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Travis Hartman

of www.ringsideboxingshow.com

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Travis Hartman was a spectacular amateur boxer -- 156-13, with three national championships -- who has struggled as a pro. The 27-year-old, who hails from the small town of Osborn, Missouri, is still an active fighter who maintains a passion for the sport that has consumed him since his childhood.

Hartman's training journal reflects his physical, psychological and emotional struggle as he continues his an ongoing quest to become the best.

 

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Lara-Williams aftermath:
Incompetent or corrupt judges
push fans away from boxing

By TRAVIS HARTMAN

www.ringsideboxingshow.com

 

I have been trolling a lot of boxing forums to hear the thoughts of  fight fans from all over the world after last weekend’s Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara fiasco. After yet another crazy weekend of horrendous decisions by incompetent or corrupt boxing judges, I felt the need to speak.

 

An exciting HBO-televised fight ending with the three judges gifting the decision to the undeserving Williams. The three guys I am referring to were the only people in the entire world who saw the fight in favor of Williams, and, unfortunately, were the only three who actually mattered. I mean, besides the millions of fans who not only pay to see the fighters, but are also responsible for the compensation of the judges, right?

 

Besides the many other underlying issues with this robbery, the thing that most upsets me (aside from the actual decision) is the way people in general are talking bad about Williams. How is it that we are so mad at this decision that we are faulting the fighter who gave it his all and still entertained millions? Seriously, it is not Williams' fault that Al Bennett, Hilton Whitaker III and Donald Givens wrongly gave this decision to him.   

 

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 In the grand scheme, it wouldn’t matter if Williams, himself, agreed that the decision was a farce. Though it may help his perception to the boxing world, it will do nothing to right the horrible outcome.

 

Not only did Williams take a beating and is hurting physically, but now, because of terrible judging, he can’t even lose like a man. Likewise, Lara can’t win like a man. The judges wrongfully stripped both fighters of that very pride. Shame on those three judges for tainting an otherwise good fight. They have contributed to making the sweet science bitterly sour.

 

I do not buy the notion that these three judges were inexperienced or lacking big fight experience. Between Bennett, Whitaker and Givens, they have nearly 40 years of experience and judged over 25 world title fights. This is where I can’t figure out if they are corrupt or just plain incompetent. You decide.

 

HBO’s Harold Lederman scored the bout 117-111 for Lara.

The first judge, Al Bennett, who has been judging since 1991, scored the Lara-Williams fight a draw-114-114. After viewing the official scorecard,  the one round that sticks out to me is the 11th, which was clearly dominated by Lara but was awarded to Williams. One can argue about close rounds, but for the 11th round to be scored for Williams was downright absurd and cost Lara a 115-113 victory on Bennett’s official card.

 

Bennett’s most notable robberies began in 2003 in the United Kingdom when he scored a fight 115-113 for Clinton Woods over Glen Johnson, creating a split-decision draw. One judge scored the bout 116-112 for Johnson and the other was a 114-114. Another controversial decision, this time in Atlantic City, came when he judged the 2008 Paulie Malignaggi vs. Herman Ngoudjo fight, a unanamus decision for Malignaggi. Bennett had the widest margin of the three judges -- 117-111 for Malignaggi. His colleagues scored it 116-113 and 115-113, Showtime analyst Al Bernstein scored the bout a draw, and Guy Jutras of Radio-Canada saw 117-111 for Ngoudjo. Neither of those fights can compare to the robbery that took place on Saturday, but it is a start.

 

Next in line is Hilton Whitaker III who scored the fight 114-115 and also scored the the 11th round for Williams.

Whitaker’s most recent controversial decision was in 2010 in Atlantic City when he had Zab Judah beating Lucas Matthysse 114-113. In 2008, he scored the Shamone Alvarez vs. Terrance Cauthen fight a draw 94-94 when the other two judges had it an identical 98-90 for Alvarez.  He also judged another Cauthen fight in 2004, awarding it to Cauthen 78-74, while the other judges scored it 76-74 and 77-74 in favor of Cauthen’s opponent.

 

Lastly, Donald Givens, the most inexperienced of the three judges, carded 116-114 for Williams. His inexperience and decision-making is evident in that he couldn’t pick a winner for every round, scoring two even. Givens has only been judging since November 2009 and therefore hasn’t had time to amass a resume of controversial decisions. But give him time. One fight that sticks out was a 2010 bout between Antwone Smith and Lanardo Tyner. Though the fight ended in a ninth round TKO win for Tyner, Givens scored the fight 77-76 for Smith while the other two judges saw the fight 78-74 in favor of Tyner. I'll give Givens the benefit of the doubt at this point and assume incompetence and inexperience, rather than corruption, at this point.

 

    It has become all too evident that boxing is in dire need of some sort of oversight. Incompetent judges and corrupt decisions can and will continue to push avid fans away from the sport. Boxing used to be known as the sweet science, but because of inept decisions that have become all too common it is leaving a sour taste in many people’s eyes. None more sour than what Lara is feeling right now, I am sure.

 

“There's a period of life when we swallow a knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.”

-- Pearl Bailey



 

Previous blogs by Travis Hartman

 

De La Hoya is only the latest fallen idol

 

Floyd is right: Testing must get better

 

Bernard Hopkins shows his true colors

 

Hopkins, Pacquiao deserve benefit of the doubt

 

Dear Mr. Arum: Have you gone in-Sainz?

 

Work ethic separates men from immortals

 

Injury, layoff inspire an appreciation of my gifts

 

Remembering a superman named Roy Jones Jr.

 

Call it an off night for Devon Alexander

 

Hey! I was that kid who whipped today's No. 4 P4P!

 

Does boxing need power-mongers like Bob Arum?

 

Athlete vs. Writer: Two Sides of The Interview

 

Auto wreck delays rematch with Teddy Atlas

 

Manny & Me: Six Degrees of Separation

 

'Better to try and fail than never try at all'

 

'At fight time, you're on your own'

 

'Pull a Buster Douglas on them'

 

Training (but, regrettably, not partying) with Arturo

 

Ready to do battle for the hometown crowd

Love what you do, and do what you love

Living a dream in a rough, tough business


Another step, and a big fight in my career

This fight's not over -- and it's no longer about me

A dream gig is suspended by the incompetence & arrogance

 

Never be afraid to dream (or fantasize?)

 

Raging in York & dreaming of Hef's house

Why I'm facing an unbeaten foe on short notice (again!)

Advice from a legend spurs this boxer on

The truth about the boxing game: 'Boxers don't play'

Early mornings, freezing weather, miles of roadwork ...

After a superb amateur career, the fighter evaluates why his pro experience has been so very different

 

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