September 19, 2003

Oscar de la Hoya: “I Was Robbed!”

By Fiona Manning

The fight might be over but the battle has only just begun between seven-time world boxing champion Oscar de la Hoya who lost his WBA 154 world championship under controversial circumstances to “Sugar” Shane Mosley before a capacity crowd of 16,000 fans at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino on Saturday night.

Oscar De La Hoya leaves the ring to the cheers of the huge crowd of nearly 17,000 at MGM Grand. UPI photo/Roger Williams

Today, the Nevada State Athletic Commission announced it will launch a disciplinary inquiry on October 15 to look into statements made by de la Hoya’s promoter Bob Arum who alleged the fight results were fixed.

De la Hoya, who appeared to most to have won his fight, said he would launch his own inquiry into the bizarre decision of three judges who saw what looked like a clear-cut victory for the Golden Boy as a victory for Mosley.

The deposed champion congratulated Mosley but he and his promoter Bob Arum protested the judges’ decision saying an inquiry should be held.

In unilateral scores of 115-113, the three judges scored the fight for Mosley who looked stunned at the announcement, considering his father told him all night long that he was losing the fight.

De la Hoya was devastated by the decision, as was his trainer Floyd Mayweather who has gone into seclusion since the events of Saturday night.

At the post-fight press conference, Bob Arum alleged that the de la Hoya-Mosley decision is a “payback” from Nevada Athletic Commission member Dr. Flip Homansky, whom Arum believes has a vendetta against his promotional company, Top Rank Inc.

Arum told the Las Vegas Review Journal this week that Homansky had secretly lobbied to get South African judge Stanley Christodoulou appointed as one of the three judges, despite the WBA’s written protest.

Homansky has denied any wrongdoing. Today, five days later, de la Hoya is still defiant.

“I want to thank the public and all the fans for the amount of support I have received over the past few days,” he said. “Last Saturday was to be a great day for the sport of boxing, but it seems that as great as the fight was, the controversy following the decision has tainted the sport again.

“This controversy was not caused by my post-fight comments but rather by the fact that millions of people watching the fight from around the world were of a different opinion than the three judges in attendance.

Oscar De La Hoya showing the scars of a tought fight. UPI photo/Roger Williams

“Following the fight, I certainly gave Shane Mosley the respect he deserves and I will continue to do so. He is not only a great fighter but as well as a first-class guy. I wish him much success in the future in or outside the ring.”

Immediately after the fight at a post-fight press conference, a battered de la Hoya pointed to the punch stat scores (he doubled Mosley’s output) and declared “I have been robbed.”

His promoter Arum, though based in Nevada stated that this fight would be his last in Nevada. The 72-year old promoter also said that he would retire by year’s end as a result of this fight.

“It has left a very nasty taste in my mouth. This is what happens when you allow betting on a professional sport,” he said. “I am disgusted and furious. We did not lose this fight.”

Today, de la Hoya went one step further: “Throughout my years as a professional fighter, I have never made any negative comments about the Nevada State Athletic Commission and I will not do so today.

“At the same time, however, we cannot forget and ignore the public and the fans. It is they who make or break this sport. It is not just about Sugar Shane or myself, it is about being honest with the public. Based on totally independent online polls, it seems that from 70% to 74% of the public thinks that I won the fight.

“I can understand their frustration and I think that all of us involved in boxing, from news media to state athletic commissions to boxing experts and promoters, need to pull together rather than pulling apart, and try to explain to the millions of people who watched this fight just what happened.

“Who appoints the judges? What is the selection process? What are the qualifications? What training is required? How is a round scored? Does the amount of punches thrown or the accuracy of landing count? These are just some of the questions that I think the public has a right to be answered.

“When I formed Golden Boy Promotions last year, I knew that many issues surrounding the sport would need to be addressed. This takes time and patience but I am convinced that if we rally together, we will succeed in giving this great sport its rightful place.

“I promise to continue to give my best and work hard for all my fans, the fans of the sport and most importantly the many fighters! After all last Saturday was not that bad, if it was the beginning of the ultimate fight, the fight for a better future of boxing!”

Long before the punch stats were revealed, few of the non-working judges and other members of the print media ringside scored the fight for Shane.

Then the CompuBox results came in. De la Hoya outlanded Mosley in 11 of the 12 rounds. He landed 221 of 616 punches (36%), Mosley landed 127 of 496 total punches for the 12 rounds (26%). De la Hoya threw 10 more punches a round.

De la Hoya landed 106 of 296 jabs (36%), Mosley 33 of 268 (12%). (Mosley out jabbed de la Hoya in the first fight).

In power punches (some people think Mosley had the edge), de la Moya outlanded Mosley 115 to 94.

“The reason why I want to press forward with an inquiry is because of the punch-stat numbers,” de la Hoya said.

“I actually landed one hundred more punches than he did. I am not doing this because I am a sore loser. I am doing this for boxing. This does not effect my decision about retiring. I will wait until I am settled down and talk to my family before making that decision.”

When asked at the post-fight presser whether he felt this was just a bad decision or some sort of conspiracy, De La Hoya said, “We’ll see. I am really going to put may heart and resources into this.

“We have seen in boxing a lot of bad decisions. I feel for boxing that it’s time they stopped. I think that its time for fighters to make a stand and I am the man to do it.”

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