Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer shared his thoughts on the controversy surrounding judge C.J. Ross, who has taken a leave of absence in the wake of her widely scrutinized 114-114 score for the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez fight last Saturday. Mayweather won a majority decision that manny among the ringside press thought could have been a shutout victory for the veteran.
Recommended by Kizer, Ross already had come under question and scrutiny for being one of two judges who scored 115-113 for Tim Bradley in Bradley’s controversial split decision over Manny Pacquiao last June.
Nevada Commission Chairman Bill Brady admitting to being “a little surprised” when the Mayweather-Alvarez fight was announced as a majority decision, owing to judges Dave Moretti and Craig Metcalfe scoring it 116-112 and 117-111, respectively, for Mayweather. Brady apologized for failing to block the inclusion of Ross.
“There’s grave concern by the commission over what happened Saturday. We are already thoroughly looking into this,” said Brady, according to Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review Journal
“I can guarantee there will be some changes. We have to protect the fighters, the viewing public and the betting public. We’re going to look at our vetting process. It needs to be more thorough. We have to get this right.”
Having defended her card by saying, in part, “I have no problems with my scoring the fight the way I did,” Ross was reportedly scheduled to meet with Brady on Tuesday to discuss her situation when the 64-year-old, 22-year veteran instead informed him of her decision to step down.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told several reporters after the post-fight press conference, including RingTV.com, that Kizer made assurances that there were would be “no controversy.”
Schaefer said following Saturday night’s post-fight press conference that he hoped that, in addressing Ross’s appointment, the commission own up to its role in the firestorm.
Kizer addressed the situation in an interview with RingTV.com:
RingTV.com: How do you feel about all of the criticism?
Keith Kizer: I understand it. I understand the criticism. I understand the outrage. I appreciate the criticism, but just be professional about it. Be honest about it, and most people are, and I can appreciate that.
There is some over the top stuff, here and there, but that’s not my concern. We’re a government agency, first and foremost. We want to be accountable and we want to be answerable.
RTV: What was your thought process in selecting C.J. Ross for the fight?
KK: I don’t want to play hindsight, 20-20, but the selection process was no different than we’ve done in the past and that we’ve done as a commission for 20 years.
I can tell you that both camps, privately, as well as publicly, had no objections to any of the judges on the list. The promoter didn’t, the sanctioning bodies didn’t.
After they were selected, I had only positive feedback from both camps, Golden Boy and the WBC. So, I’ll let others play Monday morning quarterback.
That being said, if there is a better way to do the process, then we’ll look into it. As of right now, nothing jumps out at me or at anybody else, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to be looking at it.
RTV: How much does this damage the reputation of the NSAC?
KK: We care about the reputation of the game, and of the sport, and we care about the reputation of the commission and the fighters, and some controversy is good, some controversy is bad.
This type of controversy is bad. Hopefully, people will look not just at the totality of the commission’s work over the years, but also, over the totality of judge Ross’s work over the years.
RTV: Your thoughts on commissioner Brady’s apology:
KK: I think that every commissioner, as well as myself and the staff, has always said that despite all of the accolades that we get 364 days out of the year, that we’re always looking to make things better, and if we did something not as good as we could have, we’re going to want to look at that.
That’s always been the attitude of the commission, not just Chairman Brady. We just finised up the special panel to improve our drug testing policies and I think that most people would say that the way that we test is the best in combat sports anywhere in the world.
But that’s not good enough for us. We want to get even better. Of course, as you know, we’re working with this WADA-accredited lab in Salt Lake City for Bradley-Marquez. The comment that Brady made, in itself, is consistent with that, but it does kind of stand out perhaps because of the backdrop.
But again, chairman Brady, the other commissioners and myself are always looking for ways to improve. That’s why we had this almost year-long drug testing advisory panel look at every aspect possible of testing, which is obviously a very important issue.
We did the same thing in 2006 with the Health and Safety advisory panel that gave us some really good recommendations, and we’ve had zero deaths since then. So it was a very helpful thing, and the same thing happened here.
As you remember, we did look at the selection of officials process after the Bradley-Pacquiao fight, and we got feedback from everybody. It was pretty much universally applauded, and that’s the process we used here. But if for some reason there is a way to make it even better than it already is, then great, we’ll do it.
RTV: Is it possible to defend her card?
KK: That could very well be next in line. She, actually, to her credit, she’s a very honorable person. She came in today and she said, ‘Look, I know that the story should be about the great performance by Mayweather, and it’s not.’
She said, ‘I feel bad. I’m going to take some time off,’ which isn’t unheard of for officials. So she’s going to take some time off for her own sake as well as for the sake of the sport. That’s just the sort of honorable person that she is.
So she’s doing that, and we appreciate her for that. She’s had 22 very good years as a judge, and we’ll respect that wish by her. She didn’t say how much time she’ll take. We’ll leave it to her.
Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]