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Judge Quits In Protest of “Totally Incompetent” Scoring

August 3, 1996 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) _ Controversy finally erupted in Olympic boxing Friday night when an American judge quit in protest over ``totally incompetent″ judging after boxer Floyd Mayweather dropped a disputed decision to a Bulgarian.

The U.S. team also filed a protest over the bout, claiming the judges were intimidated by Bulgaria’s Emil Jetchev, head of the boxing officials, into favoring Serafim Todorov by a 10-9 decision in the 125-pound semifinal bout.

Judge Bill Waeckerle, one of four U.S. judges working the games for the International Amateur Boxing Federation (AIBA), quit both as an Olympic judge and as an AIBA judge after Mayweather lost a decision loudly booed by the crowd at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

``I refuse to be part of an organization that continues to conduct its officiating in this manner,″ Waeckerle wrote in a letter of resignation to AIBA president Anwar Chowdhry.

U.S. boxing coach Al Mitchell joined in the fray, likening the international officials who run the sport to gangsters.

``They are a bunch of mobsters,″ Mitchell said. ``They need to get rid of the whole group.″

The controversy was touched off by Mayweather’s loss to Todorov in a bout he appeared to control everywhere but on the official scoring cards by the five ringside judges.

Even the referee, Hamad Hafaz Shouman of Egypt, thought Mayweather had won, mistakenly raising his hand as the decision was announced giving the bout to the Bulgarian.

In the official protest, U.S. team manager Gerald Smith said Mayweather landed punches that were not counted, while Todorov was given points without landing a punch.

At one point in the bout, Todorov fell on the canvas, and a point was registered by the judges.

``We feel that the officials are intimidated where anyone competing against Mr. Jetchev’s fellow countrymen do not have a chance, as demonstrated in this bout,″ Smith said in the protest.

Jetchev is head of the officials and judges for AIBA, and three of his countrymen are in the gold medal bouts this weekend.

Waeckerle, in a letter of resignation handed in even before the semifinal bouts concluded Friday night, said he hoped boxing would overcome a long history of bad judging and refereeing in these games.

However, he said, ``It is apparent that the system is not capable of correcting itself with the people currently in charge of selecting and assigning officials.″

Waeckerle said judges with poor scoring records were consistenly assigned to the same bouts with no regard for their ability or aptitude.

In Mayweather’s fight, he said the referee cautioned Todorov at least five times for slapping without giving him a warning. Even worse, he said, the blows were counted as legal punches by the judges.

``The judging was totally incompetent,″ Waeckerle said.

Mayweather said he could not understand how the right hands he was landing were not scoring, and why only Todorov got credit for punches when the two were both punching.

``You know and I know I wasn’t getting hit,″ Mayweather told reporters. ``They say he’s the world champion. Now you all know who the world champion is.″

U.S. assistant coach Jesse Ravelo, who complained about previous decisions against American boxers, said Mayweather’s was the worst.

``This is just a soap opera and we are the bad guys,″ Ravelo said.