Abner Mares Wins With Low Blows

All Photos by Tom Casino

In a great action fight Saturday marred by puzzling officiating by the referee that left fans at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, those watching on SHOWTIME® and the telecast team themselves totally perplexed, Abner Mares won The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All and the International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight title with a majority 12-round decision over defending IBF titlist Joseph King Kong Agbeko.

The unbeaten Mares (22-0-1, 13 KOs), of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., scored two knockdowns – one in the first and one in the 11th that was one hotly disputed – en route to outpointing the New York-based Agbeko (28-3, 22 KOs) of Ghana by the scores of 115-111 twice and 113-113.

But talk afterward centered less on the terrific performances of the talented, proud prizefighters and more on the referee, Russell Mora, whose failure to deduct a point from the winner despite at least five warnings for low blows and several other shots that seemed south of the border left many in disbelief.

During the telecast, SHOWTIME ringside analyst Antonio Tarver said, “Mora robbed all of us of a great fight.’’

There were 1,394 punches thrown in a give-and-take slugfest. Mares connected on 318 of 732, Agbeko on 318 of 732.

“I thought the first knockdown was clear,’’ said Mares, who made history by becoming the first homegrown Golden Boy Promotions boxer to capture a world title. “On the second I hit him on the belt and the ref chose to give him a count. I agree with the ref’s choice.

“I like to work the body but I was making the fight and all he did was counter-punch.

“I’m open to fight anybody (next). I love this tournament and would love to be in another one like this.’’

Said Agbeko, who demanded an immediate rematch, “I felt as though I was fighting two opponents in the ring tonight, Abner Mares and the referee. The referee ruled incorrectly on the knockdowns and he allowed Mares to hit me low repeatedly. Then, in the 11th, he called what everyone could see was another obvious low blow a knockdown.

“I don’t why these things happened to me. I felt the ref was against me from the start. All I wanted was a fair fight.

“I like Abner. He’s a good fighter. But I’m sure he didn’t want to win a fight this way.’’

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  1. Jesus A

    By rule the first knockdown was legit, again by rule. YES I agree that Mares hit Agbeko south of the border more that a few times. Even if, lets say, 2 points were deducted from Mares he still wins by split decision. Mora did a terrible job in the eyes of most, but no one has yet to mention the blows to the back of the head by Agbeko on Mares. It is my understanding that fighters wear protective cups for exactly that purpose, for protection. There is no protection against a rabitt punch. Agbeko landed a couple of those. Mora could have also deducted points for that as well but chose not to. Mares still wins by at least two points.

    Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not saying that Mares was right or wrong. I’m not saying that Agbaeko was right or wrong. Mora was wrong for not imposing the point deductions.That doesn’t change the outcome though.

  2. laxone

    All of the below!!!!

    Rematch at Home Depot Center!!!!!

  3. EZ E

    BOTH “knockdown” calls we wrong. The first was NOT a knockdoen. One would have to bend way, way backward to call that a “knockdown” after seeing the replay. Honestly, I picked Mares to win by a close but clear UD but.. I was wrong. Fouls are FOULS, a more competent ref would’ve take AT LEAST TWO POINTS from Mares during the fight he might’ve come close to DQ’ing Mares.
    Oh well.. IMMEDIATE REMATCH, and I feel Mares will emerge victorious.

  4. jonny-boy

    Mora is a joke, he should be stripped of his liscence or at the very least kept away from any main event fight. As for Mares I won’t label him as a dirty fighter but has got to correct his body work otherwise I smell dqs in his future. Agbeko fought hard despite the serious disadvantage although I thinnk with proper officiating this needs to be an immediate rematch. Mora did a disgusting job I don’t care to see him in the ring ever again.

  5. Jay

    The ref was wrong for not taking a point and for calling that low blow a knock down. Mora did a terrible job in that fight.

  6. Armindo Cortez

    This ref should be immediately disqualified for conduct unbecoming a professional. After he serves his disqualification, he should be re-trained and re-certified only if found competent to ref.

  7. Donald Stover

    Did veteran referee Mora suddenly become inept ? Have the worst night of his referee career ? Or was it a case of bias ? I can’t think of any other explanations for his disgraceful showing. One thing is certain, Mora should be stripped of his license to referee professional boxing. It is sad that an extremely talented fighter with such star potential as Mares should have his shinning moment tarnished in controversy. I don’t know what it is about Mares style that brings about consistent low swings, it certainly isn’t intentional, but I do know one thing, Mares and his team had better correct the problem and do it immediately because from this moment forward any referee inside the same ring will be under severe scrutiny to watch for anything that looks even borderline low. And for this reason it is young Mares that from now on will become the worst victim of a referees poor judgment.

  8. alfred godinez

    To many low blows . I think a rematch would be fair

  9. Edgar

    was this a fair call?