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Boxing: CONTROVERSY RAGES: Arum says judge panel was rigged

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posted on Sep, 17 2003 @ 07:00 PM
September 16, 2003

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum on Monday accused a member of the Nevada Athletic Commission of tampering with the composition of the judging panel for Saturday's championship fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden.

Arum claims commissioner Dr. Flip Homansky worked behind the scenes for the appointment of a judge who was not approved by the World Boxing Association sanctioning body.

Arum's accusation comes on the heels of Mosley's unanimous decision over De La Hoya, whom Arum promotes, in the super welterweight title bout. All three judges scored the fight in Mosley's favor, 115-113, sparking howls of protest from Arum and De La Hoya, who lost his WBA and WBC titles.

On Monday, Arum said Homansky has been upset with Top Rank over other issues for a long time and said Saturday's decision against De La Hoya "was Homansky's payback to us."

Arum's complaint stems from the appointment of Stanley Christodoulou as the WBA judge. Arum said the WBA did not approve Christodoulou, but that he was appointed as a judge because he was Homansky's choice. Homansky vehemently denies that assertion.

Arum said the WBA sent a letter of protest to the commission on Aug. 27, when it learned that Marc Ratner, the commission's executive director, planned to recommend Christodoulou.

"They had an obligation to tell me about that (WBA protest) letter and to tell me the WBA had disapproved Christodoulou," said Arum, an outspoken critic of the sanctioning bodies. "The way it was going to be was the WBA would have one judge, the WBC would have the other and the Nevada commission would appoint the third.

"I wasn't worried about the mechanics of it at the time because I'm busy promoting the fight. I've got more important things to worry about. But if I had known about the letter the WBA sent, it would have set off an alarm and I would have looked into it."

Arum claims Homansky has had a vendetta against Top Rank for several years, which Homansky said Monday is "utterly and completely ridiculous and totally false."

Arum said Homansky decided to seek revenge against Top Rank because of disagreements over medical issues Homansky has had with Top Rank staffers, notably vice president Todd duBoef and matchmakers Bruce Trampler and Sean Gibbons.

Homansky was the primary commission advocate for mandatory magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiography tests earlier this year, which Top Rank vehemently opposed.

"All of this, everything that has gone on, has been orchestrated by Homansky and Ratner," Arum said. "Marc is a tool for Homansky. He is the ultimate politician and he dances to Homansky's tune. He was, to say the least, not honest with me in this whole frigging process.

"But it's not the commission. Luther Mack has nothing against me. (Skip) Avansino certainly likes me. John Bailey is a hands-off commissioner, but I'm sure he has no animosity toward me. Neither does Tony Alamo Jr. But they're all figureheads. Homansky is carrying all of this out behind their backs and it needs to come out to the public."

Homansky said he played no role in the selection of Christodoulou. He admitted he spoke once with WBC president Jose Sulaiman and said Sulaiman gave him a list of three judges the WBC would approve. From that list, Homansky said Ratner recommended the selection of Anek Hongtongkam.

Homansky admitted there have been tensions between him and Top Rank staffers and said he believes they stem from his desire to increase medical testing of fighters.

However, he said he has no reason to take out anything against De La Hoya and said the selection of the three judges was routine.

"Marc Ratner is the one who ultimately recommends the officials to the commissioners," Homansky said. "He asked what I thought of Stanley Christodoulou and I told him I thought Mr. Christodoulou is an excellent official. I never spoke to the WBA and I never lobbied for or against anyone.

"Marc handled it completely, with zero input from me. I never spoke to anyone at the WBA. Never. Marc is the best in the world at evaluating officials and it was 100 percent his decision to recommend Christodoulou."

Ratner said he e-mailed Christodoulou several weeks before the fight to see if Christodoulou would be available. He said he never had any more contact with him. Ratner said he allows the sanctioning bodies to have input into the recommendation of officials, but said it is ultimately the commission's right to appoint the officials it chooses.

Arum claimed he is scrutinized more than other promoters, because of familiarity. He backed off his pledge on Saturday to retire, but said he is still not inclined to promote again in Nevada. Top Rank doesn't have a card scheduled for Nevada for the rest of the year.

"We're too close, they see us all the time and there are these things going back and forth with my staff," Arum said. "I love Las Vegas and I love living in Las Vegas and I know what big fights mean here. I just can't keep doing them and get disrespected and treated the way I am here."

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