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Boxing

This Boxing Judge Robbery Is As Blatant As It Gets

Mykal Fox is shocked at the outcome as the unanimous decision is read out.
Screenshot: Fox Sports

Venezuelan boxer Gabriel Maestre fought Mykal Fox this past Saturday, got his ass kicked for 12 rounds, and still won in a unanimous decision though egregious judge chicanery.

Fox was up against it from the start. His trainer flagged Maestre’s gloves right before the fight started, and a last-second inspection revealed that they’d been approved despite being illegally wrapped. Once Maestre’s gloves were relaced, Fox dominated in the ring and produced what should have been the moment of the fight in the second round, when he knocked down Maestre for the first time in his career.

The WBA interim welterweight title match was set up as a coronation for Maestre, who was originally set to face Canadian boxer Cody Crowley, only for Crowley to drop out after testing positive for COVID. Fox was picked as the replacement one week before the bout. Maestre has an impressive amateur record, and he had won all three of his previous pro fights via knockout, which is the sort of pedigree boxing promoters like to foster. The WBA gave him the No. 4 ranking ahead of the fight. Even though Fox is five inches taller, Fox had lost his last bout and was ranked 12th in the division. Maestre entered as the clear betting favorite, and when the decision was read out inside the ring, the commentary team and everyone in Fox’s camp was left stunned.

Shortly after the decision shocked and confused everyone, attention turned towards the three judges. The bulk of the scrutiny quickly centered on Gloria Martinez Rizzo. Her 117-110 card in favor of Maestre was the most absurd of the three. Boxing writer and commentator Corey Erdman quickly discovered her Twitter account, which had a number of racist and otherwise inflammatory tweets authored by the WBA’s 2019 Female Judge of the Year. The tweets were rude and awful, and prompted Fox to say that he was “never gonna win on her card,” but they have less to do with the actual judging of boxing. The more damning fact about Martinez is that she’s married to matchmaker and former WBA executive Ricardo Rizzo.

While Ricardo is technically no longer working for the WBA, he has been exposed as hilariously corrupt, and works exclusively with the organization as a matchmaker and advisor. Having this guy’s wife judge a pivotal fight for a boxer transparently hyped up by the WBA is as shameless as it gets, though none of this is all that shocking for an organization that held an interim title fight in a division with two extant champions (both “regular” and “super”). WBA president Gilberto Mendoza announced that the fight decision is under review, which could lead to a rematch.

Given who judged the fight and who would stage the hypothetical rematch, it would be understandable if Fox isn’t all that interested. He’d have to pretend like he didn’t wipe the floor with Maestre the first time around.