Don’t Make Silly Excuses for Blatant Mugging of Juan Carlos Burgos


By Ivan G. Goldman

We’re already hearing members of an uninformed chorus pronounce in suitably grave voices that because Rocky Martinez was the champion, Juan Carlos Burgos didn’t do enough to take the title from him, so the draw was therefore correct.

The truth? Burgos, hailing from faraway Tijuana, wasn’t going to beat a Puerto Rican in Madison Square Garden unless he knocked him into orbit. It’s bad enough when a guy gets robbed on national TV. Let’s not make it worse by formulating excuses for the kind of officiating that is more befitting a Third World dictatorship than a country that aspires to be a beacon of light to oppressed billions around the world. The best way to do the right thing is to do it one person at a time. Burgos formulated a winning game plan, carried it out, and then got mugged by judges’ pencils.

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Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

And it doesn’t matter who holds what belt. The judges are supposed to score each and every round as a separate entity without regard for geographic or title distinctions. Waleska Roldan’s score of 117-111 Burgos in the WBO super featherweight title contest was on the money. John Signorile’s score of 114-114 was inexcusably deficient. I defy you to find six rounds you could score for Martinez. But Tony Paolillo’s tally of 116-112 Martinez? Somebody should have called a cop. It’s as though this judge flew in from another galaxy. He scored almost every single round incorrectly.

Was Martinez impressive? Yes, for being able to absorb punishment. He teetered around off balance all night, slow on the draw and unsteady. As for Burgos, when he had nothing better to do he slammed his opponent in the liver. Those shots were so powerful they nearly knocked over a vase in my living room 3,000 miles away.

We heard for weeks that HBO’s BAD had scheduled a can’t-miss card. But fans who’ve been around just a few years already know there is no card so excellent that it can’t be wrecked by the officials in charge.

In the middleweight division, Gennady Golovkin did a fine job against Gabriel Rosado with his predictably teeth-rattling shots, stopping him in round seven with the help of Rosado’s astute corner. When your fighter’s busted-up eye won’t allow him to see those big Golovkin bombs, it’s clearly time to call it a night.

However, Golovkin also got his butt kicked — by the microphone when Max Kellerman tried questioning him in English. At some point Max should have noticed that the Kazakhstan native had only one answer to all queries. Anyway, we did learn, repeatedly, that Golovkin thinks “Gabriel is a good boy.” How informative.

Mikey Garcia’s slicing and dicing of Orlando Salido in the main event was fun to watch but not quite the two-way explosion we’d been told to expect. The eighth-round head butt by old school Salido was about as accidental as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but at least the outcome — a victory for Garcia — was correct.

Meanwhile, The New York commission would improve its judges’ performance if the officials were chosen at random from the crowd on hand. Will there be any comeuppance for Signorile and Paolillo? Don’t count on it. If the commission wants to repair the damage it should reverse the result on review and exile both judges to Buffalo.

Ivan G. Goldman’s boxing novel The Barfighter was nominated as a 2009 Notable Book by the American Library Association. Information HERE

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