Richard Ocasio, Eric Cheek and John McKaie are three fight judges who have not worked signature pay-per-view headliners. Based on their performance Saturday night, future marquee fights featuring any of the three arbiters could be subject to debate.
The three judges somehow saw the same fight and submitted identical results after former light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal’s match against Miami resident Yunieski Gonzalez in Las Vegas.
The decision drew objections because Gonzalez outworked and kept Pascal on the defensive for most of the 10-round distance. After the final bell, Gonzalez and his corner anticipated a victory and huge noteworthy step in the Cuba native’s five-year professional career.
But Ocasio, Cheek and McKaie had other ideas. In another decision that caused an instant outcry, the three judges saw Pascal the winner, 96-94.
For the previously unbeaten Gonzalez, the disputed decision struck an immediate emotional cord. Gonzalez realized the importance of defeating Pascal, whose fight résumée includes bouts with Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev and Chad Dawson. Soon after the scorecards were announced, Gonzalez sobbed and was consoled by trainer Orlando Cuellar.
“I am so sad; that was taken from me,” Gonzalez said. “He did not win, I did. I was the real winner.”
The disputed result marred an otherwise entertaining bout. Gonzalez (16-1) pressed the action, connecting with lead left jabs and rocking Pascal with rights to the head and combinations to the body. Pascal (30-3-1) countered with solid rights to the head, but Pascal’s punch activity usually occurred in spurts compared to the busier Gonzalez.
The Pascal-Gonzalez fight preceded Kovalev’s successful defense of his multiple sanctioning body light-heavyweight titles. Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) knocked out Nadjib Mohammedi in three rounds.
The card also featured Miami resident Sullivan Barrera’s eighth-round technical knockout victory over Hakim Zoulika in their light-heavyweight bout. Barrera, a native of Cuba, is 16-0 with 11 knockouts.
A perceived insult to one of the top fighters in boxing history left officials at a Central American university in an uncomfortable situation and nearly created an international incident.
Universidad Tecnologica de Honduras recently aired a video of legendary champion Roberto Duran on its Facebook page to promote the school’s English learning program. The canned video featured Duran in an interview responding to questions in broken English. Duran was used as an example of someone badly needing English-learning lessons.
Not surprisingly, Duran’s fans, especially in the retired fighter’s native Panama, vehemently objected to the use of Duran in an apparent negative light.
Duran’s daughter, Irichelle, said neither her father nor the Duran family was contacted by the school before the video’s release.
The university released a statement indicating it did not recognize Duran. Moreover, the school admitted it could not distinguish the image of Duran from his fighting years with the older Duran featured in the video.
The outcry from Duran’s family and fans prompted the university to apologize. The video eventually was removed from the website.
“We learned (recently) that it was the honored Panamanian boxer Roberto Carlos Duran, nicknamed ‘Hands of Stone’ Duran or ‘El Cholo,’ who has made a huge change physically through the years, making it difficult for us to recognize him when we downloaded the video,” the statement said.
“We would like to ask for forgiveness to our Panamanian brothers for this grave error.”
A Miami resident in the 1980s and 1990s, Duran, 64, won world titles in four weight divisions during a 119-bout career that spanned 34 years.
Friday (11:30 p.m., Telemundo-Ch. 51): Daniel Lozano vs. Ricardo Rodriguez, 10, junior bantamweights.
Saturday (9 p.m., ESPN2): Danny Garcia vs. Paulie Malignaggi, 12, welterweights; Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergio Mora, 12, for the Jacobs’ WBA middleweight title.
Saturday (11 p.m., Unimas-Ch. 69): Jessie Magdaleno vs. Ray Perez, 10, junior featherweights.
Sunday (9 p.m., Bounce TV): Juan Carlos Payano vs. Rau’shee Warren, 12, for Payano’s WBA bantamweight title.