By Rick Reeno
A few days have passed, but Erislandy Lara and members of his team are still fuming over last Saturday's split decision loss to Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. One judge had Lara as the winner with a card of 115-113, while the other two judges saw Canelo as the winner with scores of 115-113 and 117-111.
The fight was close, which neither side disputes, but many writers [and fighters] have suggested that Lara needed to do more in order to beat Canelo. Bob Santos, who co-manages Lara with Luis DeCubas Jr., disputes that view.
“In sports winning is winning. Yes, I understand Canelo is a superstar but what people forget to realize is he's a very good fighter as well. Everyone says Lara should have beaten him by more rounds to get the win. Why? Canelo is a top pound for pound fighter beating him by 1 point should be enough. Whether you felt he moved too much or not, he won. Everyone, the fans, media, former and current boxers, I mean everyone saw it as a close fight except one person? And it so happens to be that one person is a professional boxing judge with experience in over 40 championship bouts. Does that make sense?," Santos told BoxingScene.com.
Additionally, Santos has centered the bulk of his frustrations on judge Levi Martinez, who had the 117-111 scorecard. Santos explained a pattern of events which he believes supports his theory that Lara was already down on Martinez's card before he even stepped in the ring.
Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal spoke to members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who also raised concerns regarding Martinez's scoring - not because he scored the fight for Canelo, but because his card was much wider than the cards of his two colleagues. Commission members plan to speak with Martinez to get an explanation regarding his score.
"Look at Levi Martinez’s last three fights. He judged that occurred in the last 6 weeks and compare it to the other two judges. Korobov vs Uzcategui good, Levi has it 97-91 and the other two have it 97-91 and 96-92. Then go to Crawford-Gamboa good, Levi has it 78-72 and the other two got is 78-72 and 77-73. Then go to Donaire-Vetyeka good, Levi has it 49-46 and the two other judges have it guess what 49-46. So in his last three fights he's been on par or within one point difference of the two other officials?," Santos stated.
"Now forward to Canelo-Lara and he's got a 6 point difference with a fight that was close, and two of the best officials ever in boxing history Roth and Morreti had it 115-113 for both guys? C'mon man, Levi Martinez wasn't an [im]partial judge. Whether you feel the fight was entertaining or not - one thing you can guarantee is the fight was a tainted fight before the bell rang. Fans and Lara didn't get a fair shake. And not to point out, those three fights that good old Levi judged right on point, you guessed right, they were Top Rank promoted cards. I guess more than one person had Cotto vs. Canelo planned before Lara and Canelo stepped foot in the ring.”