Now that ref should lose his job!!!! That was a complete robbery. A disgrace if there ever was one.
Now that ref should lose his job!!!! That was a complete robbery. A disgrace if there ever was one.
Russell (Expanded Strike Zone) Mora thought he was an umpire instead of a referee. His strike zone was anything below the knees!!!!!!!!!
When Jim Grey showed him the replay of an obvious low blow (which Mora scored a knockdown) he said he saw the punch as "on the beltline" and stated he'd have to "review the tapes" before making any further comment. Mora is another official added to the hall of shame!
Andreas Hale & Anthony Springer Jr.
Photos by Chris Cozzone
A referee is supposed to be the invisible third man in the ring. Never should he make a difference in how the fight ends. Russell Mora changed all of that on Saturday nigh at Showtime's Bantamweight Tournament Final between IBF champion Joseph Agbeko (28-3, 22 KOs) and WBC Silver titlist Abner Mares (22-0-1, 13 KOs)
It was a hard fought 12-round battle that saw Mares earn a majority decision and capture the IBF title as the tournament’s victor. It’s too bad that the decision was marred by constant low blows from Mares that Russell Mora neglected to penalize the Mexican for – including an obvious low blow that was scored a knockdown in the 11th round. Because of that, the fight became more about Mora than it was about the gritty fight that the two 118 pounders put on at The Joint inside of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.
The fight started completely in Mares favor as he came out with an aggressive attack that left Agbeko blown away. Part of that attack was a dedicated body assault that appeared to take some of the fight out of the Ghanaian. However, some of those body blows travelled south. Initially, it was an oversight by Mora along with a first round knockdown by Mares where a punch never landed. The oversight in the early rounds became sheer neglect as the fight progressed. As Mares continued to rack up the rounds, Agbeko had to soak up the multiple low blows that Mora somehow managed to not do anything about.
The tide slowly began to change once Agbeko figured out that Mares was susceptible to the jab and the overhand right. A crushing right hand in the fourth round stopped Mares in his tracks, but Agbeko didn’t follow-up. But despite not capitalizing on the opportunity, Agbeko swung the pendulum in his favor and found success with aggression in the later rounds. The low blows, however, kept coming. Although they weren’t intentional, fighters have been docked points for far less than what Mares managed to do.
Despite the foul festival, Agbeko’s aggression and jab brought him back into the fight. As the championship rounds rolled around, the fight appeared to be in striking distance of pulling off the comeback.
Then it happened.
With Agbeko having a strong 11th round, a Mares body shot strayed below the belt line and directly into Agbeko’s groin. It was assumed that Mora would finally dock Mares for the repeated low blows. That certainly was not the case. Rather than deduct a point, Mora shocked everyone in attendance as he started his count. Agbeko protested the knockdown but to no avail. Although he finished the fight strong, the low blows and the two questionable knockdowns ended up making the difference as both judges Oren Shellenberger and Adalaide Byrd scored the fight 115-111 for Mares and CJ Ross saw it 113-113.
LATimes story on the fight
Even thought I don't particularly enjoy watching either of these guys, I had much higher hopes for this fight.
Agbeko didn't look sharp from the start and Mares needs to concentrate on his accuracy rather than be aggressive for the sake of being so.
Now throw the ref into the mix and the fight, other than in a few spots, kind of sucked to watch.
The ref totally blew it.
If proper deductions were given and Agbeko wasn't hit low all night, I think he would have taken the fight.
At worst this should have been a draw.
Kudos to the Showtime guys for trying to get this ref to own up to his mess.
told you guys that showtime and hbo are committed to createing black american, mexican or mexican american champions because the fan base is huge. Mares didnt beat Darchinyan and the ref was in on that one also. You see it over and over that the foreign fighters cant catch a break here cause they dont bring in the customers.
That being said Mares is a tuff kid in good shape, but he is not a clean puncher. He is aggressive but is not on point with his blows. He has been punching low for two fights now and getting away with it mostly. Anybody who boxes can tell you that it saps the man catching the blows.
Yep, I want a rematch, but I really wouldn't be sad if Mares somehow got a fight made with Donaire, because Nonito would blow him out of that ring!
That said, the whole Bob Arum ego thing won't allow it due to having to work with GBP! So we really needed Agbeko to win to get the top two bantamweights to fight! (Moreno is nowhere near one of the best bantams and will be exposed when he has to fight one of the actual top guys).
Agree though that things look set up for the guys with the larger followings. It is a disgrace! I cannot believe how well Agbeko handled himself, because I would have hit that ref if I was him!
Keith Kizer, head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said he encouraged referee Russell Mora to engage in consultations with the state's respected veteran referees Kenny Bayless, Tony Weeks and Joe Cortez after Mora admitted mistakes in Saturday night's International Boxing Federation bantamweight title victory by Hawaiian Garden's Abner Mares over Joseph Agbeko.
Mora isn't expect to work another major fight in Nevada this year, with the schedule including Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz in September and Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manquez in November.
Donaire would KO Mares and I'm fairly certain he would beat Agbeko without too much trouble (even without punching him in the nuts 20x).
I love to be the contrarian, so here goes. I mean to defend Russell Mora a little bit. I think the television commentary found an issue and stuck with it to an unreasonable and quite frankly annoying degree. The vast majority of the low blows were caused by Agbeko pulling Mares' head down. But for his getting his head pulled down, the low blows would never have taken place. The commentators completely missed that, but I didn't, and neither did the referee. Agbeko never stopped pulling Mares' head down, which is a foul, which could have cost him points. Agbeko also threw several rabbit shots that were not penalized either. I say even-steven. In addition, most of the supposed low blows were on the belt line. Anyone who knows anything about modern boxing knows that boxers today wear big foul protectors under their belts, and a massive pad covers the beltline. Shots on the beltline aren't going to hurt, and if they do, they are going to hurt even less than a shot that lands to the flesh. Those punches had no impact. Plus, just watch how Mares throws them - they are arm punches. Those weren't hard blows at all, so combine that with the pad and there was no effect upon the fight other than having to constantly hear about it, although the head pulling that caused most of the low blows went unnoticed by the t.v. crew.
All that said, to be fair, Mares did land enough legit low blows that he should have had a point taken off. I just don't think it was to the degree that folks are making it out to be. You can't count those borderline shots or the ones where the contributory foul could have played a part in the blow straying low. Also, the referee should have given him more stern warnings and called time, given Agbeko a break, and then told Mares that the next time it would cost him a point. Mills Lane used to be great about that. That would have made it clear to Mares, and he would have had no complaints if he did it again.
I think what really got Mora into trouble was the low blow that he not only missed, but chose to call a knockdown in the 11th round. That should have been a time out plus a point off Mares, not a knockdown. I don't think Mora really saw the punch. When I looked at his face and direction of his gaze at the moment the punch was thrown and landed, it looks to me like he was looking at Mares, not at Agbeko. He blew it. But let's face it. Refs are human. Sometimes they miss things. It happens to the best. The refs can be taller than the fighters, and their visual perspective can be focusing in one direction or plane/level and angle at one moment and a split second later something happens elsewhere. I think more refs should try to position themselves further away from the action because as hard as this may be to believe, it is actually harder to see a larger visual field from a close up distance when you are standing and the action is happening below you (ie. body shots or low blows) than it would be if you were watching things from further away. A ref is trying to maintain a visual field for four arms and fists standing across from one another, both high and low, and the angles of the visual field are constantly shifting. The way the fighters stand can also block the visual field at certain moments. Refs try to shift to maintain the best position, but it isn't always easy, and your position is not always going to be perfect. You have to factor in the angle he's standing at, plus the fact that punches happen very quickly, and the ref does not have the benefit of instant replay.
Problem is, if he didn't see it, he should have called time and polled the judges. If he said he saw it on the belt line, he is either not telling the truth or he is foolish, or at worst, biased. Compound that blown call with the unpenalized low blows throughout the bout, and you have the perception of bias, even if it wasn't actually so. The fact that he saw it on the video as clear as day and still tried to sell the belt line argument made him look even worse. He should have just said, 'Oh hell, I blew it. I missed it. I didn't see it.' Or, 'At the time I thought it was on the belt-line, but now I see that it wasn't. I'm sorry.' He screwed up, no doubt.
All that said, ultimately, I like to judge a ref on their overall body of work. No matter what the official, in any sport, they all have bad nights - football, baseball, basketball, etc. That is the human factor. You try to get the best officials, the ones who have the least number of bad moments, but bottom line is they are all going to have them. I can whip out video of blown calls even by the best in history. If someone can show that Mora has a pattern of bias or incompetence, I would join those who call for his banishment, but until then, let's not be too rash. I would need to know more about his calls as a referee before I would want to jump onto the bandwagon calling for his destruction.
Cortez: Never let Hatton fight on the inside once against Mayweather, left a fighter on the deck bleeding and injured, unattended and all alone while conferring with ringside officials, then the Francisco v Soto fight below,
Weeks, let Corrales spit his mouthpiece out and instead of waiting for a lull in the action twice robbed Castillo of a knockout, by letting Coralles recover with that ploy. is so out of shape he cannot get around the ring and out of the way of the boxers.
Bayliss, was an inspector who wanted to become a referee and was in favor with the Commission. They made him a ref at his request. He becomes too emotionally involved in the bouts, gesticulating wildly at the fighters stabbing out at them with his hands while not maintaining calm and making wild faces while talking to them constantly.
What if anything can they tech Mora?
Finally with all respect there is no foul proof cup ever made that can stop the pain of a body shot, if you don't believe me, buy any one of your choice and get into a ring and let a pro fighter blast you on the belt line while you are wearing it.
When confronted with the film of the egregious low blows permitted Mora totally bullshitted Jim Gray with his evasive and furtive answers which came over really badly and were so transparent it was embarrassing. It was not a legitimate knockdown. A 5 minute time out should have been called AFTER the call Intentional or Unintentional low blow was called out loud enough for all concerned to hear.
Then either a TKO or DQ would be the result depending upon the unintentional or intentional call if the stricken fighter could not continue after the time out.
Add to that a point or two point deduction for the very low foul punch below the navel we all saw.
Sorry, despite these refs being used all the time, the boxing public and boxing experts know how many fights those 3 guys have fouled up.
Whether you are in good stead with a slew of boxing writers or not, does not make you a good referee. The constant yelling of gibberish to the boxers, breaking them constantly at the wrong time, failing to let them fight on the inside, leaving them on the deck unattended and hurt, ruining one big fight after another, having father's, brothers, relatives with connections in Texas, Nevada or NY doesn't mean shit to me, nor do pet slogans during the mid ring instructions.
Worst choice of officials that have been riding the gravy train too long with none of their horrible mistakes ever resulting in their pals sitting them down for keeps.
What is this guy going to learn from the big 3 mentioned? After that unforgettable interview with Jim Gray, literally being shown what he did and then denying it, he should be shown one thing and one thing only.
How to tell the truth.
The one comment that really drove the point home for me is when the commentators said "Maybe Agbeko should have complained more." Normally I am the first person who says a fighter should never look for help from the ref, but for a second there I actually agreed with them.
In the end all Mora will get is the equivalent of a public wrist slap.
He will then move on with his life and get future assignments as if nothing happened.
Meanwhile Agbeko can only hope he gets another shot at GBP-protected Mares before he is 40.
Doesn't seem fair to me.
I'm sure Mora has had better nights than this but he is rightfully to blame here.
Those low blow shots and even the borderline ones definitely don't tickle.
If Mora doesn't think so he should let Agbeko tee off a few on him.
There is no excuse for the lousy job job Mora did Saturday nite, none-what-so-ever
The way Montiel went down and subsequently wobbled up should have been the end of the fight,
but Mora let it continue, (although he did stop it shortly thereafter).
One more SOLID shot from a puncher like Donaire could have spelled serious injury or worse.
How many more times do you roll the bad judgement dice?
That's right, this is boxing, the dice may be loaded sometimes.
Well, I don't fault Mora too much for giving Montiel a chance. Yes, he probably should have stopped it, and no it didn't look like he was going to be able to come back. However, Montiel wasn't some club fighter, but a very experienced veteran of the game, with lots of championship type experience, nearly 50 fights under his belt, with cagey skill and a good chin, never before having been stopped in his career. So if he got up and wanted to give it a try, I don't have a major problem with Mora giving a few seconds to try to collect himself and survive. After all, when Larry Holmes got decked by Renaldo Snipes, when he got up, his legs were so gone he literally fell face first into the cornerpost. But, wobbly legs and all, he managed to move, grab, fire back, and got himself out of trouble.
Hate to say it, but if those low shots were really bothering Agbeko, then he should have loaded up and blasted Mares with a huge low blow. That would have told him, "You stop doing that to me and I won't do it to you." I remember when Michael Dokes was hitting Evander Holyfield with several low blows, and Evander got fed up and blasted him dead center if you know what I mean. Dokes chilled it out after that. Evander later admitted he did it intentionally to let him know to cut it out. Self help is sometimes necessary in the boxing ring when the ref does you no favors.
After Montiel stumbled up, Mora motions FOUR times for Montiel to come to him, Montiel does not come forward, stands there gives him a "huh?" with his gloves, and the ref lets it continue.
What more evidence does he need that Montiel is not all there?
Yeah, you've made a great point there. Probably should have stopped it at that point, yes.
I'm not saying to crucify Mora for letting Montiel continue but I'm just trying to point out that there could be a trend of bad decisions here. These performances aren't quite adding up the way it should for a kind ref who should get these kind of assignments (whatever that means these days anyway). And these are the recent higher-profile fights we know about, I'd hate to think how this guy is performing when nobody gives a shit.
Assuming for a second that Mora knows the fighters somewhat before he gets in there and in fact gave the respect to Montiel to continue as a vet with a decent chin, he should have been equally aware and prepared (if not more so) that Mares can stray low with his punches.
I agree that maybe Agbeko should have taken matters into his own hands, but one could understand from his standpoint why he would be worried about a getting an immediate DQ for pulling such a move with the way things were looking.
Welterweight brother is right. this was a corrupt ref and its been that way for mares two fights in a row.
If you flagrantly, obviously and intentionally foul - You should have a point docked. That's the rules - Using Holyfield/Dokes as a precedent for the fighters action is to me just displaying a precedent for referee's not doing their job properly.
At the start of the fight - If the ref states in his instructions "Your protector and shorts are a little high so punches on the belt line are ok" then that is the referee's contract with the fighters and it is up to him to discern if a shot is low - Not to the fighter to fire back fouls in return.
If boxing referee's pay cheques and future fight assignments were determined on performance - Mora would be out of pocket and going back to the minors after that effort.
Good point. But you are talking what should be. I am talking about IF the ref isn't doing his job, you need to take action yourself.
IMO most fighters who do have a strategy to win fights by low blows will never let you know. They do it very sneaky. Because this is a shameful act. Accidents can happen but what Mares did is so clearly purposely dune. He kept doing it because he kept on getting away with it. So why should he quit a working strategy as long as it works? But it says something about the mentality of the man.
This was a real bad referee. But the corner of Agbeko, or maybe even himself, were just as bad. I always thought that guys like Lou Duva were overreacting or overdoing. Well these are just the guys Agbeko lacked. And because Agbeko allowed this to happen, to himself, I don’t think he was a great champion.
And this leaves me to a question. In football, when a real foul happened which the referee missed, camera pictures are used against the perpetrator. So how it’s possible Mares is still champion?