Call it a pre-emptive strike by promoter Lou DiBella.
No one wants to see a repeat of the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley judging fiasco from June 9. Least of all DiBella, who will watch his fighter Andy Lee take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (both pictured) Saturday for the WBC Middleweight championship on HBO.
Said DiBella: "Andy Lee is both one of the finest gentlemen and most talented boxers in the sport. For both of these reasons, I am proud to be his promoter. Trained by the great Emanuel Steward, he will present Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. with the stiffest test of his career, a test that we at DBE do not believe he will pass. On Saturday night, there will be a new WBC middleweight champion of the world.”
Obviously DiBella doesn’t want Lee (28-1, 20 KOs) to lose a controversial decision, but this goes a little further than Pacquiao-Bradley. One of DiBella’s former top fighters, Paulie Malignaggi, lost a questionable decision to Juan Diaz (110-118, 113-115, 112-116)in hishome state of Texas in August, 2009. Most media members and observers scored it in favor of Malignaggi.
Malignaggi scored an easy win (116-111, 116-111, 116-111) in the rematch four months later in Chicago.
"In recent times, the sport of boxing has been plagued by inexplicable decisions, questionable judging and the appearance of possible impropriety,” DiBella added. “The greatest hope of Team Lee and DBE is that the fighter who truly wins on Saturday night gets his just rewards and not simply the consolation of a public that knows the truth.”
There’s a lot at stake for both Lee and Chavez Jr. Lee needs a marquee win to keep his name in the mix for possible bouts with the likes of Sergio Martinez and Canelo Alvarez. Chavez Jr. (45-0-1, 31 KOs) has been criticized for the lack of quality opponents he’s faced.
Outside of a major-decision victory over Sebastian Zbik and a fifth-round KO of Peter Manfredo Jr., there isn’t much meat on Chavez Jr.’s resume.
DiBella wants to make sure his fighter gets a fair shake on the judge’s scorecards.
“I fully believe that the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation shares this sentiment,” DiBella said. “We are confident that the athletic commission in Texas, the judges and the referee are fully aware and agree that the sport of boxing cannot take and does not deserve more unnecessary controversy.”