By James Blears
Referees at the World Boxing Council's 52nd convention have laid down the gauntlet to ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas, who's been lambasting ring officials. They made a demand to Atlas to come to the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas - and walk his walk, man to man, face to face.
This challenge comes directly from referee Frank Garza during the WBC's Ring Officials Seminar. The first one focused on judges. While this one concentrated on referees.
It was attended by greats past and present including: Joe Cortez, who coordinated the meeting, Richard Steele, Bruce McTavish, Vic Drukulich, Jay Nady, Mike Griffin, Robert Byrd, Tony Weeks, Lupe Garcia, Jack Reiss and Frank Garza.
Vic Drukulich had been explaining about a difficult fight between Brandon Rios and Diego Chaves in August, in which had to deduct two points from Chaves and one from Rios, before disqualifying Chaves in the ninth.
He said that in another fight Teddy Atlas had ridiculed another referee and the judges - commenting about that it was not much of a way to make a living.
Frank Garza was sterner in his criticism of Atlas saying: "He wants to be a national tsar of boxing for a lifetime job. If he really had a complaint, there are better ways to resolve it. I'm calling you out! Any time you have a [gripe], you are more than welcome to come here and address us face to face. Teddy...if you really are a boxing person. I do consider you a friend. I'm calling you out man to man. Let's clean up the sport together!"
In a presentation to the referees, legendary television boxing announcer Bob Sheridan conceded that television is looking for controversy' saying: " if they have the chance, they will crucify you! My responsibility is to boxing, because I love boxing."
He lamented the fact that few if any journalists were present in this seminar, particularly USA Today.
He also urged: "You have to work with television. When people criticize you, call them. Be definitive. Let us know. All you can do is call what you see. If you're going to stop it ( the fight), be definitive!