IBF Orders Rematch of Mares-Agbeko Bantamweight Tournament Bout

August 16, 2011

The IBF has ordered a rematch of Saturday's controversial Abner Mares-Joseph Agbeko bout after referee Russell Mora refused to deduct a point from Mares for hitting Agbeko repeatedly with low blows.

As a result, Agbeko lost a close, competitive fight -- and his IBF title -- when one of those Mares fouls dropped him to his knees and was incorrectly ruled a knockdown.  That ruling gave Mares a 10-8 round, and proved to be crucial in his decision victory.

To add insult to injury, Mora was in perfect position to make the proper call. Worse yet, he had spent much of the night warning Agbeko of all people for pulling down Mares.  Often those warnings came after Mares had delivered a much more obvious low blow foul.

An enraged Agbeko had to be restrained from confronting the referee, and immediately stated he would protest the outcome.  Apparently, his protest was heard loud and clear, as IBF/USBA President Daryl Peoples responded swiftly with the following statement:

IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker and I have reviewed the IBF Optional Bantamweight Championship bout that took place on August 13, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV.
between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares.
Mr. Tucker and I observed several low blow fouls committed by Abner Mares.  While the referee, Russell Mora, issued numerous warnings for low blows during the course of the bout, he neglected to deduct points for these fouls.  With 1:03 left in round eleven, Joseph Agbeko was hit with a low blow foul that forced him to the canvas.  Mr. Mora determined that the blow landed by Mares was legal and began to count indicating that a knockdown had occurred.
Based upon our review of the bout, it has been determined by the IBF that inappropriate conduct by the referee affected the outcome of the fight.
In accordance with IBF/USBA Rule 3.D., the IBF is ordering a rematch between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares for the IBF Bantamweight title which must be held within the next 120 days or by December 14, 2011.  Neither boxer can take another fight until the rematch is completed.  Negotiations should begin immediately and be concluded by September 15, 2011.  In the event that you have not negotiated this bout by September 15, 2011, the IBF will call for a purse bid to be held to determine who will promote the fight.

Prior to the IBF's ruling, Mares promoter Oscar De La Hoya tweeted that the blows were on the belt line. That questionable assessment essentially made the charismatic Don King look like the restrained voice of reason in this whole fiasco.

“I commend IBF President Daryl Peoples and IBF Championship Chariman Lindsey Tucker for confirming what everyone who witnessed the bout already knew.  Too often, the first inclination when human frailty is exposed is to sweep it under the rug as though it never happened.  It is to their credit that Mr. Peoples and Mr. Tucker confirmed that when obvious mistakes are made, it’s best to recognize them and attempt to immediately right the wrongs," said Agbeko promoter Don King.

This summer we have seen two blatant acts of incompetence in the ring -- first by the judges in the Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara fight, and this weekend by Mora in the Bantanweight Tournament final.  Refreshingly, however, the boxing authorities stepped in quickly with an appropriate response.

With more action like this in future, hopefully the days of the "controversial fight" will be a thing of the past.  It's a nice pipe dream at least.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor of The Daily Sports Herald

1 comment:

  1. Mora was a blind fool. Agbeko's trainer is at fault too. He should have been screaming at the ref to deduct points. Give Agbeko credit. He never retaliated with a dirty low blow of his own.


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