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There Has to Be A
Better Way

By Bernie McCoy
August 12, 2003
A very smart guy told me once, "The quickest way to get a million dollars is to start with two million and become a promoter". Certainly, I have no way of knowing how well Raging Promotions' first two fight programs have done, from a financial standpoint, but I hope the new company has a long future ahead of it. It has made a commitment to the sport of Women's boxing and it is headed up by a person who should know that sport from all angles, Isra Girgrah.

Girgrah is currently a lightweight champion, with a gaudy 26-2-3 record and has promoted two shows in Atlantic City and Washington, D.C. in the past six weeks and both programs have featured a bout with skilled female boxers. That, however, is both the good news and the bad news.

Good news because the bouts showcased Girgrah, one of the top boxers in the sport, along with Trish "TNT" Hill in Atlantic City in July and Melissa "Honey Girl" Del Valle in Washington, last Saturday and both fights were very close decisions. Bad news because Girgrah was also the promoter of each bout and both fights were very close decisions.

Trish Hill has had considerable success as a kickboxer, not as much in the boxing ring. However, in the Atlantic City bout, she knocked Girgrah down in the second round and while reports indicated that Girgrah controlled the eight round fight from the third round on, the unanimous decision was razor thin, 77-75, 76-75, 76-75.

In Del Valle, Girgrah was facing a much more experienced boxer, who only lost her first fight in early July to Kelsey Jeffries and sported a 27-1-1 going into the Washington bout. According to reports, and not surprisingly, given the skills of the two fighters, the bout went back and forth for the eight rounds. The unanimous decision for Girgrah, 78-74, 77-75, 77-75, was greeted with derision by a large part of the crowd.

Since neither fight benefited from TV coverage, I did not see either bout and Girgrah may have, indeed, deserved both decisions. However, its fairly clear, from the scoring, that neither bout was an easy win and any time the term "controversial" appears in news reports, as it did frequently in stories about the Del Valle bout, there is bound to be lingering doubt about the decision.

Not that doubt about a decision is anything new when it comes to boxing. The major difference here is that one of the fighters in this bout, this "controversial" bout, this bout where there is a distinct difference of opinion regarding the winner, was the promoter. And the promoter, despite what my friend said those years back about financial risk, is the person who hires and pays the referee and the judges. Thus in a fight where the decision is decided by four total points over eight rounds (and 454 total points) in the case of Trish Hill and by eight points (456 total) in the case of the Del Valle bout, a question of fairness has to be raised.

I am not, for a moment, suggesting that any one connected with Raging Promotions did or would do anything to influence the referee or the judges in a Isra Girgrah bout. What I am suggesting is that judges and referees are human and, therefore, prone to subconscious support for their employer. For that, in essence, is what we're looking at here, an employer/employee relationship. Not only that but we can assume that should this particular employer remain successful as a promoter, there will be future employment opportunities.

As I said I hope Raging Promotions has a long and successful future. I am, however, troubled by the current fighter/promoter arrangement. And I think, Isra Girgrah, who has exhibited as much business acumen and intelligence in putting this business together as she has exhibited skill in the ring, might be troubled too, if she rationally reviews the situation. There has to be a better way.

Bernie McCoy


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