By: Sean Crose
“I feel I have let down my federation the NABF, my organization The WBC and most importantly our sport and the fighters inside the ring.”
These are words few, if any, would expect to read from a contemporary boxing judge. Yet Judge Stephen Blea has come out with a statement letting the world knows he believes his scoring of last week’s Oscar Valdez – Robson Conceicao bout was sub par. “I have been involved in boxing as a ring official both in (the) amateur and professional field for more than 30 years,” he writes on a World Boxing Council press release. “I have judged over 200 fights and refereed over 500 pro fights, with no controversy.”
Yet Blea goes on to pinpoint where he feels he went wrong in his 117-110 score in favor of Valdez, who ended up squeaking out a unanimous decision win after a close fight with Conceicao Friday night in Tucson. “I have watched the fight and thoroughly analyzed it,” Blea states, “the 117-110 score is not accurate and does not represent the actions in the ring.” Some of Blea’s statement in the press release are as notable for their insight as they are for the man’s honesty.
“There were a few very close rounds in this fight,” he states, “and I made two mistakes , 1) not to score 10-10 in 2 rounds I felt there was not a clear winner, 2) scoring those to the champion giving him the benefit in the close actions.” Blea also admits that the noise from the pro Valdez crowd in Tucson was a factor in his scoring. Blea went on to accuse himself of: “Getting Stuck on one fighter – I awarded 3 out of the first 4 rounds to Valdez , which is a combination of the above points I have outlined.”
Although Blea still feels Valdez won (“I have scored the bout on tv and have a 115-112 or even a 114-113 score in favor of Valdez”), the veteran judge claims he’s going to work on his scoring issues. ” I have decided to reach out,” he states, “to my NABF / WBC ring officials committee to undergo a thorough training and review program and will not accept any championship assignments until I complete this process .”
” am an honorable man,” he concludes, “with profound love, knowledge and respect to the sport, I am sorry for having a bad night and having brought unnecessary controversy to such a sensational fight.”
Send this to a friend