The controversy continues to swirl surrounding the Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara fight which took place in Atlantic City last Saturday night. In a move announced Wednesday, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (“NJSACB”) placed all three judges who scored the fight on an indefinite suspension.
In its announcement (below), the NJSACB commented that a rematch of the fight “may be warranted” in the wake of the judges awarding Williams a decision victory in a fight which the majority of media members and fans in attendance, as well as those watching the HBO telecast, had Lara winning easily. Two judges scored the fight for Williams, 115-114 and 116-114, while the third scored the fight a draw (114-114).
Having concerns regarding the final scores rendered by the judges, the NJSACB called all three judges to the Board’s offices in Trenton for a full review of each judge’s scoring of each round. Following the review, the Board determined that “there was no evidence of bias, fraud, corruption or incapacity on the part of any of the judges.” However, after hearing the judges’ explanations of their scoring, the Board remained “unsatisfied” with the scoring and suspended all three judges indefinitely. Each judge will be required to undergo additional training before being allowed to judge a professional boxing match again.
The NJSACB concluded that under these circumstances, the Board does not have the legal authority to invalidate the judges’ decision nor to mandate a rematch. The Board did, however, express its opinion that a rematch “may be warranted.”
The actions and opinion of the NJSACB seem to support the assertion of Erislandy Lara, Golden Boy Promotions and Lara’s management that Lara was the true winner of the fight against Williams and that a rematch is deserved.
Golden Boy Promotions salutes the NJSACB and its commissioner, Aaron Davis, for promptly reviewing the decision and taking decisive action to uphold the highest standards of integrity and competence among its officials.