In Showtime's bantamweight tournament finale, Abner Mares defeated Joseph Agbeko in one of the most controversial fights in recent years. Mares put on a good performance but played foul the entire fight by hitting Agbeko with continuous low blows. Estimates show Mares hit Agbeko below the belt anywhere between 15 to 20 times.
That most disappointing part of the bout was the horrible job by referee Russell Mora, who did not take a point away from Mares due to his low blows. It took at least 10 low blows for Mares to receive his first warning, and as he continued to hit Agbeko with low blows, referee Mora just stood there and watched it, knowing that the punches were landing low.
The ugliest part of the night came in the 11th round when Mares once again hit Agbeko with a monstrous low blow that sent him to ground. This time referee Mora did step in and called time, but to the surprise of everyone proceeded to a 10 count on Agbeko, calling the low blow an actual knockdown.
As Agbeko made the count he complained to the referee as the round ended and as he reached his corner Agbeko's trainer approached the referee aggressively to complain and had to be stopped by security. As the fight ended in Round 12 Agbeko felt disappointed in the referee's job and he him himself had to be sustained by security from approaching the referee.
In this fight we saw one of the worse refereeing jobs we have seen in the sport of boxing in quite some time. We saw a referee watch one fighter hit another with low blows from Round 1 all the way to Round 12 and just stood there with no remorse for the fighter being constantly hit illegally.
Al Bernstein and Jim Gray also expressed their great disappointment in the referee's job, calling it the worse performance by a referee in the last 15 years. Considering all the fights Al Bernstein has covered and the fact that he dosen't like to complain about referees, that's gotta go be one hell of a bad job, and indeed it was. Feeling cheated, Agbeko's team has said that they will protest the fight and demand an immediate rematch.
Abner Mares fought a decent fight against a very tough opponent, but this win will forever be tarnished by how dirty he fought to get the win and most importantly the fact that he was helped by the referee's horrible job of giving him a great advantage over Agbeko.
Referee Russell Mora should be ashamed of himself and the commission should without a doubt suspend him immediately.