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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: HANEY-LOMA FALLOUT, SPENCE-CRAWFORD, MAURICIO LARA

By Paul Magno | May 25, 2023
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: HANEY-LOMA FALLOUT, SPENCE-CRAWFORD, MAURICIO LARA

Venting into my bulging, bulbous sack is always permissible in this corner of the Universo Pugilistico, so, there there, let’s get through the BS of the last couple weeks so we can embrace the good stuff ahead. This week we have comments/questions regarding all things Haney-Lomachenko (and a bit on Spence-Crawford and Mauricio Lara). 

Haney-Loma Fallout I (General Malaise)

Hi Paul

I got to vent my frustration somewhere, I am convinced Lomachenko won last Saturday's fight. I see lots of people talking about Haney's body shots but first of all, they were not as recurrent as all the head shots Loma was landing and Haney's inability to slip Loma's lead left.

I scored the fight somewhere around 8-4 for Loma and I was generous with Haney on 1-2 rounds. I felt so bad when I saw Loma's reaction after they announced the scores.

I guess it is what it is Paul, if Lomachenko is wealthy enough, I think he should retire because he will not accomplish more things while he is tied to Top Rank.

Best Regards.

– Miguel

Hey Miguel. 

As I said in my preview for Haney-Lomachenko, this is around the time when Arum generally starts putting his older guys out to pasture. What makes this situation a bit different is that Haney, apparently, did not re-sign with Top Rank (as Paulie Malignaggi suggested) and Lomachenko came into the fight as, still, a Top Rank fighter. If we go by historical Arum operating procedure, it should’ve been Lomachenko getting the benefit of the doubt on the judges’ scorecards. So, who knows? 

Lomachenko could be positioned to grab one of the four belts Haney gives up when he moves to 140. Ultimately, he’ll be matched against Shakur Stevenson and, IMO, be beaten decisively. There’ll be couple more paydays in this for Loma, but he’s going to be pieced out and sent into retirement with an “L” for sure. So, what he does next all depends on the contracts he’s bound to and how comfortably he can retire at the moment. 

Haney-Loma Fallout II (Fixing the Judging)

I think Athletic Commissions need to redo the way they build up and train judges. At the same time they need more middle-age judges. It’s time for a new generation of judges and refs. The fact is that most judges come up in the old school American amateur system. They’re suckers for body shots, jabs and glove touching. As simple as it sounds, but that’s what wins fights on the America amateur circuit and that’s what most judges are stuck on. 

More times than often, when there’s a questionable decision, it goes to the guy who’s continuously throwing body shots, jabbing and touching gloves. 

Judging boxing matches is extremely subjective. But when you trace back the origins of most American judges, sometimes it explains why they score fights the way they do. If 3 judges scored the fight in favor of Haney, then it obviously tells us that they have established the same criteria for one another. 

In the end, I just can’t stand when the conspiracy theorist alleges corruption in boxing. 

Overall the appropriate score should’ve been a draw. If Loma won 115-113 in a fight with so many close rounds. 115-113 for Haney is not far fetched. 116-112 deserves criticism, but that means Moretti gave every close round to Haney. 

– Nail Rahman

Hey Nail.

I hear you, but I have to disagree on one key issue-- that boxing judging fails because of the general scoring criteria and its basis in the amateur aesthetic. There is corruption. It’s not a conspiracy theory. It isn’t corruption in the sense that the promoter hands an envelope of cash to the judge and says “make my guy win.” Boxing has institutionalized its corruption and made it a part of its internal regulatory and officiating structure. I’ve written about this before (one of the very few to go this deep on what can often be a career suicide issue for boxing writers), so I’ll quote myself from the piece I wrote at The Boxing Tribune (“Boxing’s Dirty Little Secret”). Google it, by the way...it features some telling quotes from Steve Cunningham, Bobby Czyz, and several others:

“For those not familiar with the judging system in boxing, here’s how it works:

A list of judges, pre-approved by the lead promoter, is taken by the sanctioning body to the commission (which is also often filled with buddies and old cronies of the promoter) and, from that list, three judges are appointed for the bout. The promoter is then responsible for not only providing payment to the judges, but in some states, required to provide for food, accommodations, and a small per diem to cover the judges’ expenses. In other words, the current system is one where the promoter is in control of virtually every aspect when it comes to selection and compensation of the officials.

So, in short, the person with the most to win or lose from a fight has pretty much ultimate say as to who will judge and officiate a bout featuring his fighter...

While there’s no evidence of overt pressure to score a fight to the benefit of the lead promoter’s fighter, there really isn’t a need for any coercion. The implication is clear if you’re a judge– Score the fight the ‘right’ way or you may not get that next big assignment. No easy paycheck, no paid vacation, no comp hotel room, no per diem, no adrenaline rush from being ringside at a big fight.”

It’s quite telling how “mistakes” always seem to happen to the benefit of the house fighter. It’s also telling how these judges who are famous for making these mistakes, seldom do so when it comes to fights without fanfare, that don’t mean that much to the promoters. Even a notoriously bad judge like Gale Van Hoy, who seemed to be rewarded with an abundance of assignments after each terrible judging job, turned in very reasonable scorecards in the smaller fights he judged. 

Training and judging criteria may play a small part in the failure of the judges, but I think the main issue is the incestuous relationship between the judges/officials and the promoters, along with the fact that nobody really champions (or even mentions) a push for reform in that area. Hell, by the time this column comes out, the media will be rallying behind some other issue or some other news that pushes all this judging talk back into the dark corner of the sport’s closet.

Haney-Loma Fallout III (The Commission)

Hi Paul,

Questions for you:

Do you think NV Boxing Commission actions in the last two weekends are incompetence or something else? How would you fix the issues?

Thanks.

– Geoff

Hey Geoff.

It’s something else. As I mentioned above, it’s no coincidence that the “incompetence” always seems to work to the benefit of the house fighter. Haney-Lomachenko may not fit into that particular scenario, but let’s say that 99% of the time, the “mistakes” happen in favor of the money fighter. 

I go into further detail above about why this may be. Check it out. 

As for a fix? Nothing short of a total overhaul on how officials are selected, paid, and overseen will fix this. Under this current system, no change will suffice. There could be 50 judges, hanging from every possible corner of the arena, with full benefit of computerized live fight data, forced to release their cards publicly after each round, and we’d still get the same mess. It’s like taking a rotten stew, replacing the carrots, and expecting it to be edible. 

Unfortunately, nobody wants to talk about the issue. The media big shots know that it’s career suicide to touch on what could be a real business killer, so they never bring it up, either. So, what’s left to do? As some media blowhard once told me via email: “Give up the illusion. You’re shooting spitballs at battleships.” 

Haney-Loma Fallout IV (With a Side Order of Spence-Crawford)

Hey Paul.

Good stuff, always enjoy reading your views in boxing, but Saturday night’s fight was rough when we heard the decision. I had Loma up 2 rounds I thought he pressed the fight was the aggressor most of the fight. He hurt Haney, if not, Haney felt his power. I don’t agree with the score and most of all I feel Dave Moretti has had suspect cards in others prize fights. What’s your view? 

And now Crawford-Spence-- who do you got and why? Thanks.

– AF

Hey AF.

I agree. I had Lomachenko 115-113. I don’t want to hear about “this was close, so it can’t be a robbery.” That’s us boxing fans being conditioned for bullshit like that. We truly are the battered women of the sports world. "My husband didn't hit me too hard last night...and, really, it wasn't entirely his fault anyway..." If the wrong man is declared the winner, it's bad, it’s a robbery...Period. And seeing the logic that went into the awarding of rounds, I think there’s a clear case to make that the judges got it wrong. 

As for Spence-Crawford?

My pick remains the same as when the bout was first proposed-- Crawford by decision. Crawford’s versatility and his ring freshness will be the key factors in getting him a close points victory. 

Haney-Loma Fallout V (The Future)

Paul,

Whether or not you think Lomachenko or Haney won, the undisputed lightweight championship was on the line. I personally had it 114-114, my dad had it 115-113 Haney and my uncle had it 115-113 Lomachenko. Haney is on this quest for greatness and taking names as he says. In my opinion, his reputation took a major hit for acting like he won convincingly. In the boxing world right now, Haney's personality does not seem all too great. His heel turn seems all so corporate and manufactured. Anyways, from a legacy perspective. Whats your take on him pursuing an immediate rematch with Lomachenko? I feel like if he pushed for an immediate rematch, win or lose, this would help his legacy. I feel like he's going to move on and chase Teofimo Lopez who looks to be ripe for the taking at 140. What are your thoughts on a rematch? I feel like its the biggest fight for him right now. The Shakur fight isn’t ripe enough and the Davis fight seems to be one more fight away.

– Gregory M.

Hey Gregory.

Haney giving Lomachenko a rematch makes great business sense. It would build off of this scoring controversy and give him a chance at a more clear cut victory. It would also do a lot when it comes to public relations and his public image in the boxing world. IMO, the rematch won’t happen, though, because Haney and his dad know just how close this fight was. You just don’t give a guy like Lomachenko another shot at figuring things out. By the end of the fight, Haney was lamenting in his corner that Lomachenko seemed to know everything he was going to do. And, yeah, it sure looked like he figured Haney out by the start of the second half of the fight. It’ll be easier for Haney and his dad to just pretend they won big and move on. Whether Teofimo wins or loses against Josh Taylor, Haney-Teo makes infinite sense and, for Haney, it’ll be much more winnable than any other “big” fight out there. But expect a softer touch when Haney debuts at 140 and then a move into a Lopez PPV bout. 

I respect Haney for going the route he’s gone in this latter part of his career and I respect his abilities, but, yeah, the wannabe Mayweather villain routine is pretty cringe. 

Mauricio Lara vs. The UK

Hello Paul.

I love what Mauricio Lara has been doing to those UK boxers. First, Josh Warrington and now, Leigh Wood. The devastation has been hilarious. 

How do you see this weekend play out and who is next to demolish there in the UK?

Thanks.

– Brian C.

Hey Brian.

As I peer into my crystal ball, unfortunately, I see a screw job awaiting him this Saturday. If everything is on the level, he should level Wood again...and then he’ll never be invited back to the UK, until he’s old and is asked to fight two divisions above his optimal weight. 

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com.

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