Judges' credibility put to doubt
By Joaquin Henson Updated Thursday June 14, 2012 - 12:00am

Manny Pacquiao (left) lands a punch against Timothy Bradley in the fourth round of their WBO world welterweight title fight in Las Vegas. AP

MANILA, Philippines - The credentials of a septuagenarian and a single woman, whose Facebook page mentions interest in both genders, are now under question after both boxing judges submitted identical 115-113 scores for Timothy Bradley Jr. resulting in Manny Pacquiao losing the WBO welterweight crown on a split 12-round decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas last Saturday night.

Duane Ford, 74, and Cynthia J. Ross, 62, were the judges who saw it for Bradley while judge Jerry Roth, 71, had it for Pacquiao, 115-113. The three judges were unanimous in scoring only six of the 12 rounds. They all saw rounds three, four and six for Pacquiao and rounds seven, 10 and 12 for Bradley.

Ford and Ross gave five of the last six rounds to Bradley, virtually handing the championship to the unbeaten challenger. At the end of nine rounds, Pacquiao was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards – Roth, 88-83 and Ross, 86-85 – while Ford had Bradley ahead, 86-85. Roth awarded rounds five and eight to Pacquiao but Ross and Ford disagreed. If Ross and Ford scored those rounds like Roth did, Pacquiao would’ve won by a unanimous decision.

According to writer Ryan Phillips, HBO Sports boxing analyst and ring judge Harold Lederman questioned Ross’ competence even before the fight started. She has been a judge since 1992 and was recently in the panel for Saul Alvarez’ win over Sugar Shane Mosley. A review of her boxing history shows a degree of indecisiveness. Last year, Ross scored a 95-all draw when judges Richard Ocasio and Ford saw it for Juan Carlos Burgos over Luis Cruz in a WBC silver superfeatherweight title fight. Ocasio had it 97-93 and Ford 98-92 so Ross’ tie seemed out of whack. 

In 2009, Ross also turned in a draw, 57-all, when judges Eric Cheek and Burt Clements had it 58-56 in Andrae Carthron’s win by majority decision over Tyler Hinkey in a six-round heavyweight bout. In 2005, she again scored a draw, 38-all, as judges Patricia Jarman and Richard Houck saw it both 39-37 in Juan Carlos Santiago’s win over Larry Olvera in a four-round featherweight duel. That same year, Ross turned in another draw, 57-all, in Filiberto Young’s win over Alain Hernandez by majority decision as Bill Graham scored it 58-56 and Al Lefkowitz 59-55 in a six-round lightwelterweight contest. Ross was the odd judge out when she saw it 57-56 for Lamar Horne as Graham scored it 58-56 and Lefkowitz 59-55 for Gerardo Prieto in a six-round lightmiddleweight tussle in 2005.

In her Facebook page, Ross said she is interested in men and women, whatever that means. Two of her facebook friends are Filipino boxing judge-referee Danrex Tapdasan and Bruce McTavish.

Ross has avoided making a comment to defend her scorecard. “I wish I could give you a comment when I’m not supposed to do that,” she told Fox Sports. “Actually, you just look at the commission’s sheet and look at the scores and figure out your own comment.”

Lederman, who scored it 119-109 for Pacquiao, lashed out at Ross, saying, “She’s not the best judge in the world … when you get a major fight, you use the best three judges you can get, just like in the Super Bowl, you use the best officials.”

Ford has been a world championship judge since 1978 with assignments in Japan, Korea, Thailand, France and England. He was a judge when George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994, Larry Holmes stopped Gerry Cooney in 1982, Sugar Ray Leonard halted Tommy Hearns in 1981 and Holmes battered Muhammad Ali in 1980. A slight blemish in his record was when he scored it 143-all when Angel Tovar saw it 146-142 and Ansemlo Escobedo 143-142 in Lupe Pintor’s win by majority decision over Albert Davila in 1980.

While highly regarded as a boxing judge, Ford may be a little too old to stay sharp. Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has called for an investigation and said there will be no talk of a rematch until a conclusion is reached on the probe. 

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