By Keith Idec
Much like virtually everyone else who watched Friday night, Artie Pelullo couldn’t believe what he heard once the scores were read.
The veteran promoter from Philadelphia knew his fighter, Zhora Hamazaryan, convincingly beat Thomas Mattice in their eight-round lightweight fight. Armenia’s Hamazaryan dropped Mattice in the second round, hurt him badly in the seventh and seemingly did more than enough in between to win at WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa.
Two judges still scored the fight for Cleveland’s Mattice and he won a split decision. Showtime’s Barry Tompkins and Steve Farhood, who called the fight from ringside as part of the network’s “ShoBox” series, called the scoring of Mattice-Hamazaryan some of the worst they’ve seen in their long careers.
Pelullo plans to file a protest with the Iowa Athletic Commission.
“When I heard the decision, it was terrible – just terrible,” Pelullo told BoxingScene.com. “The level of incompetence by the judges in Iowa who handled this fight was terrible. [Hamazaryan] won the fight. He clearly beat the other guy. It was just really, really bad officiating.”
The two judges who scored the fight 76-75 for Mattice – Mike Contreras and Jeff Sinnett – each scored Mattice (13-0, 10 KOs) the winner of four straight rounds (three through six). The third judge, Bob LaFratte, credited Hamazaryan with a 77-74 victory.
“I spoke to Joe Walsh [Friday] night,” Pelullo said, referring to the executive director of the Iowa Athletic Commission. “He seems like a very reasonable guy. He seems like a man that will do the right thing when reviewing the fight. I think he’s gonna do the right thing. I think when he reviews the tape he’ll see there was an injustice. And then I’m hoping that he overturns the decision.”
Regardless, Pelullo suspects that the 22-year-old Hamazaryan (9-1, 6 KOs) will be able to bounce back quickly from this controversial loss because it was obvious he deserved to win. He still feels badly for his fighter.
“The kid came from Armenia and this is his whole life,” Pelullo said. “He had a great amateur background and when he was asked to fight, in his second fight in America, an undefeated kid in an eight-rounder on ‘ShoBox,’ he said, ‘Yes. No problem.’ And he won, but he got cheated. He absolutely got cheated. The kid was distraught, really beside himself. When you’re a young guy and this is what you live for, you don’t believe you’re gonna get cheated by the officials at ringside.
“It’s very devastating to his psyche because it’s like, ‘What more do I have to do? I won the fight, but I lost the decision.’ I read on Twitter today where somebody said, ‘Well that’s boxing.’ That’s the wrong answer. Nobody should say, ‘That’s boxing.’ These kind of things are devastating to people’s careers. That’s how they make a living and feed their families. It’s not right.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.