14th August, 2011
Ghanaâ€™s Joseph Agbeko is demanding an immediate rematch after a serious backlash over referee Russell Moraâ€™s performance in Agbekoâ€™s bantamweight unification with Abner Mares at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.
Maresâ€™ hard road to a world championship reached its destination Saturday, with a huge 11th-round push to the finish line by referee Mora.
Mares defeated champion Joseph Agbeko by majority decision in a thrilling clash for the International Boxing Federation, IBF, bantamweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Judges Oren Shellenberger and Adalaide Byrd each scored the bout 115-111 for Mares, and C.J. Ross had it 113-113.
The scoring was spoiled by Moraâ€™s decisions, with the worst gaffe being his 11th-round decision to award Mares (22-0-1) a knockdown when it was obvious the already warned challenger from Hawaiian Gardens threw a hard left uppercut that definitely qualified as a low blow.
Instead of deducting a point from Mares and avoiding pain to a sensitive area, Agbeko lost the round by a 10-8 score.
â€œI had two opponents in the ring: Abner Mares and the referee,â€ the Ghanaian boxer said.
Had Mora not given Mares credit for the knockdowns, and deducted points from him in the 10th and 11th rounds, Shellenberger and Byrd wouldâ€™ve scored the fight a draw.
Mora stunned the crowd by not previously taking away a point from Mares after other blows below the belt, and even his first-round ruling that Agbeko was knocked down by a Mares left looked amiss when replays showed Mares had stepped on Agbekoâ€™s foot right before the shot.
Agbeko lost his footing and stumbled through the ropes.
â€œThe first knockdown was clean,â€ Mares said.
Besides the two poor knockdown calls, there were numerous low blows landed by Mares and Mora never penalised him. After 12 rounds of action, Mares won a 12-round majority decision to win Agbekoâ€™s IBF title. Agbeko is demanding an immediate rematch.
â€œI was getting hit with some very bad low blows. Mora wasnâ€™t warning Mares or doing anything about it. The referee should not have to steal my title and give it to Mares. I demand an immediate rematch. This fight doesnâ€™t make Mares a champion…no way,â€ Agbeko said.