Mayweather-Canelo and Pacquiao-Bradley Scoring Fiascos Are CJ Ross' 2 Strikes

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

Sep 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. (blue gloves) and Canelo Alvarez battle at their WBC and WBA super welterweight titles fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mayweather won by a majority decision. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Boxing judge C.J. Ross made news Saturday night by being just about the only person in the world who came away from the fight without believing Floyd Mayweather easily outclassed Canelo Alvarez over the course of their 12-round battle in Las Vegas.

Normally, such a thing doesn’t matter. After all, judging a boxing match is a fairly subjective endeavor, and almost everyone watchingpeople like celebrities, boxing fans and media membersaren’t trained at it.

But Ross is.

Ross, of course, was one of the three ringside officials tasked by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) to decide the outcome of the bout should it end up a decision.

It did.

Luckily for fight fans, the other two judges weren’t seeing the same fight as Ross. Judges Dave Moretti, 116-112, and Craig Metcalfe, 117-111, scored the bout for Mayweather.

Just about everyone else in the world agreed with them, too.

MLive.com scored the fight 120-108 in favor of Mayweather, as did ESPN.com and Yahoo! Sports. The Associated Press scored it 119-109. The list goes on and on. Everyone agrees.

Everyone, that is, except Ross. She scored the fight a draw, 114-114.

Everyone makes mistakes, though. Right? Surely Ross would admit error a day or so later.

Not quite.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ross stands firmly behind her card:

When you score 12 rounds of boxing, you’re scoring 12 separate fights. From where I sat, there were a lot of close rounds and a lot of exchanges Canelo was able to win. Canelo was able to land his punches effectively from the inside and control the rounds I gave him.

This isn’t the first time she’s pulled such shenanigans. When Timothy Bradley was handed a win over Manny Pacquiao last year, one of the two judges who egregiously scored the fight for Bradley was…can you guess?

Ross.

Despite almost every single person on the planet seeing a clear and decisive Pacquiao win, Ross (and fellow NSAC boxing judge Duane Ford) scored the bout 115-113 for Bradley.

How bad was that? Well, a review by five WBO officials scored the bout for Pacquiao 5-0. That’s right. Not one single peer believed Bradley deserved the nod.

Want more? Notable boxing blog Fight Score Collector captured 265 total scores for fans, media and forum members. Only 10 people believed Bradley won the fight, and press scores collected under the same banner were a resounding 47-1 for Pacquiao.

So is this strike two for Ross? Maybe not, because the umpire might not be watching.

In the aftermath of Mayweather-Canelo, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer told USA Today he didn’t see anything wrong with Ross’s scorecard:

Just because a judge's scorecard ends up even, doesn't mean the judge necessarily thought the fight as a whole was even. It could be that a judge has six rounds for each fighter, but the six rounds she gave fighter A, she gave them to him easily and the six rounds she gave fighter B, they were really close rounds. That's pretty much how it was last night

Look, Kizer has every right to defend his selection of judges. He absolutely has to make tough calls for big-money fights with hardworking fighters' fame, fortune, title belts and legacies on the line. But Kizer also needs to understand that more than one mistake begins to become a pattern.

And a pattern of bad scorecards over the past two years in two of boxing’s biggest and most important fights is not something boxing can afford.

So let’s hope Kizer was playing coy. Let's hope he's paying attention. Let’s hope he’s keeping score.

We know Ross can’t.

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