by Keith Idec
The scorecards submitted by judges John Stewart and Craig Metcalfe weren’t reflective of how easily Andre Ward won his fight against Carl Froch on Dec. 17 in Atlantic City.
New Jersey’s Stewart and Canada’s Metcalfe credited Ward with a 115-113 win in a fight the WBA/WBC super middleweight champion seemingly won at least 117-111 at Boardwalk Hall. John Keane, a British judge, actually had Ward ahead by the largest margin, 118-110, at the conclusion of a 12-round fight that also was the championship match of Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic.”
Of course, the judging performances of Stewart and Metcalfe were far from the worst in Atlantic City this year.
Scoring of the Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara fight was so bad, the three judges remain suspended by New Jersey’s State Athletic Control Board. SACB commissioner Aaron Davis suspended Al Bennett, Don Givens and Hilton Whitaker indefinitely July 13 for their inexplicable scoring four days earlier at Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom. Bennett scored the 12-round junior middleweight match even (114-114), while Givens (116-114) and Whitaker (115-114) credited Williams with winning a fight he clearly lost.
“They are still suspended,” Davis said. “They’ve been to several training seminars. They all came to the seminar that I had for all of my officials [in October in Trenton]. And I believe some of them came down to the ABC convention in August that we had down in D.C. They went through some training there, but they’re still in the training process.”
Davis hasn’t decided when he’ll remove Bennett, Givens and Whitaker from the suspended list. He’ll continue to monitor the progress of those three New Jersey residents, but he’ll assign them carefully once he feels they’re ready to work fights again.
“It’s going to be case-by-case,” Davis said. “It’s not like all of them are going to come off suspension at the same time. It’s just whoever I feel is capable of getting back on a card. Of course, we’re going to work them back slowly, with undercard fights and stuff like that. Because I realize that they’re swagger may not be there, and I’ve got to get their confidence back up. They all look like they’re on their way back, so we’ll just see.”
New Jersey’s boxing commissioner hopes his contemporaries aren’t afraid to follow the lead of his unprecedented disciplinary action, especially when it’s so obvious a judge has failed to score a fight appropriately.
“I hope that commissions in other jurisdictions take note that you are in charge of what goes on in boxing,” Davis said. “And somebody has to be accountable. If my people mess up or my people are unprepared, I’ve got to make sure that I reprimand them.
“And I can make them better. It’s not all about ruining a guy’s career and it’s not about making somebody look bad. It’s about people in the sport of boxing knowing that somebody is accountable. And I was accountable for that. This is my way of rectifying it. I hope it won’t happen again.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.