3. Paul Williams MD12 Erislandy Lara - July 09, 2011
When all three judges are suspended and are made to take additional training after a fight, the decision in question must have been horrendous.
Former two-time welterweight champion Paul Williams was coming off the worst loss of his career before facing Erislandy Lara. After a back-and-forth brawl with Sergio Martinez in 2009, a rematch the following year ended with Williams laying face-first in one of the most vicious knockouts of the last few decades.
The Cuban amateur star, Lara, still wasn't established as a professional when he fought Williams. He had a draw with the unheralded Carlos Molina in his previous fight, with many arguing he should have lost. However, against Williams, he faced someone tailor-made for his style.
Despite Williams being the favorite leading into the fight, there was a blueprint already laid to defeating the six-foot southpaw. Against fellow southpaws, Williams was vulnerable in leaving himself open to counter left hands. It was his downfall in his first fight with Carlos Quintana and rematch with Martinez.
Lara would implement the same strategy as Quintana and Martinez before him threading the needle in between Williams' punches and landing left-hand counters regularly. Due to Williams' high volume, there were several rounds that were close. But even in those stanzas, it was Lara who was landing the more effective, harder punches.
When the final bell rang, Lara had proven himself to be a top fighter at junior middleweight, and Williams needed to reevaluate where his career was headed. But the judges found that Williams had done enough to win the match with a majority decision. The scores were 115-114, 116-114, and 114-114.
Williams doubled Lara in punches thrown at 1047 to 530; however, the accuracy between the two was almost a larger gap. Lara landed at a 42 percent rate compared to Williams' 19 percent.
The New Jersey State Athletic Board would suspend the three judges after they conducted a review of the fight. The then New Jersey State Athletic Commissioner, Aaron M. Davis, expressed that the appointed judges didn't perform at the level needed for the fight.
"Any contestant who enters a ring or cage in our state deserves the best officiating that we can provide," Davis said to ESPN in 2011. "While we do not mean to diminish Mr. Williams' competitive spirit and exciting style, we feel that we did not provide our best officiating on July 9."