As delighted as Rodney Berman was by Johnny Muller’s shock defeat of world number five Mateusz Masternak, his sense of fair play was outraged by the manner of Muller’s win.
The South African was a split decision winner despite twice tasting the canvas and eating a succession of right hands throughout the 10-rounder at Emperors Palace on Saturday. Like the Loch Ness Monster and UFO’s, the decision by two judges to award Muller the result will remain one of the great mysteries of our time.
“Johnny put up an outstanding fight,” said Berman on Sunday. “But he never won and to say he did is beyond imagination. I was embarrassed when I heard the verdict.”
As were thousands more in attendance and watching live on SuperSport.
Continued Berman: “I don’t want SA boxing to get a stigma where you can’t get a decision, like in the Eastern Cape. All I want is fair play.”
Berman intends petitioning Boxing South Africa to urgently review the decision. What’s more, he has pledged to contact the world boxing bodies which rank Masternak and request they do not prejudice him in the rankings on the basis of this clear injustice.
“I’m sure this will lead to bigger and better fights for Johnny, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves – Masternak was poorly served by the judges. These guys are fighting for their families and their livelihoods . . . to shatter their dreams is unforgivable.”
If Muller won the crowd over with his never-say-die attitude, it was very much the opposite with stablemate Tommy Oosthuizen who dawdled his way to a points win against ordinary Robert Berridge.
His prospects now hang by a thread given than Golden Gloves has evidently run out of patience with the bad boy of SA boxing.
Said Berman: “He was a pale shadow of what he could have been. It’s very sad how a potentially great career has fizzled out to nothing.”
However, Berman was delighted with the form of welterweight Roman Zhailauov, who arrived with a great reputation and continued to prove it with a commanding first round KO win against Luyanda Jako.
He also had high praise for fellow promoter Jeff Ellis: “I have to laud him. He worked his magic yet again, ensuring a packed house and a great atmosphere on a night when boxing was up against a mixed martial arts event down the road and the Champions League final on TV. After years in the business, he continues to deliver the goods.”