'Local officials will jack up their acts'

Bongani Magasela

Bongani Magasela

Officials in the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Oscar de la Hoya last Sunday rose above distractions and applied their minds fully to their assignment.

The noise from some 16 200 fans, who were in raptures in their appreciation of clean pugilism, could have easily affected local officials who have often judged personalities instead of fighters.

But referee Kenny Bayless and judges Chuck Giampa, Jerry Roth and Tom Kaczmarek calmly went about their duties and scored the fight 116-112 and 115-113 to Mayweather, and 115-113 to De la Hoya.

Bayless gave Mayweather and De la Hoya their deserved space and freedom to express themselves physically - contrary to what happens in the local ring.

Loyiso Mtya, public relations officer of Boxing SA, agreed that the potentially enthralling local bouts often ended up being a bore because of some egocentric referees.

"Others would have disrupted action and warned Mayweather for holding, when in fact he was clinching, while some would have created work for themselves by coming in between them just to say they must watch their punches," said Mtya, a former professional fighter.

"Look at body shots. We no longer see them because every time boxers throw them, referees jump in between and either issue warnings or dock a point.

"But I can tell you, a lot will change. We will be careful in our selection [of officials]. We're aware that there are good referees who cannot judge a fight and vice versa. "