The IBF has denied a request from Gabriel Campillo's team to order an immediate rematch against light heavyweight titleholder Tavoris Cloud, reports Lem Satterfield of The RING.
Campillo lost a highly-criticized decision to Cloud on February 18 in Texas, after which the competence level of the three judges was called into question, given that one judge had only ever worked one world title fight, and another had worked zero. But the protests filed by Sampson Lewkowicz and Leon Margules have gone nowhere, and Margules released part of IBF president Darryl Peoples' statement to him:
"The judging of professional boxing events is subjective. While you have presented many media accounts disputing the scoring of the fight, these criticisms do not represent the opinions of professional boxing judges. Absent any proof of wrong doing, we must rely on the decisions rendered by the judges whether their decisions are popular or not," wrote Peoples.
"Any action taken by the IBF in this situation without proof of wrong doing or violation of IBF rules would serve to invalidate the decision of the judges. You pointed out in your letter dated February 27, 2011, 'While we do not believe that a judges’ scoring should normally be questioned', the IBF agrees with your position. Based on the foregoing, the IBF will not grant an immediate rematch in pursuant to Rule 5.K. of the IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contests."
A protest with the Texas commission still stands, wherein Margules is seeking an investigation into the judges, punishment of them, and the result of the fight changed to a no-contest. There is almost no way this results in anything.
While the scoring of boxing is subjective, there is flat-out no arguing that Cloud won this fight 116-110 (8-to-4 in rounds) as judge David Robertson scored it, or 114-112, as judge Joel Elizondo scored the fight. Tavoris Cloud did not win this fight.
I understand what the IBF is saying, and from a legal and rule-abiding standpoint, this basically has to be their stance. But the problem here is bigger than "this fight had bad scorecards." This is a symptom of boxing and consistently happens. It seems like every other week we have some dodgy scorecard, somewhere in the world, that is called into question, and deservedly so.
I'm not crazy about all this "hurts the sport of boxing" stuff, or "this is good for boxing" stuff either, but the fact that there is a segment of people who truly feel, informed or not, that the sport is "fixed" or "rigged" or fully corrupt, is bad for the sport of boxing. Nobody benefits from that. It keeps people from caring, and it has absolutely contributed to driving fans away. But nobody much cares because they're still making their TV money, so life is good and boxing is poised for a breakthrough, all the time, every year, with these next few young fighters, we're gonna make it up out the streets and into the penthouse, and then it never really happens. Boxing does a phenomenal job of consistently reminding people why they tuned out, if they forget.
None of this is unexpected, and I don't blame the IBF. They're right: Without proof that there was some kind of corruption going on here that impacted the scorecards, and it wasn't just a couple dummy judges or two guys having a bad night or whatever, there's nothing they can do.
From a boxing standpoint, I know a few things are also likely to be true:
- Tavoris Cloud's stock has taken a large hit, which will be forgotten as soon as they "match him right" next time out (if Cloud's lucky, Don King will find another fight for him this year) and get him a win that makes him look like a Hungry Undefeated Champion again.
- Gabriel Campillo's stock has risen, which will be forgotten as soon as he goes back to Europe and a lot of fans, particularly in the States, don't see him anymore.
- Texas will continue to be Texas, until this all eventually comes crashing down in a major way. Someone should mess with Texas.