Sharkie's Machine: Urango Beats Ngoudjo for the IBF Strap on FNF in the Twilight Zone of Montreal
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Jan 31, 2009)  
There had to be some concerns about the potential X factor at the Bell Centre in Montreal Canada on Friday night where infamous referee, Marlon B. Wright was selected to referee the Main Event that featured Canadian 140-pound contender Hermann Ngoudjo (17-3, 9 KO’s) of Montreal against Colombian, Juan Urango (21-1-1, 16 KO’s).

Though Ngoudjo had lost two of his last four fights, he was somehow getting a shot at the “vacated” IBF Super Lightweight Title. Ngoudjo’s loss to Paul Malignaggi did look like a robbery to me and his other loss was a Split Decision against former titlist Jose Luis Castillo. Juan Urango came to this fight having won his last three fights, all by knockout. His last three opponents had records of 57-7, 22-39 and 20-4. Urango’s last loss was four fights ago, to Ricky Hatton in 2007.

Turned out that Referee Marlon B. Wright did a fair enough job refereeing this fight. He even warned the hometown fighter for holding at one point. But he will still be remembered south of the Canadian borderer as the referee that facilitated a controversial Unanimous Decision win for the current IBF Super Middleweight Titlist, Lucian Bute, at the exact same venue, for the same alphabet organization, where Lucian Bute should have lost by TKO 12. Wright employed some count shenanigans to insure victory for the hometown Bute .

Librado Andrade was clearly losing to Lucian Bute on points after being out-boxed for most of the fight but in the final round, with five seconds left on the clock, Andrade knocked the fatigued Bute to the canvas. Instead of immediately issuing a ten count, Wright turned to chastise Andrade for not having his back touching the ropes of a neutral corner. By the time he turned to do his job and give Bute a count, 11 seconds had passed since Bute had been knocked down, giving him time to recover and stand up. Then, after the bogus count, instead of assessing Bute’s ability to continue, he allowed the fight to end with the stumbling Bute falsely beating the belated count. Anyone could see Bute was in no condition to continue and any honest referee would have waved him out. Andrade was robbed and the Bell Centre and its Canadian boxing officials gave the appearance of impropriety in Montreal .

No investigation ever saw Wright disciplined for his inappropriate actions that totally influenced the outcome of the Bute Andrade fight. Instead, the IBF suspended the trainer of Andrade, who upon witnessing this theft of his fighter’s victory, stepped into the ring and shoved Wright. Yet Wright, who initiated the controversy with his dubiously late count that saw Andrade robbed, was allowed to once again referee another major fight for a title in the same venue, involving a local fighter, working for the same promoter of the event that brought us Bute vs. Andrade.

The Urango Ngoudjo fight was fairly close in spots, with Urango winning most of the early rounds with heavy handed pressure and winging punches that saw Ngoudjo floored twice in the third round. Ngoudjo then put a string of rounds together from the seventh through the tenth, followed by a Urango surge in the last few rounds. I thought Urango won at least seven out of twelve rounds, with a 10-7 round in the third for the two knockdowns.

This was a contest between a pretty decent boxer, Ngoudjo, against a fairly decent brawler in Urango, who rarely, if ever uses his jab. Urango always came forward with windmill style punches that managed to hit his target often enough to win the most rounds. Though Ngoudjo was down on points, (particularly after the third round) Ngoudjo had the better footwork and outside game. There were a lot of sloppy moments and a lot of concerns about how the officials might apply their influence at the end, when both men were still standing.

There were a few rounds that were close enough to have gone either way. Urango succumbed to a bit of fatigue after the sixth round and Ngoudjo did seem to have the better stamina, particularly in the tenth round, which took an unbelievable FIVE minutes and ten seconds to play out. I can only imagine that the time keeper must have been paying too much attention to hot looking girl in the short red dress dancing up on a podium, off on the side, which is understandable since she had very luscious thighs. Either that or maybe the time keeper just forgot where he was and thought this was an MMA match, who knows?

In the end, the right guy, Juan Urango, got the Unanimous Decision win by scores of 120-106, 118-106 and 116-112. Even in getting it right, these Judges got it wrong. The Judge that scored it 120-106 didn’t give a single round to the Canadian fighter, Ngoudjo. The other had it 118-109, which would mean Ngoudjo had lost every round by 10-9. I wonder if their scorecards were issued in Braille to accommodate their condition. The only reasonable score was 116-112, which was the closest to reality. It felt like some type of overcompensating for selecting Marlon B. Wright to be the referee and maybe the desire to curb the notion that out of town fighters get robbed in Montreal . Or, maybe they’re just incompetent Judges that simply do the bidding of the Promoters.

Congratulations to the new IBF titlist, Juan Urango, who joins Andreas Kotelnik (WBA), Tim Bradley (WBC), Kendall Holt (WBO) and Ricky Hatton (IBO) at the pinnacle of the Champion-less 140 pound division. Urango’s style has many limitations and he’d be wise to work on several things if he plans on keeping that strap beyond his first title defense. He might start by finding a jab and learning to throw straighter punches or he won’t be keeping that IBF strap for long.

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