By Cliff Rold
As celebrating families across the globe recover from eggnog hangovers…
…as millions embrace the season by getting up in the middle of the night to endure more consumerism by way of day after the holiday sales…
…what better way to kick off the awards season here at BoxingScene then by starting with the worst of 2013? In a year that exceeded all expectations, these were the angry relatives, the Debbie Downers, the reminders that no matter how good it gets, well, it’s still boxing.
When boxing shows its bad side, it leaves some of the most Earth-shattering, environment contaminating, air-supply suffocating coal in a stocking Santa could ever concoct.
This is the 2013 BoxingScene Robbery of the Year.
Fittingly, we have a draw.
09/07/2013 – Ricky Burns D12 Raymundo Beltran
Challenging on the road for the WBO Lightweight belt, Raymundo Beltran had to know it would be an uphill battle. He scaled the mountain. Two of the judges pushed him off.
Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1, 17KOs) appeared to win the biggest fight of his life, but somehow the three official judges saw it a twelve round split draw with Ricky Burns (36-2-1, 11KOs), who retained his WBO lightweight title. The scores were 115-112 for Burns (editor’s insert: judge Carlos Ortiz Jr.), 115-113 for Beltran (editor’s insert: kudos to you Andre Van Grootenbruel), and 114-114(editor’s insert: Richard James Davies) for the draw. The British broadcast crew for Sky Sports had all scored the fight for Beltran.
BoxingScene.com had it 116-111 for Beltran.
Unlike his latest defense against Jose Gonzalez, Burns, 30, started this one pretty fast. Being light on his toes, he was able to outbox Beltran in the opening stanza. However, the Mexican wasted little time in getting right back on track in the second round, which was close enough but mostly in Beltran's favor. Beltran used his bodysnatching ability to improve his game considerably in the third round. Fending off Burns to prevent clinches and avoiding his sticky jab, Beltran pinned Burns to the ropes numerous times and landed hard, damaging body shots there. Burns looked to save himself in clinches as much as possible. He fought back in spurts, but those spurts barely matched up Beltran's success.
It also seemed that Burns had his jaw shattered early on, which was later confirmed in a post-fight quickie. Meanwhile, "Sugar" Beltran from Phoenix, Arizona, by way of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, turned on some old-school tricks and took rounds four and five as well. He just sit on his punches, waited just enough for Burns to miss and countered him, making it look so easy.
Burns mounted a comeback in the sixth round, using fast one-two combinations on his way out to prevent Beltran from capturing him. He did even better in the seventh, but it looked like Beltran took his feet from the gas pedal to save some much needed energy. He did save it. Early into the eighth he jumped in with a left hook to the body, followed by a left hook to the jaw, that sent Burns down. The defending champion beat the count and fought back valiantly but lost the round with a good margin.
Round nine was close, and could have been scored for either fighter. From that point on, however, the game was all Beltran's. Burns, on the other hand, suffered from a broken jaw and clinched every time he was cornered or put to the ropes. Controversial referee Phil Edwards did his part of the job too, failing to deduct any points from the champion for constant grabbing and holding.
It's to be noted that Burns ended the fight on a high note, giving all he had in the closing rounds. Still, the feeling was he didn't do enough to save his championship. Yet, the scores stunned everyone once again. Burns made the fourth defense of his lightweight regalia. Beltran is going back to the States, standing out as a real winner, albeit without a belt.
Beltran hasn’t fought since. When he does, he deserves a second chance to right one of 2013’s biggest wrongs.
At least its tying verdict in this awards category didn’t cost anyone a title.
Making his first start after losing a Middleweight belt to the man who never stopped being the real champion of the division in the first place, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. followed up his losing 2012 effort to Sergio Martinez by failing a drug test and getting sent to the sidelines for most of a year. When he returned, he dramatically failed to make the Super Middleweight limit he was supposed to compete at. Then, he mostly failed in the ring.
Judges Gwen Adair (98-92), Carla Caiz (96-94), and Marty Denkin (97-93) failed worse.
Dear readers, your co-recipient of Robbery of the Year dishonors…
09/28/2013 – Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. UD10 Brian Vera
Bryan Vera did not have a chance. Not a few months ago when his fight with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. was postponed.
Nor when he and his team signed off on allowing Chavez to come in over a contracted weight on three separation occasions.
And especially when most in the boxing world thought he did enough to defeat Chavez in their scheduled 10 round bout at the Stubhub Center in Carson, CA.
Instead, Vera wound up on the short end of the stick, when the boxing world still had the name “CJ Ross” fresh in their memories.
Apparently, the 5,206 in attendance, even the diehard of Chavez fans, did not know whether to cheer or act surprised when the scores were announced.
What more could Vera have done in this fight? Known more for his awkward and aggressive style, Vera boxed well during the early stages of the fight. Chavez looked to counter, but may have been thrown off at times as to what to do because of the different looks Vera gave him.
By the third round, Chavez began to press the action aggressively. He was rewarded by landing more left hooks to the head of Vera. The problem was Chavez looked somewhat winded by the end of the fourth round, due to expending more energy at this point of the fight.
Vera returned to what had worked well for him earlier in the fight. He boxed from the outside, throwing combinations that ended with a right cross that would at times hit its mark.
Chavez came on in the sixth round, landing a hard right hand to the head of Vera, who looked stunned momentarily. Sensing he could possibly stun Vera again, Chavez landed a hard left hook to the head of Vera at the end of the seventh round.
While Vera did well in the eighth and ninth rounds, he avoided going to the body, continuing to match Chavez with power punches to the head. Vera had a big round in the ninth, at times snapping Chavez’s head back.
Sensing he was down, Chavez came on, digging hooks to the body of Vera. Chavez looked as though a miracle fell in his lap in the last 30 seconds when he had Vera against the ropes. But Vera survived the onslaught, raising his hands in celebration, thinking he did more than enough to defeat Chavez.
Instead, he was dealt heartbreak and agony.
While there were many who saw pro-Chavez scores as ‘acceptable’ at 96-94, the real controversy came in the wide scoring gaps awarded to the spoiled scion by Adair and Denkin. Chavez’s post-fight interview, full of all his father’s once grating arrogance after another display that proved he has a thimbleful of his talent, only added to the nasty aftertaste the bout provided.
Burns-Beltran and Chavez-Vera: your BoxingScene Robberies of 2013.
They have company.
01/19/2013: Rocky Martinez D12 Juan Carlos Burgos: In a clash for the WBO Jr. Lightweight belt, Martinez retained. He shouldn’t have. Burgos, challenging for a title for the second time after a failed effort versus Hozumi Hasegawa at Featherweight, looked like he did more than enough this time around. Judge Waleska Roldan (117-111) saw Burgos’ effort the way most of the viewing audience did. Judges Tony Pallilo (116-112 for Martinez) and John Signorile (114-114) saw something else. Martinez went on to lose his belt to Mikey Garcia later in the year. Burgos will challenge Garcia in January 2014. Let’s hope, win or lose, Burgos gets the verdict he earned this time around.
02/23/2013 – Malik Scott D10 Vyacheslav Glazkov: After years of jokes about his penchant for eight-round unanimous decision wins, Scott came into 2013 finally poised to make his move at Heavyweight. In the first of two appearances here, he went out and showed the world what many had said for years: this was a real boxing talent. Scott outboxed and outfoxed Glazkov for most of the fight, winning what appeared to be at least seven or eight rounds. Judge John Poturaj got it right (98-92). In the opinion of many observers, Judges John McKaie (96-92 for Glazkov…no, really) and Julie Lederman (95-95…no, really) completely screwed the pooch on this one. The number ten, in this case rounds, loomed large in Scott’s year. To be continued…
07/20/2013 – Dereck Chisora TKO6 Malik Scott: In an intriguing Heavyweight clash, Scott built a lead doing what he does (boxing) and Chisora began to wear him down doing what he does (brawling). In the sixth, Chisora scored a knockdown and Scott went down for a count. Resting on one knee and clear headed, Scott looked to his corner and then at referee Phil Edwards. At nine, he rose. Edwards waved it off. For the traveling fighter, 10 turned out to be a matter of semantics. As ridiculous as the stoppage was, some of the British media trying to explain why the stoppage was justified was even better. Tally ho.
09/14/2013 – Floyd Mayweather MD12 Canelo Alvarez: The outcome here was 100% correct. Mayweather beat Alvarez and beat him easy. The robbery came by way of scorecards that didn’t reflect the action. Mayweather may have won every round of the fight; charitably one could find, maybe, three rounds for Alvarez. Judge Craig Metcalfe found those (117-111). Judge Dave Moretti was far more, far too, charitable in giving Alvarez four (116-112). Then there was CJ Ross. 114-114. It was the score that started a thousand memes and a million tweets. A firestorm of criticism ensued. It was akin to the outcry after Eugenia Williams, with a straight face, turned in a score with Evander Holyfield beating Lennox Lewis in their infamous first 1999 clash. Within four days, Ross had stepped down as a Nevada official. Her statement read, in part, “I will be taking some time off from boxing but will keep in touch.”
Don’t call us CJ. We won’t call you.
11/23/2013 – Carl Froch TKO9 George Groves: Before the judges could screw this one up, referee Howard John Foster bailed them out and ruined what might have ended up the Fight of the Year. The IBF/WBA Super Middleweight titlist Froch got off the floor in the first round and slowly grinded his way back into the fight after the younger, quicker Groves appeared to build a strong lead. The tide started to turn and by the ninth Froch had Groves rocked.
In a fight no one but Foster would have thought complete, he jumped in for one of the worst stoppages since Michael Dokes-Mike Weaver I. Would Froch have finished the dramatic comeback? Would the younger man have found a second wind and finished the upset? We’ll never know because Foster screwed both the fighters, and the fans, out of a genuine finish. The judges had it close enough to wonder what the hell they were watching too before the stoppage. It was an all-around fleecing of Groves who earned better in the previous eight rounds.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]