We Wuz Robbed! - Why hometown decisions need to go away
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (July 16, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
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Boxing Gloves
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing: Anyone who follows professional boxing is aware of the hometown decision. It’s an integral part of the dark side of the sport.

Just a few weeks ago, one of those types of decisions reared its ugly head in St. Charles , Missouri . Hometown hero Devon Alexander went looking for some redemption against Argentine challenger Lucas Matthysee. Alexander came out with fists flying and easily won the first round. However, as the fight progressed, Matthysee landed the more telling blows. He knocked Alexander down in the fourth round and staggered him in the eighth.

The fight was reminiscent of the bull and the matador as Alexander played “oh lay” while Matthysee charged forward. In the ninth round, Alexander dug deep and fought back while Matthysee took his foot off the pedal. The Argentinean brought the heat in the tenth round and out worked the gutsy Alexander. Most at ringside had Matthysee winning the last round.

Had Matthysee done enough to win? HBO’s punch count had Matthysee landing fifty more punches then Alexander. His aggressive style had made the fight. Alexander showed plenty of heart, but in the end, the stronger Mattyhsee rightfully deserved the victory.

Nevertheless, two judges scored the fight in the Alexander’s favor 96-93 and 95-94. The other judge correctly called the fight for Matthysee by the count of 96-93. Boo’s and catcalls rained down on the Family Arena in St. Charles .

Mattyhsee's disappointment was palpable. Last year he lost a similar decision to Zab Judah .

“I gave it my all”, he said in the ring after the fight. “It was a tough fight, but I thought I won. Once again I was robbed”.

Max Schmeling’s manager Joe Jacobs had first coined the phrase “We wuz robbed” after Schlmeling lost a controversial split decision to Jack Sharkey on June 22, 1932 in New York City .

The infamous phrase has been muttered many times and in other fights. Here are a few obvious examples.

In 2004, Oscar De La Hoya defeated Felix Strum. The result was backwards. Strum was the sharper fighter throughout the 12 rounder. De La Hoya was using the Strum fight as a turn-up for his battle with Bernard Hopkins. "The Golden Boy" was the hometown fighter, having fought in Vegas on numerous occasions.

Paulie Malignaggi thought his victory over Juan Diaz was a forgone conclusion. That is until all three judges gave the fight to hometown fighter Diaz. Malignaggi righted this wrong in the rematch.

The previously mentioned Strum received his own gift last month. Challenger Matthew Macklin outworked Strum throughout their fight. However, did he get the decision? You know the answer to that question.

In Atlantic City last weekend Paul Williams, “won” a split decision over Cuban Erislandy Lara. The decision stunned many in attendance and those watching on HBO’S Boxing After Dark. Even Willams, with swelling around both eyes and blood dripping from a cut appeared shocked.

Boxing is in a critical time in it’s history right now. To some, the hometown decision is proof that the sport is corrupt.

This perception can change but change in itself is difficult. Some change takes nobility and guts. The hometown “rule” even exists elsewhere. However, ignoring it or making excuses is no solution.

The old “adage” of hometown decisions and padding records has to go. The sport needs to be attracting fans, not losing them. The boxing community has a choice. They can sit on their hands or speak up.

It’s time to be heard.

-- Questions/comments johnboxing1@hotmail.com

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