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Mares-Agbeko Ref: I'm Sorry for Blown Low Blow Calls

by David P. Greisman

Russell Mora says he is still bothered by the job he did 21 months ago as the referee for the first fight between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko — and that he wants to apologize both boxers.

“That was the worst thing that I have ever done,” Mora told Lem Satterfield of RingTV.com. “There’s no reverse, and there’s no instant replay, there’s no taking it back.”

Here’s how I described the bout back in August 2011:

“Mares topped Agbeko via majority decision in a fight that was close and competitive but which ended with the controversy overshadowing the very good action.

“Mares’ punches, particularly his left hook to the body, kept veering low. Some were on the beltline; some were lower. Some were precipitated by Agbeko’s left hand pulling Mares’ head down; some were fouls of Mares’ own doing. Some led to cautions from referee Russell Mora; some didn’t.

“The problem was that Mora never went beyond cautioning Mares, never taking a point away from him, even when the fouls had reached a quantity and frequency that such a measure should’ve proven necessary. And on the most blatant low blow of them all, a left hand directly onto Agbeko’s groin in the 11th round that sent Agbeko to the canvas, Mora – who was perfectly positioned – ruled it a knockdown.”

Mora told Satterfield that he felt as if he “screwed up their fight,” and that Mares and Agbeko “were both marred after the fight for my mistake.”

“I do, someday, want to see Joseph Agbeko, because I would like to give him an embrace and let him know that it could have been different,” Mora told Satterfield. “I'd like the opportunity to apologize — to both of them — for the fact that any of that happened, because they were both scarred by that."

Mares and Agbeko had a rematch less than four months later; Mares won that bout by unanimous decision, with all three scorecards reading 118-110 in his favor.

Mares, who won two world titles at bantamweight with the first victory over Agbeko, has since gone on to capture belts in the 122- and 126-pound divisions, with his most recent performance coming May 4 with a technical knockout of Daniel Ponce De Leon during the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero pay-per-view.

Agbeko has fought just once since the second Mares defeat. He didn’t fight at all in 2012, and returned this past March in his native Ghana with a decision win over Luis Melendez.

David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Beater_of_ass on 05-15-2013

I f*cking hate this ref and what he did to Agbeko but he didn't do anything wrong in the Montiel/Donaire fight. It should have been stopped when Montiel was twitching on the ground but the ref was making sure Donaire…

Comment by dde91 on 05-15-2013

[QUOTE=ColdCa$hCanelo;13373217]mares beats him without low blows. stop acting like it changed the outcome of the fight. [SIZE="1"][I]Posted from Boxingscene.com App for Android[/I][/SIZE][/QUOTE] yea he won the rematch fair and square. but to many he should have been penalized and probably…

Comment by dde91 on 05-15-2013

Should apologize to Agbeko nuts!

Comment by boxerdiamoond on 05-15-2013

The referee Russell Mora was over his head. He can't handle pressure, still making many mistakes, and the organizations continued to appointed him as a referee. What a joke.

Comment by Bronsky on 05-15-2013

Agbeko was the true winner. Mares went low like what 20, 30 some odd times it was a disgrace. Possibly ruined agbekos career. Anyone backing Mares is biased period. I want Mora to go "embrace" Agbeko and then gets low…

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