There has been a lot of talk and criticiscm of this past Saturday nights vacant IBF lightweight bout between former two-division world champion Joan Guzman and now two-time world title challenger Ali Funeka. The official scores were 116-112, 114-114, 114-114 leaving the bout a draw. Many felt that Funeka clearly won the bout. HBO’s Bob Papa called the result “…curious and absurd,” and HBO’s unofficial judge Harold Lederman had Funeka winning by a comfortable margin. Funeka’s promoter Gary Shaw stated, “Ali got screwed and he didn’t even get kissed….We must stop robbing fighters, sending them home with nothing but shattered dreams instead of the rewards they earned in the ring.” Guzman’s Manager Jose Nunez spoke out in defense of his fighter and delivered the following statement.
“I recommend all who are disputing the draw watch the fight with no volume and you will see why you can make a case for the bout being scored a draw. Funeka closed the fight strong. There is no doubt about that but he did not dominate Guzman for 12 rounds nor did Guzman dominate him for 12 rounds. There are 12 rounds in world championship fight and you have to score all 12 rounds including the early rounds.
“I don’t think anyone will argue Guzman won the first two rounds. 3,4,5 were close rounds. So if the judges give those close rounds to Guzman then you’re looking at Guzman possibly up 4-1 meaning at that point of the fight Guzman would need to win just 2 rounds of the remaining 7 to earn a draw. As far as Guzman being bloodied. Last I checked you don’t score points or winning rounds on how much someone is bleeding. There was no 10-8 rounds scored to my knowledge and Guzman was never knocked down.
“Also don’t play too much into Compubox numbers as all you need is a few dominant rounds where you outscore your opponent with punches in bunches connected, whether they are effective punches are not. You can easily have the lead on Compubox numbers over the course of an entire fight even though you have not won more rounds than your opponent.
“That’s what happened in the first fight between Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor. Some complained Hopkins was robbed because of his bad history with Taylor’s promoter Lou DiBella since DiBella had a good relationship with HBO but that wasn’t the case at all. Hopkins wasn’t really that busy the first half of that fight but closed strong and was well ahead on the Compubox numbers at the end. Taylor didn’t do a lot himself early but he was busier than Hopkins in the early rounds which enabled Taylor to win a lot of the early rounds.
“That’s the point I’m trying to make you have to score all the rounds in the fight. Thats how you get these wide scores on scorecards sometimes in a competively fought fights. If you don’t clearly dominate a round it leaves the door open for a judge to score the round even or the other way. I have no issues with the judges scoring this fight a draw.
“I have 100% confidence in Guzman and I will accept a rematch on the same terms 50/50 split but will demand an experienced referee who will penalize Funeka should elbow or headbutt Guzman. Replay video doesn’t lie and you will see Funeka’s headbutt of Guzman clearly. There is no controversy here and this isn’t a situation that is hurtful to boxing. Let’s not get carried away. It’s not that deep.”