Mr. Roger Barnor, a World Boxing Council (WBC) accredited referee has described American referee Russell Mora in the weekend’s IBF/WBC unification bout between Ghana’s Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares as substandard and a slap on the face of boxing referees.
According to him, the standard exhibited by the American referee left much to be desired and was of the view that the sanctioning bodies can only erase the clutter by deservingly sanctioning a rematch for a true world champion to emerge.
Mora dramatically turned a blind eye to Mares’ constant attacks on Agbeko below the belt in their unification bout and Saturday in an otherwise thrilling encounter, the highlight of which he surprisingly adjudged a knockdown when the Ghanaian went down in pain after Mares fired directly below the belt right in front of him.
In a post fight interview, he confessed not to have seen any blow below the belt but judged that to be punches that landed on Agbeko’s belt line.
In Sackey’s estimation, the referee’s performance was not just a disaster but unacceptable and can only be convinced upon knowing that he has a personal issue with Agbeko, saying, ‘that can be the only reason for which he can guide the destruction of Agbeko.’
What amazed the celebrated Ghanaian referee is the blatant disregard for the rules of the sport in the full glare of the referee while there was no indication whatsoever from any of the judges or the fight supervisor to halt the Mares abuse.
Speaking with the Times Sports on Tuesday, referee Barnor revealed that in an instance like what prevailed on Saturday, the match supervisor could have drawn the attention of the referee to some of the ills in the ring.
And in a case where it does not happen, any of the three judges, he said, can draw the attention of the referee to some of the illegalities in the ring.
However, being the main man on the night, the referee, Sackey observed, can take or leave whatever concern is expressed to him since he will be held responsible for any mishap in the course of the fight.
On that premise, referee Mora, he said must be made to face the consequences of his action “because those actions of his have also cost somebody a lifelong dream and a big fortune.’
Agbeko’s only chance of coming back to fame will be when the sanctioning bodies –IBF/WBC – study the tone of the protest and carefully examined the tape.
He said based on the success it chalks, the two bodies may form an independent commission which will either overturn the verdict, order Mares to keep the title or enforce an immediate rematch.
“For now we don’t need to rush since the most important thing –filing of protest – has been done.
This is a big test for administrators of the sport and we will see how the drama unfolds,” he added.