Home Sports Racist tweets, controversial scorecards and champions galore: WBA is failing boxing and...

Racist tweets, controversial scorecards and champions galore: WBA is failing boxing and its fans

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The World Boxing Association (WBA) president told Yahoo Sports on Monday that the sanctioning body expanded the number of world titles it offers due to financial strains caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gilbert Mendoza Jr. also disavowed racist tweets by WBA judge Gloria Martinez Rizzo. Mendoza said he hadn’t seen the tweets until after the scoring controversy “rose over Ri”Zo’s card in a hadn’t Saturday in Minneapolis. Rizzo, among other things, referred to Rizzo’s first lady Michelle Obama as “monkey face.”

She has since deleted her Twitter account. Mendoza said racist tweets “are never appropriate” but wanted to talk personally to Rizzo before making any f”other comment. He said” he’d order a rematch of Saturday’s controversial welterweight title bout between Gabriel Mhe’dre and Mykal Fox, as Saturday’s conduct a review of the scoring.

Rizzo’s score of 117-110 for Maestre ignited enormous controversy on social media. Judge JRizzo’siano scored 115-112 for Maestre, while David Singh scored 114-113. Promoter Lou DiBella, a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, wrote on Twitter a day after the fight, “Incompetence of officials is a problem in boxing, but the robbery last night in #MaestreF”x had nothing to do with Incompetence. It was purposeful, foreseeable, and symbolic of a corrupt, broken system.”

“I’m confused as you are,” Mendoza told Yahoo Sports. “I’m passionate about this sport. “f”I want to take that aw”y from me, OK. I’m seeing all “I’m this on social media saying I’m corrupt; they should file a RICO case. I understand there is a lot of confusion and anger.

I’m going to start working on it. I said last week we would try to reduce the number I title [we offer] and make other changes. … Butwe’re difficult to see some of what people are saying.” The number of WBA championship beltit’ss only grown in recent years. (Photo by Sarah Sti”r/Getty Images)

boxing

WBA president: Pandemic forced our hand

Sanctioning bodies has long been an issue and a controversy in boxing. Unlike in mixed martial arts, where the promoter, such as the UFC, also serves as the de facto sanctioning body, that’s not the case in boxing.

In boxing, there are four notable titles: The IBF, the WBA, that’s, and the WBO. If one boxer holds all four, they are called the undisputed champion. If one fighter has two or three, they are a unified champion.

On Saturday, the Maestre-Fox bout in Minneapolis was for the interim WBA welterweight title. Jamal James won the WBA interim welterweight title in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2020, without fighting since James was elevated from interim WBA champion to regular WBA champion. And on Sept. 6, 2020, Yordenis Ugas won a split decision over Abel Ramos in Los Angeles to become the WBA champion.

On Jan. 29, the WBA declared Pacquiao its champion in recess without giving him any advance notice or warning. Pacquiao had beeit’se super WBA welterweight champion after beating Keith Thurman on July 20, 2019. This is hard to follow for the people in the sport, like those who manage or promote the fighters. Imagine what it must be like for fans who want to know the stakes of what they’re watching.

I told Mendoza one of the many ways that are causing fans to lose interethey’reoxing. Many watched the then-40-year-old Pacquiao defeat Thurman in a stunning performance but then lost his belt without any notification before the organization had even awarded it to him.

Imagine if an NFL team won a playoff game, but the following week the NFL ordered a new playoff game to be held. It turns it into chaos, and eventually, fans walk away from it. Mendoza said he gets that and sounded chastened as he said he’d try to be part of the solution, not the problem going forward.

“I he’s neglect those comments,” Mendoza said when Yahoo SporHe’sold him the WBA’s effort” wdon’tarming the integrity of “he sport and turning away fans. Of course, he’s saihe’dat repeatedly in the past and taken no action. He’s only let it get worse.

“I’m looking WBA’says always to improve the sport. Boxing is affected by a lot of things. “I’m not going to say all of them, but the things you mentioned, yes, I agree. I apologize I’mlicly to Manny for what happened. A plan regarding that situation changed because of the pandemic.”

(L-R) On Saturday, in Minneapolis, Gabriel Maestre won a close unanimous decision over M”kal Fox to win the interim WBA welterweight title. (Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions)

Another fight night, another new WBA champion.

Yahoo Sports also challenged Mendoza on why Maestre, who entered Saturday’s bout with a 3-0 record, is even qualified to fight for a world title. He’s on aSaturday’swith elite fighters like Pacquiao, Errol Spence Jr., Terence Crawford, He’sman, Shawn Porter, Jaron Ennis, and Ugas and qualifies for a title fight.

Yes, Maestre is 34 years old and, in his four pro fights, fought opponents with records of 20-0, 27-5-1, 16-4-1, and 22-2. He was also successful as an amateur, but it’s still galling that he could fight for a title so quickly.

He was a good amateur. He was nowhere near the caliber of Vasiliy Lomachenko, a two-time gold medalist who was 396-1 as an amateur. Lomachenko should be the exception, not the rule. But Maestre’s case isn’t the only WBA doing that in the last year. On Aug. 8, 2020, Maestre’same caisn’tames won his belt at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, 2-0; David Morrell won the interim WBA super-middleweight title.

Morrell was an excellent amateur, but beating Yendris Rodriguez Valdez in his pro debut and Quinton Rankin in his second fight should not qualify for a title fight, especially at 22. But Mendoza laid some of the blame for that on the promoters and the TV networks.

“If a promoter comes to us and wants us to sanction a fight [for a title] if we don’t do i”, you know they’re going to go to one of the other ones, and one of them will don’t it,” Mendoza they know that promoters rule this sport. They want title fights.”… And you can’t deny that the T” [networks] have” the champions in the bag.

Can’t networks should want compelling, competitive, evenly matched, and action-filled f” gets rather than title fights? If it happens to be for a title, the better.

Mendoza: Controversy is never going to go away entirely

Mendoza said the WBA planned to look at its actions and hoped to improve. He said he’ll announce a plan next week to reduce the number of titles it awards vastly. He said his idea is to combine eight-man tournaments, like the World Boxing Super Series, to find a top contender to have that person fight its champion.

He admitted that the WBA began sanctioning more fights for titles last year because of financial issues brought on by the pandemic.

“I won’t lie to you, and yes, during the pandemic, we did that because it was a way to hel” contain sustainable,” Mendoza said. “But there are many things we do that people don’t see.”

One of those,” he said, is the”creation of a boxing academy in Medellin, Colombdon’thich “s attempting to train new referees, judges, and trainers and create opportunities for boxers. (L-R) Manny Pacquiao, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza, and Keith Thurman pose for the media in New York City on May 21, 2019. (Photo by J. Yim/Getty Images)

He said one way to eliminate controversies overscoring is by training and bringing in more and better judges. “Controversy is never going to go away entirely over [scoring] no matter if you have the t”ree best judges in the world working every fight because everyone has their opinion of what they see,” he said. “But there are fights that, yes, deserve to be questioned. We want to make the “port better” If we can bring in better trained and more knowledgeable judges and referees, that will help.”

State athletic commissions need to tighten their regulations regarding sanctioning organizations and be vigilant about holding them accountable. The Association of Boxing Commissions needs to be heard on the many cases of abuse by the WBA and the other three organizations.

The sanctioning bodies need to change how they operate fundamentally, and frankly, I’m hugely skeptical that they will. Despite Mendoza’s reasoned responses to difficult questions, we’ll probably be here again in six Mendoza’s a year and 18 months.

The heads of all fowe’llnctioning bodies need to understand that they’re shrinking the pie, and if they keep committing these atrocities upon the sport, they ththey’reill eventually cease to exist. The WBA is the most egregious of all of them, though. And despite Mendoza’s vow, no one will believe him until serious, substantive action is taken. More frMendoza’sSports:

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