Somewhere, Roy Jones Jr. is chanting "told you so, told you so."
Boxing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England, is in full swing as we head into the second round, but the going has not been smooth, as the last few days have seen a delightful cocktail of bizarre refereeing, possible home cooking, mis-added scores and every other sort of controversy you can imagine.
At the bottom end of the scale, possible hometown scoring has marred a pair of impressive wins by British boxers. Super heavyweight Anthony Joshua managed to eke out an undeserved 17-16 decision win over Cuba's Erislandy Savon, while middleweight Anthony Ogogo pulled out a tiebreaker win over the top-ranked fighter in the division, the Ukrain's Ievgen Khyrtov, despite the total judges' scores apparently favoring Khyrtov by one.
This is apparently a byproduct of the needlessly convoluted scoring system, which may also explain the reason American Michael Hunter Jr. suffered the same fate in his loss.
Several other fights (too many, for my taste) seem to have gone to the wrong fighter based on this bizarre scoring system, which requires all five judges to note each landed punch before it's counted, but the real craziness happened yesterday.Nothing ruins a good fight like bad refereeing, as Agbeko vs. Mares, Cotto vs. Foreman, and Mayweather vs. Ortiz proved. Turns out the Olympics are no different.
The less-publicized of the two major "what the hell" moments concerned a heavyweight fight between Jose Larduet of Cuba and Ali Mazaheri of Iran. In the second round, Mazaheri was penalized three times for incredibly minor infractions, forcing a disqualification. The referee was suspended for five days.
Japan's Satoshi Shimizu, however, got the crappiest end of all crap ends of the stick against Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov.
Ahead going into the third, Abdulhamidov's cardio failed him and Shimizu went to work. Through a combination of exhaustion and Shimizu beating the piss out of him, Abdulhamidov went down six times in the third round.
Shimizu got no points for any of them and Abdulhamidov got warned all of once for the times he flopped as a defensive action.
Thankfully, it was decided afterward that the fight should have been stopped and Shimizu got the win. The referee was expelled from the Olympics.
Though justice was (somewhat) served, it's unsettling to see what is ostensibly the apex of amateur boxing be handled so ... amateurishly. Thankfully, the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will reportedly use the 10-point must system and remove headgear, and for all the crap that gets tossed its way, that system is a heck of a lot easier to manage.