting suspensions or fines or both to erring judges.
We should vanish this unwritten code in our system by reorienting our judges and officials about discharging their responsibilities with utmost objectivity, without bias, fear or favor.
We should also return the possibility of even scoring especially in cases where a fighter really has no distinct advantage over the other. Discouraging drawn scoring gives judges wider latitude to include factors not really present in the combat or action, such as considerations as contained in the unwritten code.
The Gonzalez – Estrada fight should and could have been a draw. And no one would have raised a howl of protest or raised an eyebrow.
But one judge who let the unwritten code prevail in his call of the fight would want us to believe that he saw some things during the battle that the two other judges and host of others either live or on television did not see or even perceive.
The conventional wisdom as the unwritten code would tell us is that an Estrada vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai would be a better match-up with the two even at one win each than a Gonzales vs Rungvusai pairing knowing that the Thai had prevailed in their own two previous meetings, the last one even by early round knockout.
But boxing has never operate that way since the very beginning. One to one correspondence does not apply as can be seen in numerous celebrated cases. Frazier and Norton were putty in the hands of Foreman but both gave hell to Ali who on the other proved superior to Foreman. Hagler had fits fighting Roberto Duran who was knocked out face first by Tommy Hearns who was kayoed in early rounds by Marv.
Style makes the fight. That’s an absolute boxing truism.
Gonzales was able to sustain his aggressive, attack style of fighting against Estrada for almost all twelve rounds. People are wondering how could Estrada who fought on back foot for most of the bout won nine of twelve rounds.
Statistics likewise favored Gonzales in the number of jabs and power punches thrown and landed. So how to explain that judge’s six point margin in favor of Estrada?
Estrada himself was not convinced that he won fair and square. That is why he is thinking of a rubber match ahead of or after the Rungvusai match.
We will continue to have controversies in boxing unless we vanish that unwritten code that binds judges with boxing promoting.