WBA Suspends Judge In Saturday Fox-Maestre Fiasco Decision
It took four days, but the dubious World Boxing Association has finally taken action on one of it’s judges in the Saturday night Premier Boxing Champions Mykal Fox-Gabriel Maestre undercard fight. The unanimous decision outcome of that fight was laughably opposite of what it should have been, as Maestre was given the victory, including on a horrifically bad, 117-110 card by judge Gloria Martinez Rizzo.
Well, on Wednesday night ESPN boxing insider Mike Coppinger got confirmation from WBA president Gilberto Mendoza that he is suspending that judge for at least six months and due to previous racist social media tweets from Rizzo may be permanently banned from ever officiating a WBA fight, again,
WBA president Gilberto Mendoza tells ESPN he is suspending Gloria Martinez Rizzo six months following her controversial Mykal Fox-Gabriel Maestre scorecard.
Mendoza will consider permanent expulsion for Rizzo after her racist tweets were discovered https://t.co/WOgntMv0bt
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) August 12, 2021
First, let’s go back to Saturday night’s Welterweight co-feature, which was for one of the WBA’s numerous lesser titles that they have in every division. As our Marquis Johns wrote, the Maryland-native Fox was taking on the former Venezuelan amateur star Maestre, who was fighting in the USA for the first time ever in the 12 round contest. He wrote in part,
Fox made the most of it, outboxing him in what should have been a pretty clean-cut victory for the American. That was until the judge’s scorecards were read out by Judges John Mariano (115-112), Gloria Martinez Rizzo (117-110), and David Singh (114-113), all in favor of Maestre.
Let me stress how miserably bad these scorecards were…
“I was stunned by the decision,” said Fox. “There’s no way he won more rounds than me. I knocked him down. I hurt him. I don’t know what else I was supposed to do. I don’t know what the judges were looking at. Look at his face and tell me he won that fight.”
Marquis further wrote,
I’m legit more concerned about the results of bad decisions that have ruined careers without any recourse from it. It’s troubling, and with last night’s blatant ruling in front of those in attendance and those who saw it on broadcast television, it shows that the just acceptance of this is even worse.
Look, I’m not here asking for robots and more replay tape in this. I’m just asking for accountability in judging to justify these horrendous scorecards. Otherwise, a sport with real lives at risk is in the hands of those who have predetermined scorecards and results.
The outcry was swift and everywhere, including the discovery after Martinez-Rizzo’s indefensible Saturday verdict, that she has repeatedly put, now deleted, racist tweets on social media. This includes calling former U.S. First lady Michelle Obama, “monkey face.”
Back to Coppinger’s report. Mendoza told him Wednesday that he will be meeting with Martinez-Rizzo in Miami Thursday to further discuss her scorecard. But, he conceded the obvious already,
“We saw her score was wrong despite the unanimous decision,” said Mendoza, who was born in Venezuela, where the WBA is based. “Those comments she made in the past — she might be expelled by the WBA.
“I don’t support any kind of racism. I believe in equality. … Sports are the only thing that brings equality into the world sometimes.”
A further investigation beyond the judge should be had by the Minnesota boxing commission and others at the national level. This, as it’s reported that one of the people involved in Maestre’s corner/team is a WBA employee. That’s strictly forbidden under U.S. Federal Law and the “Muhammad Ali Act.” Further, Mendoza who is Venezuelan and the WBA itself is based in Venezuela, is also obviously compromised in the outrageous verdict in favor of a Venezuelan fighter that stood to gain by winning a national TV fight in the U.S.
For now, the Minnesota commission says it won’t void Saturday’s decision and deem the fight a “no contest.” This despite having the ultimate authority to do so. They told Coppinger in an email that they are leaving that, for now, up to the WBA to rule on what to do in the aftermath.
Also on Wednesday night Yahoo Sports boxing writer/insider Kevin Iole reported that the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), a U.S. organization that ties all of the states together to regulate the sport nationally, has sent a formal letter to Mendoza with numerous concerns, including the dubious Maestre decision win.
The President of the “ABC,” Mike Mazzulli told Yahoo that in their letter they are “holding their (WBA) feet to the fire” on several issues, including the Fox-Maestre outcome. And, they could sanction the WBA and restrict their ability to do business in the U.S., if satisfactory changes aren’t made.
Mendoza also told ESPN and Yahoo that he and the organization will be ordering an immediate rematch for Fox and Maestre. However, it’s not a guarantee that they will fight each other next, again.
What is a guarantee is: what appears at best to have been horrific incompetence on a score card, is looking more like it was a 2021 “fixed fight” for a Venezuelan fighter by the Venezuelan based WBA.
And, it obviously won’t be allowed to just fade away without the media, outraged fans, boxing commissions and everyone else involved with the sport in the U.S. continuing to hold them accountable.