LAS VEGAS – Since scoring the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez super welterweight title fight a 114-114 draw, judge CJ Ross has taken some harsh criticism from all corners of the boxing world. But the head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission doesn't have an issue with the controversial scorecard.
Members of the news media, fighters, ex-fighters, celebrities, promoters and others have called for Ross' head, saying the 64-year-old veteran boxing judge should never work another big fight.
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Keith Kizer, the Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director, told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday that he did not think Ross' scoring was an egregious error, or even an error at all.
"Just because a judge's scorecard ends up even, doesn't mean the judge necessarily thought the fight as a whole was even," Kizer said. "It could be that a judge has six rounds for each fighter, but the six rounds she gave fighter A, she gave them to him easily and the six rounds she gave fighter B, they were really close rounds. That's pretty much how it was last night."
Right after Saturday night's fight, Mayweather called Ross' scoring "a joke." But he's not used to having judges score against him – ever. This was the only fight of his 45-0 career, besides his fight against Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, that a judge has not scored a fight for Mayweather. In that fight, one judge scored it for De La Hoya, making it a split decision.
Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, whose company promotes Alvarez, was incensed. "The whole world was watching," Schaefer said. "That scorecard was a disgrace."
Ross was also criticized because she was one of the judges who gave Timothy Bradley a decision against Manny Pacquiao last year in one of the most controversial calls in boxing history, in which the Nevada attorney general was called in to investigate.
Kizer said when he walked over to Ross after the fight and told her she had it a draw, she was surprised. "Good judges, they don't keep track of their scores," Kizer said. "It's a round-by-round scoring system. And all three judges thought Floyd Mayweather was the better fighter, that he won that fight as a whole. And again, because one judge had it even on the scorecard doesn't mean that that judge thought both fighters did equally well."
Kizer said Ross was in the majority among the judges in 10 of the 12 rounds Saturday. The exceptions were the first round, which is usually a feeling out process and could have gone either way, and the eighth round. He also said she was in the majority in all 12 rounds of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight.
"I know most of the people won't understand it, and I understand that," said Kizer, who said he evaluates judges annually, but also on a fight card-by-fight card basis.
He said Ross is one of the NSAC's top judges, and he's not thinking about any disciplinary measure.
Ross, and the other two judges, Dave Moretti (116-112) and Craig Metcalfe (117-111) earned $8,000 each for the fight, which is based on the total purses. It's about the highest a judge has been paid since Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson, which had more than $50 million in purses, Kizer said. The average for a headliner fight in Nevada is about $2,500.