Controversial Boxing Judge C.J. Ross Steps Down, May Retire
New revelations about Cynthia J. Ross, the boxing judge who scored Saturday’s Mayweather-Alvarez fight a 114-114 draw:
• Thought Phantom Menace was the best of the Star Wars movies.
• Freeing up her calendar in January in case the Raiders make the playoffs.
• Among the 18.8 percent who approve of the job Congress is doing.
• When asked “Paper or plastic?’, says ‘Burlap sack.’
• Hated Sunday’s Breaking Bad.
But now you won’t have C.J. Ross to kick around any more — she’s taken a leave of absence. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Ross notified the Nevada State Athletic Commission that she’s stepping down, effective immediately. Boxing judges have to re-apply for a license every year, and Ross says she isn’t sure that she will do so when hers expires. So in effect, she’s retiring.
Why the sudden turnaround, after declaring defiantly on Sunday that she stands by her decision in the Mayweather fight? Here’s a clue:
NAC chairman Bill Brady said the negative publicity Nevada has received since the fight because of Ross’ scoring had caught the attention of Gov. Brian Sandoval, who appoints commission members. Brady said he talked briefly Tuesday with Sandoval and that their conversation was mostly positive.
“I apologized to the governor for any embarrassment we may have caused the state,” Brady said. “He made me aware of his concerns. He wants things done right.”
So there was gonna be a hanging in Carson City, and Brady made sure it wasn’t going to be his.
If this had just been a bad decision in any other state, or any other sport, Ross could have easily withstood it. But this is Nevada, where the shadow of the sports book looms over everything, and gambling and boxing are inexorably linked. When the scent of impropriety is in the air there, people in high places get nervous. ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas came out and said it right after the fight: calling Ross “criminal” and “corrupt.”
I’m no boxing expert, so I can’t say one way or the other whether the Mayweather decision was legit. But look at Ross’ track record in other fights (stats courtesy Fightnews.com):
♢ June 9, 2012: Of course everyone knows that she had Timothy Bradley outscoring Manny Pacquiao in that infamous split decision Bradley victory.
♢ Nov. 12, 2011 — Juan Carlos Burgos vs Luis Cruz. Ross was the only judge not to score heavily in favor of Burgos. Scored it a 95-95 draw.
♢ Aug. 13, 2011 — Abner Mares vs Joseph Agbeko I. She was the only judge not to see Mares as the winner. She scored a draw, 113-113.
♢ May 7, 2011 — Rodel Mayol vs Javier Gallo. The other judges saw it heavily in favor of Mayol. Ross scored a draw, 95-95.
♢ Feb. 7, 2008 — Kendall Holt vs Ben Tackie. The other two judges scored heavily in favor of Holt. Ross’ score was a draw, 95-95.
♢ July 13, 2002 — Kevin Kelly vs Humberto Soto. Ross was the only judge not to score it in favor of Kelly. She saw a draw at 114-114.
♢ Sept. 15, 2013 — Was the line judge in the Arizona State vs. Wisconsin game (citation needed).
Ross, who has been judging fights for 22 years, sent Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer an email Tuesday indicating she is placing herself on an indefinite leave of absence. The email read, in part: “I will be taking some time off from boxing but will keep in touch.”
Her judge’s license expires at the end of the year. One of two scenarios then are likely — either Ross won’t reapply for a license, or, if she does, the commission won’t renew it.
The NSAC still plans on investigating the scoring. In fact, Ross had been called in to participate in that just before she stepped down.
Normally I root for the oddball and the iconoclast, as I’ve made plenty of unpopular decisions myself. I proudly own a DVD copy of the film Hook, for instance. But something about this doesn’t smell right, so I’m just going to excuse myself from this whole mess and go watch the greatest Dustin Hoffman indoor pirate movie ever made.
Photo: Getty Images.