10 Most Controversial Calls in Boxing History

Boxing’s Controversial Calls

Part 1 of 4

The year 2011 has not been a year left untouched by controversial decisions & indecision. The last four months especially have been brimful of talking points that are destined to become staple fodder for debate among followers of the sweet science of boxing in the years ahead.

Here then are my ten most controversial calls in the history of the sport – by referee &/or judges.

10. Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield I

The March 1999 unification bout between Evander Holyfield & WBC belt holder Lennox Lewis was supposed to restore the relevance of the heavyweight championship of the world in the collective consciousness. Establishing a legitimate unified champion should have been a simple exercise. It proved to be anything but with the judges ruling the contest a draw despite Lewis blatantly accumulating round after round as he, seemingly, appeared to coast to a lopsided decision victory. An immediate rematch was ordered by all three sanctioning bodies; though the damage to the sport’s prestige had by then already been done.

9. Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvelous Marvin Hagler

The 1987 return of Ray Leonard was a clash of mentalities & fistic ideologies. The boxer against the slugger. The Olympic gold medalist against the graduate summa cum laude of the School of Hard Knocks. The result? Well perhaps the easiest way to discern what type of boxing fan a person is in one question. Hagler never laced up a pair of gloves again; officially retiring into legend in June of 1988 with the taste of a split decision loss of his 6.5 year reign as middleweight kingpin fresh in his mouth.

8. Roy Jones Junior Robbed at Seoul 1988

Jones obliterated outmatched opponents winning every single round en route to the Gold medal fight. The final saw Jones out land South Korea’s Park Si-Hun 86 punches to 32. The South Korean gold medal winner even apologized to Jones. The referee was also befuddled by the judge’s decision. One judge admitted the call was a mistake. All three judges voting against Jones (he lost 2-3) were later suspended. Some nine years later an International Olympic Council investigation concluded three of the judges were showered with inappropriate hospitality by South Korean officials prior to the Gold medal showdown.

Despite the results of their investigation the IOC officially stands by the judges’ decision. Jones won the award for the best stylistic boxer of the Seoul Olympic Games. This marked only the third time in Olympic history the award went to a non-Gold medal winner. The Roy Jones gold medal judging debacle led organizers to establish a new scoring system for boxing at the Olympic Games.

Matt Hamilton, for ESNewsReporting!

Matt Hamilton ESNewsReporting

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