MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Burns night damaging to the whole of boxing
BRITISH boxing lost MAJOR credibility this weekend, it’s as simple as that.
Fan as I am of Ricky Burns – I enjoy his style and his bravery – the decision to award him a split-decision draw in the fourth defence of his world WBO lightweight title on Saturday night was outrageous.
A hometown decision pure and simple, Burns was incredibly given a share of the spoils after a gruelling fight with Raymundo Beltran.
Burns started well, but suffered a broken jaw in the second session – arguably, his bravery deserved a little luck on the cards and isn’t being questioned here – and looked second best from thereon in.
However, while the sensible judge from Belgium scored it for Beltran, American judge Carlos Ortiz found in favour of Burns (ludicrously) 115-112 and Richie Davies scored it a draw.
As has rightly been pointed out elsewhere, it isn’t often a man with a busted jaw is able to commit a mugging, but that’s exactly how Beltran will be feeling.
The sad part is, there aren’t any winners in this scenario.
Not Burns, who despite keeping his title, faces an uncertain future because of his injury.
Not Beltran, denied what’s rightfully his.
Not the fans in attendance who were deathly silent in Glasgow when the verdicts were read, because they too knew they were witnessing an injustice.
Not the sport of boxing as a whole: this sort of incident manna from heaven for those who oppose the Sweet Science.
But worst of all, it’s damaging to the reputation British sport has for fair play and decency. How can we now criticise judging in places like Germany? The next time a big-name US fighter gives this side of the Atlantic the swerve, don’t be surprised.
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