No One Pays to See the Judge

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is as polished and talented of a fighter as you may ever see. He is lightning fast with feet as dexterous as his hands. His guard is good, his aim is better, and even when he is showing off he has never been taken to task for it. His fault just might be that there are few other fighters who can bring out his best and give the viewer a truly memorable fight.

Ricky Hatton has more drive and heart that most fighters and if he has a fault, it’s that he hails from the same island that gave us the Marquess of Queensberry. He really is a “stand-up” fighter, a go-getter, and tenacious. But the style of fighting here in the U.S. is a little more dirty, people get away with more, and being so stand-up just might be a negative. Hatton showed himself to be a class act in the pre-fight hype while Mayweather was an annoying and trashy provocateur.

Many fans get off on the trash talk, I’m not one of them. Fighters should make their statements with their fists, not their tongues, and in the ring, not during over-hyped press conferences and weigh-ins. Sleazy boxing promotion is nothing new, Don King is more of a pimp than any that drive the mean streets in a tricked out blingmobile, but HBO is taking the trash-talk as content formula to new hights with their 24/7 “reality” show and excessive focus on “bad blood” scripting of every fight.

Hatton and Mayweather met in the ring in Vegas last weekend, and despite a crooked panel of judges who were all Americans and known for giving “gift” decisions to under-performing home-town favorites (read: An over-the-hill De La Hoya against Felix Sturm), Hatton seemed to have evened the odds by importing a huge number of Brits who packed the Vegas arena and dominated the cheering and jeering with pro-Hatton fight songs. He was even happy with the selection of Joe Cortez as the officiating Judge:

Hatton said: “I’m delighted about Joe Cortez. He is a very experienced referee and he will not listen to the stuff about me being a dirty fighter. Cortez has been there and seen it all. If Floyd or myself foul then we will get punished for it.”

Hatton will hope Cortez allows the contest to flow in the same manner as he did in the Castillo fight.
“It’s a work of art being able to fight up close and inside-fight. I don’t hold I just work inside,” Hatton said. “Me and Castillo weren’t holding, we were educated inside fighters. It was toe-to-toe close-quarter boxing, which is as big a talent as Floyd running away and winning at distance.”

Hatton’s ability to get inside the fleet-footed Mayweather and punish the American with his trademark shots to the body is seen as one of the key areas of the fight.

Joe Cortez is a bum. His arrogant and self important pre-fight instructions were only the beginning of what turned into a judging embarrassment, dare I say farce. He grabbed the microphone at the start of the fight like a too-drunk ex-boyfriend at a wedding. He wanted to make the main event about himself, not about the fighters, and that’s exactly what he did. In no way did he allow the fight to flow (as in the Hatton vs. Castillo fight), in fact he did everything he could to stop the flow.

There shouldn’t be “renowned” judges or famous judges and you should never think back on a game and remember anything the judge did except count out a woozy fighter who was clearly knocked out. The judges should be invisible. They should do as little as possible and let the fighters determine who is the best.

Perhaps Cortez’s ego has grown too large after a bit part in the last Rocky Balboa movie, or perhaps his pre-game mantra of “I’m firm but fair” was just laying the groundwork for his plan to be overly intrusive and steer the fight. His style in the Mayweather fight was nothing like they were in the earlier Hatton fight he officiated against José Luis Castillo. In the Castillo fight, he let the fighters work it out, in the Mayweather fight he couldn’t keep is hands or his stupid opinion to himself.

The douche bag stopped the fight two times during the first round to warn about holding, calling ridiculous time-outs (the second of which the time keeper didn’t even acknowledge) and giving a performance more for the cameras than the fighters. I can’t remember the last time a Ref made a bigger production out of nothing than Cortez did in the Hatton vs. Mayweather fight.

He kept warning Hatton for the holding, even though it was clearly Mayweather initiating the holds as he looked down right dumbfounded by Hatton’s style during the entire first round. The judges seemed equally biased since all three gave Mayweather the first round when it was clearly Hatton who did more damage, set the tone, and left Mayweather disoriented and tipsy on his feet.

Cortez repeatedly grabbed Hatton, swung him around by the shoulder, broke up “holds” before they were even getting started, and let Mayweather go to town on Hatton as they were being broken up. He inserted himself between Hatton and Mayweather even when the only contact between the two was Hatton’s gloves bouncing off of Mayweather’s face.

The highlight of the ineptitude came when Cortez docked Hatton a point for supposedly hitting Mayweather in the back of the head when it was CLEAR AS DAY that Mayweather intentionally turned around and ducked under the ropes and Hatton didn’t even hit Mayweather with the swing. It was a grossly inappropriate punishment that removed all doubt that Cortez was fighting harder for Mayweather than Mayweather was fighting for himself.

He should never officiate another boxing match again. If he wasn’t getting paid to throw the fight, it’s only because he was too stupid to ask for money for his clearly biased performance.

No one pays to see the judge.

And more importantly, the judge is supposed to be an impartial enforcer of the rules, not a partisan lime light grabbing participant.

I thought Mayweather was the better fighter before the fight, and I still think he’s the better fighter now. But that doesn’t mean I gain any pleasure out of watching an official do everything in his power to cripple Hatton’s inside style and throw the fight to Mayweather.

Hatton vs. Mayweather could have been a fight for the ages, instead it wasn’t even worth the pay-per-view since Cortez and the three stooge judges decided who was going to win before hand. It wasn’t even entertaining to watch Hatton lose since very time he scored a blow, Cortez jumped in or grabbed his shoulder and deflated any sense of excitement and rhythm. There was only a brief period late in the fight where Cortez stayed out of it and it was the only twenty seconds of the fight that were worth watching.

It’s a shame that Mayweather’s win will be tainted by the horrible officiating and it’s a shame that Hatton’s fans came all the way from England to watch their guy get handed a big old plate of biased interference.

Joe, no one wants to see you, no one pays to see you, and no one should even know your name. You should be fired and forgotten. If you are to be remembered it should only be briefly as the worst actor in one of the worst movies of all time. A paid off poser, a small man, and a bringer of shame and dishonesty.

Joe Cortez sucks, and I’m not the only one who thinks so:

Jim Watt [world champion lightweight boxer from Scotland] blasted referee Joe Cortez for his “deplorable” performance during Ricky Hatton’s defeat by Floyd Mayweather on Saturday night.

The referee came under fire for refusing to let the action flow as the Hitman’s dream of becoming the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world were shattered by Floyd Mayweather.

Ricky was knocked out in the 10th round in Las Vegas and while Watt readily admitted that the Pretty Boy was just too good for Britain’s finest, he was also quick to point out that the referee did him few favours.

“I thought Joe Cortez’s performance was deplorable,” he told Sky Box Office.

“Within five seconds he was breaking up the action and it was as if it was part of the plan.

“Every time they got together, before he even waited to see if they were going to throw a punch, he jumped in – and that suited Mayweather.”

Hatton will certainly fight again, and Mayweather will likely leave the sport undefeated, but Joe Cortez should never be let near a ring for the rest of his natural days.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.