DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.—“I am pleased to see that the International Boxing Federation, the organization that sanctioned the world championship match between IBF champion Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, took such swift action in ordering an immediate rematch.
“They wasted no time in determining that Russell Mora, the referee assigned to Agbeko vs. Mares, was in violation of their rules by displaying “inappropriate conduct” for ignoring repeated low blows against my fighter, Joseph Agbeko.
“I commend IBF President Daryl Peoples and IBF Championship Chariman Lindsey Tucker for confirming what everyone who witnessed the bout already knew. Too often, the first inclination when human frailty is exposed is to sweep it under the rug as though it never happened. It is to their credit that Mr. Peoples and Mr. Tucker confirmed that when obvious mistakes are made, it’s best to recognize them and attempt to immediately right the wrongs.
“It was a triple-blow against boxing by hurting fighters, discrediting world championship boxing and the great state of Nevada, where so many of boxing’s most memorable bouts have been staged. This has caused an undeserved negative shadow over Nevada. There should be an investigation to clear any and all doubts as to what occurred in this fight. The people deserve to know more about whatever caused this man to do what he did.
“The honor that was established by exceptional past members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission like Dr. Elias Ghanem, Chuck Minker, Marc Ratner, Dr. James Nave, Luther Mack, Duke Durden, Sig Rogich and many others brought boxing in Nevada to towering heights by being committed to following the rules with honor and integrity. They established an impeccable reputation, and to see the house they built being tarnished brings me great sadness. Inaction in this instance would be unacceptable.
“I urge the state of Nevada and its leaders to step up in similar fashion as the IBF has done. After all, they have an additional obligation to protect those making wagers by insuring that fair play is paramount in their state.
“I look forward to giving two great young athletes, Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares, the fair playing field they deserve to display their wonderful boxing skills.”