know when a decision has gone in favour of the less deserving fighter.
is announced and, suddenly, your body jerks upright. You stare unbelievingly
at the screen in front of you. While your eyes focus on the unfolding
events, your mind immediately tries to conjure up sort of some logic
in the judgement - on many occasions, an exercise in vain.
the most egregious decisions in the history of boxing occurred at the
end of last March’s infamous heavyweight championship fight between
Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield. There was definitely no logic to
be found as a seemingly dominant performance by Lewis only earned him
To be fair,
the decision in the Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad welterweight championship
bout was not bad enough to be considered “Hall of Shame” material. Still,
it caused some dismay for much of the boxing world, outside of Puerto
Rico. At the end of the fight, one could not help but be overwhelmed
by different feelings: there was the feeling that De La Hoya had done
enough to win the fight; the view that an out-boxed Trinidad had not
even won enough rounds to warrant a favourable decision. Nevertheless
two of the three judges, Bob Logist and Jerry Roth, scored the fight
in favour of Trinidad, while the third, Glen Hamada, had the bout even.
months after the Holyfield-Lewis fiasco and there were already some
new conspiracy theories. Were certain shady figures already looking
ahead to a lucrative rematch? Miami Herald sports columnist, Linda Robertson,
was one of those who smelled a rat:
just too much money at stake not to wonder who has thrust their greedy
hands into the pot. De La Hoya stands to make $28 million after the
TV pay-per-view profits are calculated. What would a rematch command?
Unlike Hollywood sequels, boxing rematches are even bigger at the box
suggested before, there is little evidence to suggest that there were
any hidden agendas involved in this one. Instead, there is another feeling:
that the final decision was related to a human error and that the one
person, who made the most serious mistake on the night of September
18, was Oscar De La Hoya, himself.
Boy” simply put too much faith in the judges at ringside as he gave
away the remaining three rounds of a fight that he had largely dominated.
He displayed little urgency as Trinidad peppered him with some powerful
combinations during the final nine minutes.
things still seemed in favour of De La Hoya who already had enough rounds
in the bag – or so it seemed. While it appeared that the East Los Angeles,
California native won rounds 5 to 9 - after splitting the first four
rounds 2-2 - the scoring of the judges reflected differing interpretations.
where the problem lay for De La Hoya. In boxing, it is very difficult
to find two people who harbour similar interpretations of close fights.
Because Trinidad was never really rattled by De La Hoya, he was able
to stay in there and keep the rounds close. As fight analyst Harold
Lederman revealed in his report on the HBO web site (www.hbo.com), there
were only seven rounds – two, three, four, five, six, ten and eleven
- for which all
three judges were unanimous in their scoring. Otherwise, there were
crucial differences when it came to the other five rounds of the fight.
It was these variations that belied De La Hoya’s sense of security going
into round ten.
rounds that he had seemingly won - seven, eight and nine - there were
dissenting opinions. Logist gave round seven to Trinidad. Similarly,
judge Hamada favoured the Puerto Rican in a close round eight. And,
while it seemed that round nine represented De La Hoya’s last winning
effort, only Hamada scored in his favour: the others gave the nod to
Trinidad. Thus, at the end of nine rounds, the scoring was like this:
Hamada had Oscar leading 87-84; but Roth had awarded four rounds to
Trinidad and, therefore, only gave De La Hoya an 86-85 edge; Logist,
meanwhile, had it even at 86-86.
not have given away those last three rounds.
apparently already confident of victory, he never showed any of the
finishing venom that had highlighted his efforts against Pernell Whitaker
and Ike Quartey. Oscar should have simply drawn upon this virtue and
should have continued to throw punches at Trinidad. Oscar should have
thrown down the gauntlet and countered Trinidad with his own firepower.
warrior decided to take a gamble and ended up being scalped in Las Vegas.
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