Alejandra Oliveras forgot to visit
the little girls’ room before the fight – the way you do, when
you have a WBC title to defend and the trainer of four reigning
world champions in your corner – and her boots were pinching all
the way through.. This, too, is understandable. You’re a Size
Seven in training, a Size Seven at the weigh-in, a Size Seven in
the dressing room, a Size Seven walking down the corridor into
the arena and then… PAFF, the lights hit you and you’re on live
television in front of God-knows-how-many-million spectators. As
we all know, the camera adds 10 pounds.
Perhaps, instead of Carlos Tello,
she should have had Imelda Marcos in her corner; bur never mind.
She managed to retain. (Everything).
“There’s an unwritten rule in
boxing,” writes Rodolfo Parody for Ovación this morning, “that
says any aspirant to a title must demonstrate clear superiority
over the current holder for the championship to change hands.
And the Colombian failed to do so.”
There’s another rule that Acuña,
Torres and Oliveras herself understood and expressed before
recent outings (to Australia, N Korea and Mexico respectively),
which is that to defeat a champion in her own home town – in
front of judges who, even if not consciously biased, are bound
to be influenced by the reactions of the other onlookers, who
cheer, (and see?), and reinforce the judges' perception of, only
those punches the local fighter lands – you have to knock her
out (or oblige the referee to rescue her). You can’t just run,
and cling, and counter, and hope that at least two of the three
judges are keeping an accurate record of the blows that land.
No one is keeping an accurate
record. It isn’t possible. Even with judges of unimpeachable
integrity, wearing pilots’ headphones to cancel the crowd noise,
you’d still get unfair decisions, because you can’t ask anyone
to follow the flight of four fists (and handle a pencil)
at the same time.
And besides. What are the judges
supposed to be telling us? i) Who would have won if the fight
had been allowed to continue? In that case, the earlier rounds
should be disregarded; all that’s relevant is which fighter
seems the stronger at the end. ii) Which fighter handed out the
most punishment? In that case, the force (rather than the mere
number) of blows should form the main focus. It doesn’t. Twice
Marcela Acuña has made a complete mess of her opponent’s face
(while her own remained unmarked) only to be told at the end by
the judges that she’d ‘lost’.
Due, perhaps, to a further absurdity
: the system whereby, instead of looking at the big picture and
using their common sense, judges score each round in isolation,
as though it were a separate and equal entity, tallying up the
rounds only at the end – boxing's equivalent of the Electoral
College. You have Paris vs the Tooth Fairy in the first round.
Stalingrad in the tenth. And, unless there’s actually a
knockdown, equal weight is given to both!
The whole apparatus is a huge waste
of money and a distraction. It tells us nothing of interest –
even when (as must be the case at least sometimes) what it tells
us is true. Here, both fighters were on their feet and still
swinging when the final bell sounded; ergo the fight was a draw;
ergo Oliveras retains her title. Why complicate matters? All the
presence of judges seems to have done is to seduce Gutiérrez
Carrillo into thinking there was an easier way of winning. There
wasn’t. She had to stop Oliveras, and if first accounts are to
be believed, she didn’t even try.
So, if Gutiérrez Carrillo has failed
twice now to capture a world title, is it her own fault? Yes.
But there’s a deeper issue. In any society, and in any context,
Justice has a value. It has a value that is almost impossible to
overstate. Injustice is poison. Even the allegation of injustice
pollutes and enfeebles any social order in which it is made.
Nobody died here, and perhaps the decision – even according to
the existing rules of boxing (absurd as they are) – was correct;
but the Colombians are bound to cry foul – as they did after the
Acuña fight – and when they do so, how is anyone going to
justify to them the decision to take all three judges, plus the
referee, plus the fight supervisor, from the country of one,
only, of the fighters? And the one who already had home
advantage to boot!
It’s a platitude, but a good one:
Justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be
done. If you really must have judges, you really must have
judges from a neutral country. Ditto for the fight supervisor.
Ditto for the ref.
Last night the referee, rightly or
wrongly, deducted a point from the Colombian after a collision
of heads in the second round that left Oliveras with a cut, the
bleeding of which her corner – a pit crew Fernando Alonso must
envy – managed to staunch, but which rendered the champion’s
laudable, if predictable, attempts to knock the challenger out
even more frenetic. Towards the end of the fight, she switched
her attack from the head to the body, which is where – if the
old saw “kill the body and the head must fall” is the sole
touchstone – a clever fighter begins. The best fighters, though
– the Ana María Torres’s of this world – are switching
constantly the point of attack throughout the fight – within the
same round, and even within the same combination. Where to
strike at each instant is a decision fighters have to take for
themselves. But Oliveras is still learning. It’s her strength
and the technique with which she delivers her blows that’s got
her where she is. She trains like a demon. She has a great
coach. She lacks acumen.
Rodolfo Parody again to conclude:
“The judges Carlos Rodríguez (98-93), Héctor Primerano (98-91)
and Gustavo Estrella (98-91) decided in favour of 'La Locomotora'.
It was obvious that these cards didn’t justly reflect what went
on the ring. But few people cared. The city had never hosted a
world title fight before and the people of Rosario had come to
have a ball.”
The fact that Cinderella was wearing
the wrong slippers spoilt nobody’s evening but her own.
(Sources: La Capital(Ovación), El
Ciudadano(El Hincha), TyC Sports, Boxeo-boxing, Deportivo