The CyberBoxingZone News

Bruno on Boxing
Joe Bruno

December 5, 1999

By Joe Bruno---Former Vice President of the Boxing Writers Association and the International Boxing Writers Association

1999 was a year of rancid decisions in boxing, so why not add one more debacle to the list.

IBF Junior welterweight champion Fernando Vargas was given an early Christmas present by the crooked IBF (is that phrase redundant?) judges on December 4 in Lincoln (Not Honest Abe, of course) City, Oregon. Vargas faced rugged veteran Ronald "Winky" Wright the Chinook Winds Casino, and after 12 grueling rounds, Vargas was awarded a majority decision this reporter thought he didn’t even come close to deserving. Judge Dave (Hedger) Hess scored the bout 114-114, a draw. But Judge Jim (Highwayman) Howard had it 115-113 and judge Debra (Blind Woman ) Barnes saw it 116-112 both in favor of Vargas.

The fight was seen on HBO After Dark and Vargas is an HBO fighter, so the wrongful decision was not totally unexpected. But even HBO’s shrill shill boxing judge Harold Letterman had the fight 115-113 (7-5 in rounds) in favor of Wright. This reporter scored the fight 116-112 (8-4 in rounds) in favor of Wright, but even before the decision was announced, I knew there was no way an HBO house fighter, in whom HBO has invested big- time bucks, would ever exit the ring an official loser.

With a reputation as a fighter that relies on movement, Wright stood in front of Vargas the entire bout and was willing to trade power punches along the ropes or in the middle of the ring. Almost in every round, the southpaw Wright landed at will with a sharp right jab. Vargas threw bunches of punches throughout the fight, but most were blocked by Wright’s highly-held gloves.

After the fight, a battered Vargas, now 18-0 with 17 KO’s, told HBO pontificating-commentator Larry Merchant he’d make no excuses for his poor performance, then in the next breath he blabbered on to do exactly that. "I had some personal problems in camp and I could not train right," Vargas whined to Merchant. "I couldn't cancel the fight, so what could I do? I had to fight."

Wright fell to 39-3, but was convinced he was the better man. "I won that fight, I dominated that fight. I blocked all his shots and beat him at his fight. I knew if I boxed him they would say that I ran all night. So I slugged it out and he didn't hurt me at all. I know I won this fight. ... I knew if I didn't knock him down or out I probably wouldn't win."

Right again Winky.

The fight HBO and it’s machiavellian monarch Seth "The Shrimp" Abraham wants to desperately make, and could not afford to lose, is Vargas against former welterweight champion Ike Quartey, who was seen sitting smiling confidently at ringside. This horrendous decision allows them to do exactly that, hopefully not on pay-per-view.

Ah the business of boxing. The stench persists, right into the 21st Century.


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