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All Three Judges Suspended in Williams vs Lara Controversy

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

The RING reports that all three judges -- Donald Givens, Hilton Whitaker Jr, and Al Bennett -- from last Saturday's incredibly controversial Paul Williams vs Erislandy Lara bout in New Jersey have been suspended by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.

The fight's scores, which were 114-114, 115-114 and 116-114, giving Williams a majority decision win, sparked true outrage among boxing media, fans, and even many fighters who spoke out against the decision. Most observers felt Lara clearly won the bout, and the decision has been under fire for days now.

This is from The RING:

After conducting a full review of the controversial scoring, the NJSACB concluded that there was "no evidence of bias, fraud, corruption or incapacity on the part of any of the judges," and therefore, the government agency is not authorized to invalidate the decision or mandate a rematch, although the commissioners believe a return bout is warranted.

However, the NJSACB was "unsatisfied with the scoring of the contest, even after hearing the explanations from the judges." Thus all three were placed on indefinite suspension and "required to undergo additional training prior to their return to professional boxing."

As for a rematch, I fully agree with our own Andrew Fruman, who said that a rematch would almost give validity to the scoring of Saturday's fight. Lara's performance should be treated as a win, and Paul Williams frankly didn't fight well enough to deserve a rematch. If the scores had been what most felt they should have been, would anyone be calling for a rematch, besides maybe Paul Williams?

It's good to see the NJSACB do anything, and nice to see bad judging finally held accountable in one of these cases. It's a minor victory for the credibility of the sport, but this will happen again, and it won't take too long before it does. Many cases as bad as this, or close to this bad, have come and gone with nothing really happening at all. Until this becomes the norm for blatant incompetence (or worse), then feel free to be happy, but don't treat it like the end of a great battle or anything.

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