September 3rd, 2013 By Pedro Fernandez
SHOULD REFEREES & JUDGES BE FORCED OUT?
San Francisco, CA- People are often heard saying, “That boxer should retire, he’s too darn old.” We know fighters often stay long past their prime. That being said, aren’t judges and referees guilty of the same thing?
WBO CHIEF REF: “MANDATORY RETIREMENT”
Gino Rodriguez, the lead referee of the World Boxing Organization last week brought up the fact that at 66 he is contemplating retirement while speaking before the 26th World Boxing Organization Congress in Budapest, Hungary. Gino then asked the other “third men” in the room to take a hard look at leaving the game before they end up embarrassing themselves or blowing a fight.
ENGLAND’S MICKEY VANN OBJECTED!
No sooner than Rodriguez had broached the subject of a referee’s “mandatory” retirement, up jumped spry 70-year old British referee Mickey Vann. “I still move around real well, have my faculties, therefore I think mandatory retirement is NOT the way to go.”
EDDIE COTTON & HIS “SENIOR MOMENT”
Referee Eddie Cotton, in good shape at 66, was of the opinion that “mandatory” retirement might be the way to go. “I recently had a senior moment in which I was giving an eight count to the wrong guy.”
CONDITION, VISION & CONCENTRATION!
Being a “certified boxing judge” by the Assn. of Boxing Commissions, I feel that compulsory retirement is not the way to go for referees or judges. I put forth the opinion that “vision” exams, as well as periodic evaluations should be both mandatory. Just like you are prone to at work, evaluations are the key to putting a referee or judge out to pasture.
NEVADA DOES “POST FIGHT” EVALUATIONS
Some of you may laugh at this seeing the upside down decisions that have come from Nevada judges, but for decades all of the officials who work a show sit down and (if need be) explain their scores before they leave the arena.
EVALUATORS NEED BE A-POLITICAL
Look, I tend to admire the way the National Football League assigns officials. Your work product is always being evaluated and if you muck up, they sit you down if you can’t cut the bacon.
ELESPURU WAS “TERRIBLE” EVALUATOR
The position of “Evaluator of Officials,” be it on a state or federal level, should be totally independent of those being evaluated. In California, for reasons unbeknownst to many, the late Hank Elespuru, a B-level referee at best, inept at worst, used that position to wreak havoc on those he did not favor.
HANK “MAJOR FACTOR” IN RING DEATH
Elespuru is the referee that told me. “Shut up, sit down and let me do my job,” as I pleaded with him to stop a 1988 fight in San Jose, CA. Hank blew me off and Rico Velasquez, having lost every round and was knocked down many times, dropped dead 30 seconds into the next round, just after Hank ushered me back to my seat.
$64,000 QUESTION FOR FIGHT FANS
Should judges and referees have a mandatory retirement age? Or should they be subjected to intense and scrutinized evaluations after each fight?
THURSDAY COLUMN ALL ABOUT HUNGARY
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the WBO 2013 Awards and how I had the honor of introducing Hungarian President Janos Ader, in addition to leading the croup in singing Happy Birthday to Don King at the grand finale dinner