LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- While the futures of Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler remain in doubt, judge JoJo Guerra's future in Nevada appears sealed. Don't expect him to work any important fights here too soon.
In the wake of Leonard's upset of their fighter, co-managers Pat and Goody Petronelli objected to Guerra's scoring of the bout more than to the outcome itself. Commission chairman Duane Ford said he did not think Guerra would be sanctioned to judge another title match in the state in the near future.
'This here official here, his name is JoJo Guerra, should be put in jail,' Pat Petronelli said Tuesday morning. 'I'm serious. I'm not going to laugh about it, because this man gave Marvin Hagler two rounds. Think of it. Two rounds.
'And the commissioner's telling me he's a great great great judge, one of the best in the world. The other two (judges scored it) 115-113. In the ballpark. Come on, make it close.
'I'll tell you something. If the Nevada State Boxing Commission doesn't bar JoJo Guerra, they should investigate the Commission.'
Ford defended the commission's decision, and claimed Petronelli requested a Mexican judge in place of Englishman Harry Gibbs, whose name originally was proposed.
'The irony is that we had agreed upon an Englishman to do the fight, and at the request of Pat Petronelli, he desired a Mexican judge, so we brought in one to accomodate him.'
Pat Petronelli denied making such a request. Goody Petronelli said they did ask for a judge who 'would put up with rough fighting; infighting.'
Guerra defended his decision to give 10 of the 12 rounds to Leonard, and denied he succumbed to the pressure of the situation.
'That's the way I see it and that's the way I call it,' Guerra said Tuesday. 'I think Sugar Ray Leonard was in control almost the entire fight. He made Marvin Hagler fight his fight and I think he outhit him three or four to one. Hagler was aggressive the entire fight, but it wasn't an effective aggression.
'I didn't feel any pressure. This was my 45th title fight, and I have over 6,000 fights. I don't care what the public or anyone else says. There are no names in the ring to me. I see white trunks and black trunks. That's all that counts.'
After issuing numerous disclaimers, Ford indirectly admitted Guerra's scoring may not have been representative of the fight.
'I believe the Commission has to take into consideration in the future that when an official comes here there's a certain amount of pressure, because Las Vegas is the Mecca, and it takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude to (calm) themselves down,' he said.
'This pressure can be handled by world-class officials. Perhaps Pat has some merit in what he's saying.
'It's much like a Final Four game in Madison Square Garden. The officials we bring here are world-class ... but, perhaps when they get here they're at the free-throw line and they miss the hoop.'
Guerra, also referee in Mexico, judged last month's Mike Tyson-James 'Bonecrusher' Smith heavyweight title fight. There was little room for controversy in that bout, however, as Smith merely held Tyson for most of the fight.
'A truely great champion like this who has fought everybody and never ducked anybody -- to lose a split decision like this, you feel funny, with phony judges like this JoJo Guerra,' Pat Petroneli said.
In the event of a rematch, which seems likely, selection of the judges may receive much more scrutiny. Guerra likely will not be one of them.