(Note: This article was originally written in 2004.)
By Scoop Malinowski
Controversial decisions in boxing have been around since the origins of the sport. And lately we’ve had our unfair share, including Augustus-Burton, Golota-Ruiz, Tarver-Johnson, Golota-Byrd and Navarro-Kawashima.
Very little action has been taken to remedy this terrible ill of the great sport. Something has to be done.
I have an idea. How about employing ex-boxers to be judges? Who understands the art of boxing, effective aggression and ring generalship better than a former professional fighter?
Larry Hazzard is a former fighter who was a superb referee. Many other boxers have become refs, such as Eddie Cotton, Jersey Joe Walcott and Randy Neumann. It doesn’t make sense that there are so few (if any) boxers working as professional judges today.
Former fighters like Iran Barkley, Jackie Tonowanda, Juan Laporte, Alex Stewart, Alex Ramos and Gerry Cooney I am sure would make excellent judges if they were given the chances.
I believe boxing commissions around the world should consider the innovation of adding one or even two former boxers to work as part of their official judging trios. It could be a nice payday for the boxers as well, especially the ones who have struggled with the transition from a boxing career to regular work. I have full confidence that boxers can adequately handle the responsibilities of being professional judges.
Today there are many former fighters who are working as TV commentators, boxing journalists, promoters, non-profit fundraising organization heads, etc. Why not employ some former fighters as professional boxing judges?
With the preponderance of horrendous decisions lately, the time is right to do something constructive. There is nothing more despicable in boxing than to see a winning fighter getting robbed of a victory by incompetent or corrupt judges. I believe that a former fighter with a fair reputation would have more empathy and respect for the two prizefight participants than some of these questionable judges we know nothing about.
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