Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
The general consensus following the controversial decision win that Paul Williams received on Saturday, July 9, after appearing to be second best to Erislandy Lara for the majority of the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City contest, was that boxing had been given a self-inflicted black eye, however, the wound has begun to heal as the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) have suspended the three judges responsible for the contentious scoring.
Williams received a majority decision verdict due to the scores of 116-114 and 115-114 awarded to him by Don Givens and Hilton Whitaker, respectively. These overturned the tie score of 114-114 that Al Bennett marked. The decision that went against Lara sparked a chorus of jeers from the crowd and widespread condemnity from broadcasters HBO to the international boxing press.
It is true that Williams out-threw Lara. He was the busier fighter, however, Lara (15-1-1, 10ko) was the more effective boxer, by a considerably margin. Lara out-landed Williams, was the superior jabber and was far more accurate with his power punching. Williams (40-2-0, 27ko) connected with 200 out of his 1047 punches; a 19 percent success rate, or one in every five punches reached their target. Conversely, Lara landed 224 of his 553 punches; a 42 percent success rate, or a near one in every two punch statistic.
Aaron M Davis, the commissioner of the NJSACB, has released a statement regarding the controversy indicating that they have suspended all three judges: Givens, Whitaker and Bennett. Davis said he was: “Unsatisfied with the scoring of the contest.
“This agency has placed all three judges on indefinite suspension. Further, all three judges will be required to undergo additional training prior to their return to professional boxing judging.
“Any contestant who enters a ring or cage in our state deserves the best officiating that we can provide. While we do not mean to diminish Mr. Williams’ competitive spirit and exciting style, we feel that we did not provide our best officiating on July 9.”
The move is sure to represent a boost to the integrity of the sport of boxing, however, the sole and unjust blemish on Lara’s resume will remain. Lara and his team, though, have been swift in calling for a rematch (click here). For the full video of the fight in question, click here.
It is important to note that while the NJSACB disagree with the judges’ decision, there has been no evidence found of corruption.