Mora's performances this year were a disgrace to the sport
Where to start…
Within a period of 12 months, Russell Mora came to signify so much of what is wrong with the sport of boxing.
It’s unfair to judge a referee based on two performances when he turned in several assignments without incident. However, Mora’s bias and ineptitude in those two performances were so glaring that he might have filed an early nomination for Worst Referee of the Decade.
First in February, Mora was tasked with arbitrating the bantamweight title unification between Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire. What was supposed to be an even, toss-up fight became a wash when in the second round, Donaire countered a straight right from Montiel with a crashing left hook that should have ended the fight.
Under any other referee, it probably would have.
Montiel laid on his back, his arms and legs jolting in uncontrollable spasms. The punch had landed so perfectly that his body had lost all sense of coordination, but "Cochulito’s" heart wouldn’t allow him to lay down for another fighter.
A sane referee wouldn’t have allowed the fighter to endanger himself further and would have waved the fight off immediately, but Mora’s bias for Hispanic fighters would trump sanity and logic as he gave Montiel another chance to get his brains scrambled by the hard-punching Donaire.
I’m sure Mora thought he was doing Montiel a favor by letting him take an unanswered series of power punches, but listless performances, including a loss to unheralded Victor Terrazas, would show that maybe Mora let Montiel take one too many shots that night.
Mora’s other high-profile appearance would be the clearest example of his bias and incompetence. In another Bantamweight title fight, Mora would stand idly by while Abner Mares fired dozens of flush shots to the crotch of Joseph Agbeko.
The talented Ghanian never complained, but he had every right to, as his opponent was not even handed a warning over the course of 12 rounds, that would have been much more competitive with a fair arbitrator.
Mora’s conduct in the fight reached its outrageous peak when in the 11th round, Mares pivoted on his front foot and walloped Agbeko on the cup, bringing him to his knees.
Instead of deducting a point or issuing a warning, Mora began counting and penalized Agbeko with a knockdown.
Even when shown the punch in slow motion replay, Mora remained defiant, claiming it was a fair punch; this, a year after he quickly and firmly disqualified Anthony Peterson for landing a series of low blows against Brandon Rios in his first loss.
Boxing is a subjective sport, and that subjective nature creates room for personal biases and unwarranted corruption.
In 2011, no one allowed his personal biases to degrade the sport more than Russell Mora.