In the last few years, boxing has had its fair share of horrible scorecards, quick stoppages, and fights that were allowed to go longer than they should have. Recently, referee Tony Weeks was in the spotlight for stopping the Rolando Romero vs. Ismael Barroso extremely early and openly admitted to veteran writer Michael Woods that, in hindsight, it was a bad call. This past Saturday, Teofimo Lopez clearly beat Josh Taylor, and two of the judges’ scorecards had him barely winning the fight. On Sunday, although an exhibition, referee Kenny Bayless stopped the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. John Gotti III fight for no reason whatsoever. It’s why Teddy Atlas has been screaming corruption for years and that we should have a commission overseeing it all.
Although that sounds good, we all know that won’t ever happen as too many hands are in the cookie jar. The State Athletic commissions and the Sanctioning Bodies all create their own narrative while collecting off of the fighters. While some of the younger fans get into an uproar about these actions from judges and referees without any type of disciplinary action, this has been going on for years and years. An example of it recently came to light by Boxing Hall of Famer Mike Tyson as he was a guest on a YouTube show called HUMANS hosted by former hip-hop artist turned podcaster Joe Budden.
In the episode that runs right at 54 minutes long, Tyson speaks of a relationship he had with a referee who, according to what he described, would be Luis Rivera. Tyson didn’t name him in the interview, but Rivera was listed as the referee when looking up the referenced first fight.
Mike Tyson was recently a guest on the Joe Budden hosted show HUMANS
“That’s the referee (pointing to a picture with Tyson standing beside the referee in a social setting). “He was my referee for a bunch of my fights.” Budden then says, “Which one?” Tyson points at the referee, and Budden says, “That looks illegal going out with the referee.” Tyson then replied, “It was. If I was having a tough fight and I rocked the guy, he would stop it real quick.” Budden replied, “Really?” Tyson then said, “It’s in the business. It’s what we do. Listen, he saw me on my first fight. Now he is refereeing my fights. He favors me over the other kid. He seen me as a kid come up.” Budden asked, “Do the refs travel up the ranks along with the fighters?” Tyson replied, “Yea, they get the opportunity to work bigger fights.”
Tyson touches on several topics, and some of his answers would surprise you. Budden did a great job pacing his questions and delivering them in a way that didn’t sound too imposing. The environment seemed to allow Tyson to open up about some of the things that casual fans of the sport would want to know.