Monday, September 22, 2014

An Open Letter to the Nevada State Athletic Commission Regarding Robert Hoyle

Note: this letter was emailed to Francisco Aguilar, Chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, on September 22, 2014. 

Dear Chairman Aguilar:

I am writing in reference to a concerning pattern that I have noticed regarding the scorecards of Nevada boxing judge Robert Hoyle, particularly in title fights that he has judged that involve boxers who are based in Las Vegas, Mr. Hoyle’s hometown. On September 13, 2014, Mr. Hoyle turned in a scorecard of 119-109 in favor of Mickey Bey over Miguel Vazquez in an IBF world lightweight title fight. This score was far out of line with the other two judges of the bout – Adalaide Byrd, who scored it 115-113 in favor of Vazquez, and Julie Lederman, who saw the fight for Bey 115-113. The Showtime TV commentators scored the fight in favor of Vazquez and most ringside observers appeared to have Vazquez winning the fight, a draw or a small Bey victory. In no scorecards that I reviewed in the aftermath of the fight did I see anyone having Bey winning 11 rounds in that bout.

In the first half of the fight, Bey was ineffectual. In fact, in four of the first six rounds of the match, CompuBox (not a perfect characterization of a fight’s action, but a neutral and descriptive one) had Bey landing five or fewer punches. In four of the first six rounds, Bey was credited by the organization as landing only three or fewer power punches. According to CompuBox, Vazquez outlanded Bey in the fight in five of the rounds and three more were even.

In addition, Bey’s shots throughout the fight weren’t particularly hard-hitting, so even in those cases where he landed fewer punches than Vazquez in a given round it wasn’t as if his power shots were so conclusively superior that he should have been awarded those rounds. Now, I understand that this fight didn’t feature lots of action, but a discerning and competent judge should have been able to select Vazquez as the winner in far more than one round of the fight.

As you may know, Bey trains out of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas. He is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, a Las Vegas-based organization, and he has been a fixture in the Las Vegas boxing circuit for many years. Vazquez is from Mexico and trains out of California.

Mr. Hoyle has been judging fights in the Nevada jurisdiction since at least 2000. He has been selected for many international judging assignments by various sanctioning bodies and his scores, with very few exceptions, have proven that he is a competent judge. However, most of these exceptions involve fighters who are based in Las Vegas. On April 12th of this year, he scored the Jessie Vargas-Khabib Allakhverdiev WBA light welterweight title fight (which took place in Nevada) 117-111 for Vargas, another fighter who lives in Las Vegas. His scorecard for the bout was wider for Vargas than the other two judges, who also both had it 115-113 for Vargas.  Most observers of the fight believed that the contest could have been awarded to either fighter. 117-111 seemed beyond the reasonable range of scores for that bout and again, after the fight, I didn’t see a similar score for Vargas by that margin.

On April 6, 2013, Mr. Hoyle was selected to judge the Roman Martinez-Diego Magdaleno WBO lightweight championship fight in Macau, China. Magdaleno, like Bey and Vargas, was also from Vegas (all three fighters were going for their first major world title in these bouts). Mr. Hoyle turned in a card of 116-111 for Magdaleno, while the other two judges saw the fight 115-112 and 114-113 for Martinez. In the fight, Magdaleno was knocked down and had a very ineffective second half. Most observers had the fight as a close Martinez victory and Mr. Hoyle’s scorecard indicated that he had given Magdaleno nine rounds in the fight. Again, this scorecard was well out of the range of other judges and media scores for the bout.

As I stated earlier, I have reviewed Mr. Hoyle’s judging record in depth and although there have been instances of deviations from other judges in a few of his bouts, I have found his record to be quite satisfactory in terms of his ability to judge fights accurately. However, when Vegas-based fighters are involved against out-of-jurisdiction opponents, his scorecards show a disturbing pattern of favoritism towards those from his home city.  

As the Chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, I know that it is a responsibility of yours to ensure that the NSAC and its designated officials shield itself from impropriety, the appearance of impropriety or bias. I recommend that the Commission reviews these fights in question with Mr. Hoyle and investigates to see if there were any prejudicial actions, behaviors or bias on Mr. Hoyle’s behalf that occurred in connection with these bouts.

I know that you take these matters very seriously and it is imperative that out-of-jurisdiction fighters get a fair shake with NSAC-appointed officials for their bouts. As one of the leading combat sport commissions in the country, the NSAC must be perceived as being an official body that upholds the highest standards of propriety and integrity. Thank you for your consideration.

Adam Abramowitz
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Adam Abramowitz is the head writer and founder of saturdaynightboxing.com.
He is also a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
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