Alvarado vs Provodnikov judges: Reason for concern in Denver?

Doug Pensinger

Is there reason to be concerned about tomorrow's Alvarado-Provodnikov fight in Denver, where Alvarado will not only be the house promoter's fighter, but the hometown boy?

Nevada, California, Texas, Florida, New York, and New Jersey are the most familiar fight hubs for boxing in the United States, and each of them have had their glaring officiating issues forever and a day, and that hasn't stopped in recent years.

2013 has been a good year for boxing, but commissions have again come under fire because of questionable performances by judges, including recent fights like Mayweather-Canelo in Nevada and Chavez-Vera in California, among others.

Tomorrow night's HBO boxing main event will take place in Denver, Colorado, not exactly a major boxing city, and when the sport ventures into more or less uncharted modern territory, sometimes weird stuff happens. But the three judges assigned to the Alvarado-Provodnikov bout are fairly familiar names, for whatever that's worth.

Denny Nelson (Minnesota)

Nelson is a veteran judge who works mainly in his home state on club fights, but does get around some:

  • In 2013, Nelson has gone to Germany for Sturm-Radosevic and to Japan for Miyazaki-Velarde, both of which ended well inside the distance. He also worked Cleverly-Krasniqi and Walsh-Harrison in London, both easy fights to score that he scored right.
  • In 2012, he worked in Montreal for Stevenson-George, which was one-sided and stopped in the 12th round. He was also in Puerto Rico for the Salido-Lopez rematch, and had it 85-85 at the time of stoppage, which wasn't inconsistent with the other judges, who had it 86-84 for Lopez, and many felt that all three of them had it wrong, as Salido was thought to be clearly ahead.
  • Here's a really important one: Nelson worked the Cloud-Campillo debacle last year in Texas. He was the only one of the three judges to get the fight right and score it for Campillo (115-111).
  • In 2010, Nelson and two other judges (Oren Shellenberger and Jerry Roth) all saw Devon Alexander a 116-112 winner over Andriy Kotelnik. This was controversial to say the least.
  • He had Tim Bradley 118-110 over Lamont Peterson in 2009.
  • He's worked a solid amount of world title fights in Germany.

Robert Hoyle (Nevada)

A well-known veteran judge from Nevada, the biggest fight state in the country. Of course, that by itself means nothing, as we've seen time and time again.

  • Was part of the Bradley-Marquez crew this past weekend, scoring the bout 115-113 for Bradley. He also had Danny Garcia over Lucas Matthysse in September, 114-112.
  • Earlier this year, had the widest scorecard (117-109) for Daiki Kameda over Rodrigo Guerrero in Japan, and had Erislandy Lara up 85-84 when the Cuban stopped Alfredo Angulo.
  • Had a very questionable card in Rocky Martinez's split decision win in Macao against Diego Magdaleno, scoring it 116-111 for Magdaleno.
  • Had Floyd Mayweather over Miguel Cotto in 2012, 118-110.
  • Scored Toshiaki Nishioka over Rafael Marquez in 2011, 117-111.
  • Was the only judge who had Jorge Arce up (107-102) when Arce upset Wilfredo Vazquez Jr via 12th round stoppage. The other judges had it 104-104.
  • Scored Lara-Molina a draw, 95-95.

Levi Martinez (New Mexico)

Another veteran, works largely in his home state and in Texas.

  • In April, Martinez was the only judge who had Brian Viloria beating Juan Francisco Estrada, scoring what was a clear Estrada win for Viloria, 115-113. Also worked Martinez-Magdaleno that night, scoring it 115-112 for Martinez.
  • Was paid to sit ringside and collect a few coins while Nonito Donaire assaulted Jorge Arce last year.
  • Had an absurd 119-109 card for Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr over Rodrigo Guerrero. Sanchez winning wasn't a bad call, but 11-1 in rounds was wild.
  • Had Matthew Macklin 115-113 over Felix Sturm in that controversial bout. Most fans agreed with Martinez, many even feeling he had it too close but at least got the winner right.
  • Was paid to sit ringside and collect a few coins to decide that Manny Pacquiao beat Turtle Clottey 119-109.

The referee is Tony Weeks. You all know Tony Weeks. He's good at his job. If the question is whether or not there is reason to be concerned tomorrow, the answer is, you know, sure. There always is. That's just a reality. These are three established judges, but established judges "make mistakes" all the time. So what's the difference? I'm as skeptical of this group as I would be three guys who have never worked even a six-rounder before.

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