Boxing wouldn’t be what it is without the fighters, and for the most part, everyone else is just along for the ride. Phew. Now that that’s out of the way, we can get straight to the brisk criticism.
Ideally referees should blend in, disappear — like Marcus Brody was incapable of doing in “The Last Crusade.” And usually they do, so this isn’t an assault on the Fraternal Brotherhood of Boxing Referees. But sometimes certain referees have performances so questionable that they have to be called out.
Recently Robert Byrd managed to botch nearly every possible call in a World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight bout between Mairis Briedis and Krzysztof Glowacki, leading to an unsatisfying, chaotic and ultimately dangerous conclusion. When Glowacki landed an exaggerated rabbit punch on Briedis on a clinch, the latter whacked Glowacki with an elbow, smack on the kisser.
Rather than halt the action in a timely manner as soon as it became clear things were getting messy, Byrd took his time separating the two and then failed to grant either fighter time to recover. It turns out Glowacki may have actually needed it, as moments later Briedis clobbered him and sent him reeling. Byrd then apparently didn’t hear the bell to end the round amid the confusion, allowing Briedis several free shots on a badly hurt Glowacki. And then Byrd didn’t give Glowacki extra time between rounds either.
Here. Watch the fouls:
Is Robert Byrd a magician? What is that hand wave? Even if that’s American Sign Language, these guys are Latvian and Polish, man.
It was memorably bad. Byrd never took proper control of the bout, he reacted lazily and it put Glowacki directly in danger. It’s impossible to know whether any of those free shots will lead to long-term issues for Glowacki.
Naturally, on this boxing history episode of Knuckles and Gloves Boxing Radio, Patrick Connor and CompuBox operator/fellow fight history-phile Aris Pina recall some of the worst referees of all time, and some of the worst officiating performances of all time.
Bring your blood pressure medication for this episode.
Find (and rate!) Knuckles and Gloves Boxing Radio on your favorite podcasting app, or click here to listen to this episode on your internet browser. Or, if you prefer, listen via the app below.