Keith Kizer is standing behind referee Russell Mora, but admits that Mora did a 'subpar' job on Saturday. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Though the IBF has ordered an immediate rematch between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko, controversy continues to swirl around referee Russell Mora for his performance in the fight, which many feel -- as the IBF stated -- impacted the outcome of the fight, and the fight itself from a general standpoint. Mora has been intensely criticized for not penalizing Abner Mares for repeated low blows in the fight, including an 11th round knockdown call on a clear low blow that sent the boxing community into an uproar.
Mora, a veteran referee, has worked many notable fights in the past, and largely without much major incident. He was even the referee for the fight last year between Brandon Rios and Anthony Peterson, where Peterson was appropriately warned, penalized, and eventually disqualified for repeated low blows.
The Nevada Athletic Commission has taken the stance that Mora was not corrupted or influenced by promoters or anyone else, and executive director Keith Kizer made his own feelings on the matter clear today.
"Like most, I think Russell Mora is a very good referee, who did a subpar job last Saturday," Kizer told Bad Left Hook.
It has also recently been said that Don King Promotions, and specifically their vice president of boxing operations Dana Jamison, requested before the fight that Mora be removed as a referee for allegedly being biased toward Golden Boy fighters. Kizer says that's not quite the case.
"Don King Promotions never requested that Mora be removed," said Kizer. "Rather, Dana Jamison called me about eight days before the bout and said Don King had been told by someone that Mora was a 'Golden Boy ref.' She said Mr. King wanted me to know he received that comment."
So Kizer and Nevada have made their decision clear: Mora will not be suspended, fined, or anything along those lines, and certainly won't have his referee's license revoked or anything that harsh. Instead, he will be "rehabbed," refereeing lower-level fights for the time being.
What's not clear is how boxing fans will take the news that Mora is essentially being given a slap on the wrist, and that this will appear to some as another case of a boxing commission or sanctioning body trying to brush controversy under the rug and get it to disappear as quickly as possible. You can make your own call on that.