Saturday's Showtime card at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Miss., headlined by the Nate Campbell-Joan Guzman bout, is having a lot of trouble pertaning to the WBC and the Mississippi State Athletic Commission being at odds over judges in two fights.
The fights in question are the TV undercard matchup (Timothy Bradley-Edner Cherry for Bradley's 140-pound title) and an off-TV featherweight eliminator (Elio Rojas-Hector Velazquez).
The WBC has been adamant about appointing their own judges to the two fights, but the MSAC responded without backing down a hair:
"In the state of Mississippi, anyone that attempts or acts as a boxing judge without a commission licensing permit will be committing a felony. We strongly advise that no one should sit on the front row and act as a boxing judge. In the state of Mississippi we have and will always have neutral judging. We will pursue this through criminal channels if this were to happen. We have two international, well-known credible officials and two in-state credible officials working this bout. We feel it is biased for a sanctioning organization to pick and choose who they want judging world championship fights."
Well, how do you like that? An athletic commission that appears to take the most logical, unbiased, and neutral route, against a sanctioning body that is as questionable as they all are.
Of course, it doesn't just end right there, and the MSAC isn't getting its way that easily. Keith Terceira of BoxingScene.com reports that Mississippi boxing commissioner Jon Lewis is standing firm, though. While WBC boss Jose Sulaiman says that he will have people in the stands judging the fights, Lewis is threatening legal action:
"I have made myself very clear on the issue of judging fights from the stands, and how that is a felony in our state punishable by up to one year in state prison. I will turn over to our state attorney that matter for prosecution should that happen."
While I'd seriously doubt that anything major will happen on that front, the issue between the MSAC and WBC is serious, and Terceira speculates that if this isn't settled (and there isn't much time left to settle it), there could be a legal battle involving the WBC, the MSAC, Showtime, and promoters Don King and Gary Shaw. It certainly appears as though it could turn that way. Showtime, King and Shaw will be very likely to side with the WBC, even if they don't necessarily agree with them. After all, they do a lot more business with Sulaiman and his organization than they ever will the Beau Rivage Casino.