Weekend-in-Review: Usmanee Robbed Against Barthelemy
Corey Erdman / January 7, 2013 - 3:01pm
Before the decision was announced, the Friday Night Fights main event was the perfect way to start the new boxing year.
Arash Usmanee surprised most everyone and overwhelmed Rances Barthelemy en route to what was to be a comfortable but very exciting decision victory. After a rocky start, Usmanee hit the pedal around the third frame, and Barthelemy just couldn't keep up. In all, the Afghan-Canadian chucked 1088 punches, including 146 in the final round.
Every virtual scorecard on Twitter favored Usmanee, and the "official" online collection from ESPN did the same. But there was a sense that with the Canadian fighting in Barthelemy's hometown, the real cards wouldn't read the same way.
They did not.
The former Cuban amateur standout was handed a unanimous decision by scores of 115-113, and 116-112 twice.
As we've seen before during other ludicrous decisions, such as Emanuel Burton-Courtney Burton, ESPN announcer Teddy Atlas understandably lost his mind.
"Joe, it might be a new year, but the same old bad judging. It's either incompetence or it's corruption. That is disgraceful. Happy New Year to you same old disgraceful judges. Happy New Year...When are we gonna have a federal commission? When are we gonna have what other sports have? Dignity, integrity, honesty. Policing for this sport, for these game warriors that put themselves on the line. When is the federal government gonna step up and take it away from this corrupt system that we have in boxing?"
Teddy and his broadcast colleague Joe Tessitore solemnly continued the discussion after the telecast ended as well:
There are many who aren't a fan of Teddy's style on commentary, and his opinionated brand of broadcasting naturally makes him a polarizing figure. However, if you're a fan of the Sweet Science, you have to respect the fact that he cares. He's like the guy your daughter is dating whom you don't necessarily like, but you can't do anything about it because you know he loves her.
No, the federal government will not step in and help out Arash Usmanee, but fans and promoters can at least try to do their part. Usmanee is a fighter without a promoter, and as such, void of the money and leverage it takes to get home field advantage in big fights. Who's going to finance it?
The only thing he can do is play the sanctioning body game and hope for the best.
The loss doesn't help him in that regard, but this fight should be viewed the same way Erislandy Lara-Paul Williams is viewed. Regardless of what the official record says, it was a win for Arash.
If the outrage and support is loud enough—combined with the fact that he's exciting as hell inside the ring—then perhaps he'll be handed some good fortune, another TV date, or a title shot.
After the bout, Bernardo Osuna spoke with a disappointed Usmanee in the locker room:
He's right, there will not be a rematch. Barthelemy's team doesn't want it, and unless it's in Quebec, Usmanee's team shouldn't bother taking it either. Unless a big name promoter stepped up to make that happen, it couldn't come to Canada anyway—Usmanee's manager/de-facto promoter Douggy Berneche's pockets aren't quite that deep.
The saddest part about the night is that Usmanee's trainer Marc Ramsay saw the robbery before it happened. As a matchmaker for Groupe Yvon Michel, who knows "the deal" when it comes to judges' influences and what Teddy describes as the "corrupt" side of boxing, Ramsay knew his fighter needed a knockout in the 12th round, and told him as much.
As it turned out, it was not the perfect beginning to 2013, but considering what we've seen from boxing judges recently, it sure was a fitting one.