Frank Warren Slams ‘Dreadful’ Judge After Nick Ball’s Controversial Draw With Rey Vargas

March 11, 2024
3 months
Nick Ball

Promoter Frank Warren is still furious at ringside judge Massimo Barrovecchio after his scoring in Nick Ball’s controversial draw with Rey Vargas on Friday night in Saudi Arabia.

Contesting his first world title bout, England’s Ball had to settle for a split-decision draw against the WBC featherweight champion. Judge Jun Bae Lim scored the bout 116-110 to Ball, the second judge Rey Danseco scored it a draw 113-113, but Barrovecchio gave the fight to Vargas 114-112.

With the result ending in a tie, Vargas retained his title although most people who watched the fight in the Kingdom Arena and on TV around the world thought Ball had done enough to win.

Ball, who was the much smaller man and gave away nearly six inches in height to Vargas, did start the fight slowly but he came on in the later rounds and knocked the Mexican down in the eighth and 11th rounds.

Warren Criticizes ‘Dreadful’ Judge

Queensbury Promotions chief Warren, Ball’s promoter, was outraged at the decision on the night, and days later he is clearly still not happy.

Speaking to iFL TV to offer his assessment of the fight, Warren said: “I thought Nick lost the first four rounds but he was trying to get some momentum. First of all, let’s look at the height difference – there’s a huge disparity in height there – and he was throwing his jab and trying to push the fella back; he was the aggressor in the fight.

“Let’s get it right: Vargas is considered the best featherweight in the world and he took the fight to him and kept him on the backfoot throughout. Nick got countered a few times but when he started getting his range and his distance, he certainly hurt him a couple of times, and I felt in the second half of the fight he won most of the rounds. Plus he had the two knockdowns and they were 10-8 rounds.”

Warren then rounded on judge Barrovecchio and called on the Italian to be downgraded, adding: “It really annoys me when people – and [WBC chairman] Mauricio Sulaiman is one who talks about how we can improve scoring of fights, [including] having extra judges or having boxing’s equivalent of VAR; we don’t need that. We need competent officials and the guy [Barrovecchio] was incompetent.

Ball To Return In June

“The worst thing about it is, he’ll go on very quickly to be appointed to judge another world title fight, and he shouldn’t. He should be downgraded. Make him accountable for what they do to people’s lives. Nick Ball should be sitting here today with that belt around his waist. He won that fight. Everybody in the venue, I don’t think there was one person who thought [Vargas] won, except the Italian. Dreadful decision.”

Warren also revealed that he will contact WBC chief Sulaiman about the possibility of arranging a rematch, although that could be complicated by Brandon Figueroa, who won the WBC’s interim title against Mark Magsayo earlier this month, which installed him as the Vargas’s mandatory challenger.

“Every fighter that gets in the ring gives their all – Nick gives all of his all, he gives it everything he can. He fights his heart out and I thought it was really sad. It was always going to be a tough fight for him. We took a calculated risk; I thought he could beat him, otherwise I wouldn’t have made the fight. And he did beat him and got absolutely robbed.

“I’m going to speak to Mauricio today and see where we go,” Warren added. “But Nick’s with us and we will make sure and work hard to get him back in the ring in June.”