Williams vs. Lara:
Judges Reward Activity Over Precision;
Ramos Upsets Shimoda &
Undercard Results From Boardwalk Hall
By Tim Donaldson
Photos: "Sugar" Ray Bailey
If you did not see the
Williams, Lara fight, by now I am sure that you have
heard the controversy. With the exception of Paul
Williams, no one really seems happy with the results of
the fight. Harold Lederman of HBO scored the fight for
Erislandy Lara. Max Kellerman, Roy Jones, and Bob Papa
all thought that Lara won. However, the official judges
at ringside did not see the fight that way. Whitaker and
Givens both scored the fight for Williams, while Al
Bennett saw the fight as a draw.
Now I am neither surprised that Bennett saw the fight as
a draw, nor am I surprised that Whitaker and Givens saw
the fight as belonging to Williams. On my own scorecard
I had the fight extremely close, seven rounds to five.
The only difference is that I had Lara as the winner.
After watching my DVR recording of the fight from the
HBO telecast, I have since reconsidered many of those
close rounds. So why the discrepancy? Let me try to
explain. Early in my writing career I covered a fight at
the Legendary Blue Horizon. I was seated next to the
referee, the one that was not in the ring, of course.
Talking to one of the referees during one of the early
fights, I had the chance to ask him about judging. He
taught me a lot that night. One of the things we had the
chance to talk about was how two judges can see things
so differently. Part of that conversation centered on
the idea that sometimes a judge can be watching a
particular fighter too closely, concentrating on every
good thing they do while missing what the other fighter
Is that what happened in this fight? I didn’t talk to
the judges, but I know that some on press row even
scored the fight for Williams. It’s not that hard to do,
especially for a Williams fan.
In the first round
Williams came out and threw the first punch. He looked
like he was taking control of the fight early. Sure,
Williams went down but that was from Lara leaning on
him. Of course, Lara did land that first big left hand,
but Williams took it like a champ. In the second round
Williams appeared to be backing Lara up in the beginning
of the round. Again, Lara threw that overhand left, this
time staggering Williams, but again Williams survived
it. Now Williams was champion, so why shouldn’t I give
those rounds to him. He survived those left hands, and
he seems to be throwing more. The whole fight pretty
much went that way.
Here is the other point. Throughout the fight, Williams
was throwing more punches. In fact, Williams threw
double the number of punches that Lara threw, over a
thousand. Depending on your view, you might have thought
that more of them were landing than actually were. In
reality, the majority of Williams’ punches were landing
on the arms of Lara, or were just plain missing him.
Lara was slipping punches through, around, and over
Williams’ defenses. Not only was Lara landing more
percentage wise, he was landing more period.
Now the only other thing
I saw that might have convinced a judge to give one, or
more, too many rounds to Williams was the fact that Lara
spent most of the fight backing up. Now at first, I
thought this was because of the pressure that Williams
was putting on Lara. However, as I watched the fight, I
realized that this was more due to the strategy of Lara.
Lara did not engage when he thought Williams would have
the advantage. He would back up, make Williams come to
him, and then land one of those big left hands. Too
often we, and by we I guess I mean myself, can interpret
a fighter who is constantly backing up as a fighter in
So yes, I can understand the score. Do I agree with the
score? Absolutely not. Do I have a solution so that this
cannot happen again? No. This is the problem with sports
that are scored by people. We humans are subjective, and
sometimes we see what we want to see. As long as the
judges stay human, we will have this problem. Besides,
after the first Williams, Martinez fight, Lara should
have known that it was a good bet that he would have to
knock out Williams to get that win. He had that
That is exactly what
Rico Ramos did against Akifumi Shimoda. The only real
difference is that unlike Lara, Ramos was losing nearly
every round before knocking Shimoda out in the seventh
round to take the WBA Super Bantamweight title. Shimoda
was clearly in control of the fight from the second
round on. Ramos seemed to be having trouble fighting a
southpaw, and Shimoda by the third round was cutting off
the ring. He was doing an even better job of cutting the
ring off in the fourth round.
Now Ramos must have sensed that he needed to do
something big. By the fifth round, Ramos was being more
aggressive. However, Shimoda was able to once again take
control of the round. Shimoda was concentrating more on
the body in the sixth round. It looked as though this
was going to be an easy decision for the judges, or
Shimoda’s body shots would eventually wear down Ramos.
However, sometimes things just don’t work out like
expected. Ramos never gave up. Although Shimoda clearly
looked in control of the seventh round, landing several
good combinations, Ramos was able to end the fight with
one big left. Shimoda went down, stumbled to get up, and
was caught by referee Benjy Estevez.
The other big knock out
of the night came from Jhonny Gonzalez in his WBC
Featherweight Title bout against Tomas Villa. This one
was not as unexpected as that by Rico Ramos. Gonzalez
was clearly in control throughout the fight. He landed
the first punch, which could be heard echoing throughout
the ballroom. Although Villa tried to keep coming
forward and attack Gonzalez, it was Gonzalez who landed
combination after combination. Gonzalez throughout the
fight landed shots to the head and body. The only time
that Villa looked as though he might have the upper hand
was in the beginning of the third round. He was able to
get off a few good shots before Gonzalez once again took
control of the round. At the beginning of the fourth
round, Villa came running out at the bell. Gonzalez
landed a body shot and Villa went down on a knee. He
stood up and started across the ring, only to go back
down while spitting up blood on the canvas. Eddie Cotton
stopped the fight right then.
Now I thought Chris Arreola would have done more to
impress those watching to convince us all that he
deserves another shot at that heavyweight title.
Although Arreola had little trouble against Friday
Ahunanya, he was unable to put him away. Even when
Arreola seemed to have Ahunanya in trouble, he would let
him off. At times the fight looked like a sparring
session. Unfortunately, Ahunanya did not always look
like a willing partner. Arreola easily won the fight on
all three judges’ scorecards, 100-90, 99-91, 99-91.
The night started with Dennis “Momma’s Boy” Doughlin
defeating Phillip McCants by unanimous decision.
In the second fight Thomas “Cornflake” Lamanna won by
TKO against Reggie Jenkins. It was Jenkins pro debut.
Cornelius White won by split decision against Dhafir
Brandon Quarles also won by split decision against Corey
John Lennox won by TKO against Donnie Crawford.
Finally I would like to add that Roy Jones is an
excellent dancer. While Jones, Kellerman, and Papa were
waiting to go on air, Roy Jones could be seen dancing to
the music playing in the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at
Boardwalk Hall. Has Jones done Dancing With the Stars