It seems the pressure was unavoidable this time and someone has finally taken action to compel this controversial figure in the professional boxing world to finally step down.
In an article by Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this evening, it was reported that judge C.J. Ross voluntarily took an indefinite leave of absence following the controversy of this past weekend’s world junior middleweight unification title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. In a fight that almost every fan we’ve spoken to on our very own social networks that Mayweather clearly should have won, Ms. Ross’ controversial ruling merely handed the victory to Mayweather on a split decision. While it is still a win, the victory was tainted by a questionable review by an already heavily scrutinized figure in the world of boxing.
To quote Mr. Carp’s article:
Ross, who has been judging fights for 22 years, sent Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer an email Tuesday indicating she is placing herself on an indefinite leave of absence. The email read, in part: “I will be taking some time off from boxing but will keep in touch.”
Her judge’s license expires at the end of the year. One of two scenarios then are likely — either Ross won’t reapply for a license, or, if she does, the commission won’t renew it.
Ross scored the fight 114-114. The other judges — Craig Metcalfe of Canada and Dave Moretti of Las Vegas — had Mayweather winning 117-111 and 116-112.
Ross’ score set off a firestorm of controversy throughout the boxing world, and, while she defended her work Sunday, she decided Tuesday to step aside for the good of the sport and the commission.
“She feels bad the focus is on her, not Mayweather,” Kizer said. “We recognize and respect C.J.’s decision.”
Mayweather co-manager Leonard Ellerbe said after hearing the news: “Things happen in the sport, and it could have been a lot worse than it was. But we want to be positive about what happened Saturday.”
NAC chairman Bill Brady said the negative publicity Nevada has received since the fight because of Ross’ scoring had caught the attention of Gov. Brian Sandoval, who appoints commission members. Brady said he talked briefly Tuesday with Sandoval and that their conversation was mostly positive.
“I apologized to the governor for any embarrassment we may have caused the state,” Brady said. “He made me aware of his concerns. He wants things done right.”
Brady said there will be changes to the process for selecting officials beginning Sept. 25, when the commission will make assignments for the WBO welterweight title fight between Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez on Oct. 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“There will be more questions asked, and Keith will be held accountable for his recommendations,” Brady said. “We won’t be a rubber stamp anymore.”
Bradley’s last fight in Las Vegas, against Manny Pacquiao on June 9, 2012, at the MGM Grand, also ended in controversy because of Ross’ scoring. She had Bradley winning a fight many believe Pacquiao won handily.
However, unlike the Mayweather-Alvarez fight, which Mayweather won despite Ross’ scoring, her work in the Bradley-Pacquiao fight helped Bradley win a split decision.
That increased the scrutiny of Ross’ work Saturday. And when she scored the fight a draw, more controversy ensued and eventually led to her decision Tuesday.
“We appreciate C.J. Ross’ action,” Brady said. “She is a good person who cares about the sport.”
Kizer said there will be a mandatory seminar in October or November for Nevada judges.
“We were planning to do a seminar before this happened,” he said. “We usually do one every couple of years, just like we do for our referees, our inspectors and others.”
Brady said the ultimate goal is to turn a negative situation into a positive one.
“I think it’s a new day for the commission, a new day for boxing and a new day for the state,” he said.
We, at SciFighting, hope that this will help usher in a new level of quality judging that will instill confidence in the professional boxing community once again. And on a related note, this should serve as a good reminder to all judges of combat sports who find their rulings are in stark contrast with the vast majority of fans. No one is indispensable!