by Jody Kohn
I hate to keep pounding out negative articles on a sport I really love. But if I didn’t care, I guess I would just let the travesty that happened on Saturday night just pass on by without feeling the need to comment. However, those who know me know that I rarely stay silent on such things.
Once again, we had a fighter who went out and busted his ass get completely robbed of a well earned victory. Even for boxing, a sport with a long history of poor decisions, it seems like this is happening more often than ever. Richard Abril put on a great performance, easily outpointing Brandon Rios according to anyone who knows anything about boxing. Apparently two of the three judges scoring the fight know nothing about boxing giving Rios a clear victory. Outside of Rios, those judges, and Top Rank, it is hard to find a single person in the boxing community who gave Rios the decision.
Of course Rios is the much higher profile fighter, and he had a lot riding on the outcome of this fight. Even though he couldn’t be bothered to make weight, it seems as though the powers that be were looking out for him, and more importantly themselves, allowing Rios to gain a split decision victory. Making it worse was Rios talking afterwards about how Abril wasn’t there to fight. To those who saw it, it was pretty clear that Abril was the one doing the fighting.
As just the latest in a series of horrible decisions, it has come into focus quite clearly why boxing is on the decline. Other sports like baseball and football have their share of corruption. However, to the casual viewer it is obvious they are at least attempting to police themselves through tougher drug testing, internal investigations, etc. Boxing seems to embrace it. Corrupt promoters like Top Rank continue to mold things to fit their grand scheme rather than allowing the sport to work itself out inside the ring. If a plan doesn’t work out on it’s own, miraculously wretched decisions like those we saw Saturday materialize. Now we still have an opportunity for the big Rios-Marquez showdown!
The main problem is that the big sports like those mentioned are governed by one body who is supposed to look out for the sport as a whole. Boxing is made up of multiple organizations and promoters who are only looking out for themselves. To think Bob Arum cares about boxing is laughable. He cares about Bob Arum. Period. And he and Top Rank will do anything they can, by hook or crook to ensure they meet their needs. Fans have given up over time trusting a sport that is so transparently corrupt. Instead they have turned to other, more credible options.
My mother always told me not to complain about something if you can’t offer a solution. Sadly, I don’t really have anything to offer here. The only way to eliminate this mess is to have one governing body and eliminating, or at least bringing under control, the promoters. And I don’t see anyway that is going to happen. Instead we will be stuck with people like Arum who continue to drag down a sport that was once great.