Too often in the sport of boxing, the fate of dedicated professionals who have worked all their lives for their opportunity is left in the hands of inept judges.
This weekend, 31-year-old British super middleweight Paul Smith travelled over to Kiel in Germany to face off with veteran WBO world champion Arthur Abraham.
Abraham - aged 34 - has been in with the best in the division time and time again and has proven himself to be a very dangerous champion. He has been in with the likes of Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, Andre Ward and Robert Stieglitz.
Smith went over to Germany with most experts writing him off and believing that Abraham had too much for a man who had been beaten at domestic level. Smith hadn’t been in with the same quality of opposition in his career to date and many felt that would count against him.
Smith gave a great performance on the night and one which has proven to all the doubters that he belongs at world level. Abraham started quickly and took the early rounds with his solid jab but Smith took the majority of the later rounds.
The fight was close but there appeared to be better work done by Smith with his higher work rate and sustained attack to the body of the champion. Smith implemented the gameplan of trainer Joe Gallagher very well and did enough to claim the win for my money.
With the fight being away from home you unfortunately expect a bit of home-town scoring in favour of the home fighter in close rounds. Be that as it may, what was revealed as the scorecard is pure and simply an outrage.
Abraham was given the fight on the scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 117-111 which is an absolute disgrace to the sport of boxing. This was a highly competitive fight between two tough men and for a judge to say that Smith only won one round is disgusting.
People with no boxing knowledge whatsoever would have scored the fight more fairly and a real sense of unjustness leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. You could understand a draw being scored or maybe even a win to Abraham by a point but much beyond that is simply wrong.
Smith denied credit
Smith turned up away from home and put up the fight of his life and for many should have walked away as world champion but instead he has to live with the record books showing a one-sided contest took place.
Huge credit has to go to Smith for not only the way in which he performed on the night but also for the class with which he conducted himself following the announcement of the fight result. He showed himself to be a true gentleman. He didn’t lose his temper and start screaming and shouting but instead kissed his son on the cheek and told him that he loved him.
Post-fight, he said: "What can you do? It's disgusting. It's the main thing I hate about boxing. Most of them have never fought and they're robbing kids of life changing opportunities."
"I proved I'm not British level. I did some things wrong but I did a lot of it right. I was outworking him every round for me. I was shading a lot of the rounds. It's Germany, I well and truly got my fingers burnt."
Inept judging a major issue
Far too often this is allowed to happen and it is destroying our sport. How can we possibly hope to attract new, casual fans to come to fights or pay for subscription based programmes if they are going to have to witness such inept scoring?
Boxing often gets a bad name as being corrupt or dirty and to a large extent that is hugely unfair but scoring like this does the ‘noble art’ no favours at all.
Smith deserves a rematch without a shadow of doubt and it seems that promoter Eddie Hearn will be speaking to the WBO about that and the possibility of being named mandatory challenger.
I don’t like to criticise judges and referee’s too much as they have a very subjective job but Fernando Laguna needs pulling up on this scorecard. There is no logical way that anyone could have come to that wide a scorecard.
There has to be action to prevent such ridiculousness in the sport and most importantly to make sure that boxers get what they deserve.
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