By Micheal Marley
New Jersey boxing bossman Aaron M. Davis, who on Wednesday announced the suspension of the three judges who blew the call on the Erislandy Lara-Paul Williams HBO bout in Atlantic City, is about to go from the proverbial frying pan and into the fire.
The Garden State has some high-level bouts upcoming, including Yuriorkis Gamboa-Ponce De Leon (AC) on Sept. 10, Chad Dawson-Bernard Hopkins Oct. 15 (Newark, Prudential Center) and then the Carl Froch-Andre Ward bout (AC) on Oct. 29.
Harold Lederman, HBO’s “unofficial judge,” told me that he believes the state’s panel of boxing judges is up to the task in those “high level” matches.
“I think Davis is on the ball now,” Lederman said. “He is out there trying to right a wrong. At least, he’s trying to do something.
“He’s not just sitting on his hands. He’s a good guy making the effort.”
Lederman said the ban on judges Don Givens, Al Bennett and Hilton Whitaker Jr. does not leave the state bereft of quality fight scorers.
“My daughter (Julie Lederman), Steve Weisfeld, Jon Stewart, Joe Pascquale, Lynne Carter, Robert Grasso, Luis Rivera and Barbara Perez…those are all good, experienced judges,” Lederman said. “Davis can also look to the Connecticut guys, to Don Trella and Glenn Feldman as well.
“I just think they have to be more selective in picking judges for these high profile kind of fights. It took me about 10 years to work my way up from four-rounders to main events. The only way you learn and improve is by working fights regularly.
"Also, expand the number of judges on these kind of shows. Have a pool of nine judges instead of three or six. A promoter like Dan Goossen may scream bloody blue murder if you bring in six or nine officials but I feel three judges can work all the underneath bouts and the main event judges should only work the main event.
“Look at every Hopkins fight, they are all hard to score so they will need the best judges for the bout with Bernard and Dawson. That one may be particularly hard to score.”
Ledrerman said, when he first started putting his judging pencil to paper at ringside, Madison Square Garden had an elite quartet of judges who did almost all of the major bouts, including Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali fights.
“I broke in during 1969 and the top New York judges were Artie Aidala, Jack Gordon, Bill Recht and Tony Castellano. That’s the way it should be, getting that needed experience.”
Lederman said fans should differentiate between a judge or judges getting a round or two wrong and a judge or judges getting the winner wrong.
"Any judge can blow a round or two, a round here or there, but what you don't want is the blowout result, a result where the final decision comes out all wrong.
"In this particular fight, that's what happened, they blew it wide open and got it wrong."
In other words, Davis must do a better job judging his judges before they sit down at ringside.