Aside from Canelo Alvarez’s hard-fought decision over John Ryder, the big story out of Guadalajara last Saturday was Stevie Spark’s controversial loss to perennial spoiler Gabriel Gollaz. Spark hit the deck early, but took over down the stretch with relentless volume and seemed to have done enough to earn the win. Two of the judges, both from Jalisco, disagreed.
As it turns out, they weren’t even supposed to be there. Fox Sports Australia’s Ben Damon revealed on Saturday that Jeremy Hayes, Gerardo Martinez, and Joseph Pasquale were supposed to have the assignment alongside their scoring of the main event. Spark (16-3, 14 KO) alleges that local officials attempted to switch the referee as well,
“We were meant to have the same judges as Canelo vs Ryder,” he explained.
“We found out after we got out of the ring, they switched out two of the judges to the local commission. Both of those judges are from Guadalajara and they’re the ones that gave it to him.
“It was all in writing who was actually going to be judging and officiating the event. They tried to switch the referee, and we found out after that they switched the judges last minute, two local judges.
“(Matchroom) told us they’re going to look into the judge switching.
“You’re messing with people’s lives. Incompetent, corrupt whatever it may be, you change someone’s life. You’d like to see these people held accountable.
“I was a bit upset for about an hour, but you have to just pull yourself together and go again. I should have got him (Valenzuela) out of there, but I’ll come again. This won’t affect my career.”
Ruben Cruz, one of the alleged ringers, had only ever judged 29 pro fights.
Eddie Hearn backed up Spark’s account in an interview with iFL TV. As Damon points out, the ring announcement claimed that the judges were from Puerto Rico, the USA, and Canada, which lines up with the Hayes/Martinez/Pasquale roster.
Is anything going to come of this? Probably not. Outside of the famous Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara incident, officials and commissions are weirdly invincible. Arthur Mercante Jr still gets work after letting Beethaeven Scotland die and throwing the towel back out so Miguel Cotto could abuse a one-legged Yuri Foreman, Adelaide Byrd is still a fixture at Nevada events, and Gloria Martinez Rizzo continues to get assignments despite being a cartoonishly blatant racist.
All we can hope is that Spark gets the bigger opportunities he deserves.