There is nothing more disturbing in boxing than that pathetic moment when some incompetent old judge fails to wear his glasses and completely blows a decision.
In this article I am ranking the top 10 boxing robberies in the last decade. The only criteria, other than the obvious injustice, is that the fight must involve significantly accomplished opponents. The reader will note that at times I refer to punching statistics although I do not mean to indicate that these stats are the final word on anything.
10. Juan Manuel Marquez v. Manny Pacquiao II (Jr. Lightweight) - 2008 (Split Decision)
This fight barely makes the list. It was both exciting and competitive but Marquez was the better boxer. Marquez landed more punches 172 to 157 (130 to 114 in power punches) with a better connect percentage. Although he suffered a knockdown, most observers believed Juan Manuel Marquez won 7 or 8 of the rounds and deserved the decision. Pacquiao is a tremendous boxer, but Marquez is his perfect foil. By the end, it was clear who wanted to fight more and who was done.
9. Fernando Vargas v. Winky Wright (Jr. Middleweight) - 1999 (Majority Decision)
A sad injustice for Winky that set his career back for several years. Based on this bad decision many people were deceived into believing Fernando Vargas was a much better fighter than he was. Wright outlanded Vargas and looked the better boxer. It wasn't a blow out, but it was clear enough who the better fighter was.
8. Bernard Hopkins v. Jermain Taylor I (Middleweight) - 2005 (Split Decision)
This was a close fight, but a clearly unfair result. Taylor faded badly towards the end of the fight and Hopkins made him look amateurish at time. Sure, Hopkins started off slow but ultimately outlanded Taylor (96-86) and was more accurate. There was very little exciting action, but Hopkins deserved better. You don't end that 20 defense streak on a decision like this (Hopkins didn't get any favors in the second fight either).
7. Joel Casamayor v. Jose Armando Santa Cruz (Lightweight) - 2007 (Split Decision)
Casamayor was given the decision in the worst performance of his storied career in this bout against unheralded Santa Cruz. He was thoroughly dominated, probably lost 10 out of 12 rounds, and was defeated on everyone's scorecard except the judges, who gave him a split decision (the AP had it 117-109 for Santa Cruz). Santa Cruz outlanded Casamayor 246 to 129 with an even more astonishing 192 to 79 edge in power punches.
6. Oscar De La Hoya v. Felix Sturm (Middleweight) - 2004 (Unanimous Decision)
In the greatest gift decision in the Golden Boy's career, the judges seemed intent on making sure the De La Hoya-Hopkins match would happen with all three scoring the bout 115-113. Sturm outlanded De La Hoya 234 to 188 with a significantly better connect percentage. De La Hoya looked slow and sluggish for three quarters of the fight and Sturm simply outworked him. Even the few good moments for De La Hoya in the second half of the fight were more flashy than effective.
5. Joe Calzaghe v. Bernard Hopkins (Light Heavyweight) - 2008 (Split Decision)
Considering the knockdown in Round One, I do not see how Calzaghe won this fight. To give him the decision, he had to win 7 out of the 12 rounds and there is no way he did that. I had the fight 115-112 Hopkins, and cannot fathom it being worse than 114-113 Hopkins. Calzaghe was highly ineffective with his slappy punches (nothing like his later fight with Roy Jones Jr.). Without a doubt, the bout was predominantly fought at Hopkin's pace and he controlled the tempo. Even when Calzaghe picked up the pressure towards latter half of the fight, Hopkins still had enough moments to earn some of those rounds as well. Unfortunately, this fight, more than any other perhaps, will be Calzaghe's justification for greatness.
4. Shane Mosley v. Oscar De La Hoya II (Jr. Middleweight) - 2003 (Unanimous Decision)
Nobody was more surprised by this decision than Shane Mosley himself. Anyone who watched that fight could see that absolute shock on his face before he began celebrating. He knew, as most did, that De La Hoya had soundly beaten him on this night. The fight was not nearly as action-packed as their first clash, but the tactical dominance was established. Again, we are dealing with a 12-round fight, and there is no way you can find 7 rounds for Mosley. De La Hoya outlanded Mosley 221 to 127 with a 36% to 26% accuracy advantage. Mosley landed a pathetic 12% of his jabs and it showed.
3. Floyd Mayweather Jr. v. Jose Luis Castillo I (Lightweight)- 2004(Unanimous Decision)
Mayweather won a ridiculously lopsided unanimous decision, 116-111, 115-111, and 115-111. Castillo landed 46 more total punches (203 to 147) and was more accurate (40% to 30%) according to CompuBox. On power punches he had a huge advantage (173 to 66) and seemed to dictate the bout with his inside fighting. HBO's Harold Lederman had it 115-111 for Castillo. Castillo cut through the usually brilliant Mayweather defense with an assault to the body in a way no one had and no one would.
2. Felix Trinidad v. Oscar De La Hoya (Welterweight) - 1999 (Majority Decision)
De La Hoya outlanded Trinidad 263 to 116 by CompuBox numbers in the fight, and that includes the last three rounds in which he barely threw a punch. De La Hoya won a minimum of 7 out of the first 9 rounds before coasting the last 3 rounds. Yes, we all wish Oscar had been more aggressive at the end, but basic math should have precluded Trinidad from winning this fight which was the biggest Welterweight Fight since Leonard v. Hearns in 1981. The magnitude of this event only increases the tragedy of the result. Only the die-hard Trinidad fan can argue that this fight did anything but clearly establish De La Hoya as the better fighter.
1. Lennox Lewis v. Evander Holyfield I (Heavyweight) - 1999 (Draw)
This fight defined what a robbery is for me. Lennox Lewis arguably won every round and a minimum of 9 out of 12. Holyfied was totally outclassed and the fight was not competitive at all. Lewis outlanded Holyfield by an incredible 348 to 130, and landed almost at will with a 57% connect rate to 34% for Holyfield. Lewis was shockingly dominant and after that night who could fail to understand why Ridick Bowe and most other legitimate heavyweights had ducked him for years. Overnight Lewis dashed his reputation as a protected "foreign" fighter and was on his way to being the most underrated heavyweight champion of all time.
By Manish Pandya
Staff Editor of TheDailySportsHerald.com