by David P. Greisman
Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank joined the chorus of critics blasting oft-derided referee Laurence Cole for his officiating in Orlando Salido’s split decision win over Vasyl Lomachenko this past Saturday — a bout that the company had made as it tries to make Lomachenko, an acclaimed amateur and two-time Olympic gold medalist, into a star.
“The refereeing was absolutely horrible. I have never seen so many low blows that a fighter gets away with,” Arum told reporters at the Alamodome in San Antonio. “But that being said, that shows how important experience was, because finally when he got his act together, it was no contest.”
Arum said he had Lomachenko winning the fight 115-113, and that there was even reason to widen the gap by another point for the manner in which Lomachenko won the 12th round.
Alas, only one of the three official judges saw it the same way as Arum. Levi Martinez had it 115-113 for the Ukrainian, but he was outvoted by Jack Reiss, who had Salido winning 116-112, and Oren Shellenberger, who saw it 115-113 for Salido.
Arum said Lomachenko’s next step will depend on what the fighter’s team wants, though he also noted that the World Boxing Organization’s featherweight title remains vacant due to Salido (the previous titleholder) dropping his belt on the scales by coming in overweight, and because Lomachenko didn’t come out with the victory.
“Off that performance against a heavier guy, maybe he [Lomachenko] can be nominated to fight for the title again,” Arum said.
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