Sean McComb decision the worst I’ve ever been involved in... Peter Taylor says New York judges should be banned from boxing

New York ‘robbery’ for Belfast fighter and WBO must order a rematch says Taylor

Sean McComb dropped Sam Maxwell three times over 10 impressive rounds
Sean McComb controversially lost on split decision in New York

SEAN McComb’s coach Peter Taylor says the West Belfast fighter was the victim of the worst decision he’s ever been involved in in last Saturday’s night’s world title eliminator.

Experienced coach Taylor – father of undisputed world champion and Irish Olympic legend Katie – described McComb’s split-decision loss to Arnold Barboza jnr in New York as “robbery” and called on the WBO to order a rematch.

McComb went into the WBO Inter-Continental title showdown as underdog but produced arguably the performance of his career against home favourite Barboza.

By the halfway point, the rangy southpaw from Turf Lodge was in total control with his underfire opponent unable to come to terms with his reach, movement or skill.

After the 10 rounds it seemed the decision would be a formality, especially when it was announced that Benoit Roussel had scored the fight 98-92 in McComb’s favour. But – with boos ringing out at the Barclays Center - Tom Schreck (94-96) and Don Trella (93-97) went for the heavily-bruised Barboza, their fellow American.

“Professionally it’s the worst decision I’ve ever been involved in,” said Taylor.

“It was a shocking decision – disgraceful.

“I thought we won eight rounds to two. I thought we won eight rounds clearly and even the two rounds I gave Barboza, I only gave him them because I thought they were subjective rounds (which could have went either way) and he was the home fighter.

“You can see from the outcry from Teddy Atlas (who described the decision as “corrupt”) and these other people talking about it – it’s an absolute disgrace and it puts people off boxing.

“The WBO should do something and force a rematch.”

Does Taylor expect them to do that? Unfortunately not.

“When have they ever done that?” he asked.

“Next week there’ll be another robbery. That’s what happens – we move onto the next robbery next week. There’s a lot of fuss over this because it was on a high profile card but it’s going on all the time.”

Katie Taylor fights Chantelle Cameron at the 3Arena on May 20 - but dad Pete will have left the building by the time his daughter climbs between the ropes. Picture by PA
Peter Taylor with daughter Katie who is preparing for a rematch against Amanda Serrano in July

Taylor has called for incompetent judges to be banned from boxing after McComb was denied what would have been a life-changing victory on Saturday night.

McComb fought brilliantly over 10 rounds against the Californian, landing at will off front and back foot as his opponent laboured to get into the fight. Vastly-experienced Taylor pulled no punches when asked for his opinion on the judges’ performance.

“They (the judges) don’t want to fall out with the promoter,” he said.

“They want to be there (at ringside) the next weekend. They know the blue corner is the away corner and the red one is the home corner and they don’t want to go against the red corner because they want to be employed next week.

“That’s what it’s down to. It’s disgraceful. You go to America and fight an American and you have three American judges… It’s bullshit.

“People will start tuning out of boxing. That’s why people get involved with the MMA now and things like that. It’s not because of the boxers, it’s because of the judging.

McComb has rebounded from disappointment before. After his only previous defeat, he regrouped and hammered out seven wins in-a-row – each one more impressive than the last – to force his way into world title contention.

Having done all the hard work to get there and performed so well the rug has been pulled from under his feet by the officials and Taylor fears the ‘Public Nuisance’ will now be a man other super-lightweights will try and avoid.

“It leaves a sickening feeling in your stomach because Sean can’t push on,” he said.

“He didn’t get the win but everyone knows he won the fight and now people will see him as somebody who’s too risky to take any chances with.

“Nobody is going to have an easy fight against Sean and he’s 18-2 now so why would anybody take a risk against him? He’s been pushed into the ‘I-don’t-want-to-fight-him club’ really. He’s too risky.

And there are many other factors. McComb has a young family and victory on Saturday night would have propelled him on to a world title shot and the financial rewards that come with fighting at the elite level.

“The killer for me is that this wasn’t even career-changing for Sean, it was life-changing,” said Taylor.

“He got the opportunity and he took it with both hands – he trained really hard and deserved the win but he got robbed.

Sean McComb’s next opponent will be experienced Argentine Mauro Maximiliano Godoy (32-5-1) at the Ulster Hall on February 1
Sean McComb will hope to get a rematch after being denied victory against Arnold Barboza jnr in New York

“If he’d won he’d have got a world title shot and then he’s on to major money – it would have been life-changing for him. It’s not just about the sport, this is his job, this is his business now and these people have come in and robbed him. That’s the sad part.

“You get these judges, they get a tap on the hand – not even the wrist – and they just go on to the next one and nothing is said to them. And then you’ve got Sean – the sacrifices he makes. He drives down to Dublin every day to train – it’s huge commitment from these lads. It’s heartbreaking and it makes you sit down and think: ‘What am I doing this for?’ As a coach, why am I doing this?’

“We put so much time into it. We had a great gameplan, we followed the gameplan and we did everything we could do and won the fight clearly. The word ‘robbery’ is said too many times in boxing – if it’s a close fight it’s not robbery it can go either way – but this was robbery, it wasn’t close.

“It was so one-sided and all you had to do was look at the faces of the two people – Sean got a headbutt in the last round but apart from that there wasn’t a mark on him and the other lad was in bits.”

Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn said afterwards he thought McComb had won the fight but Taylor is concerned that McComb will now be seen as someone to avoid in his division.

“Eddie came over to us and said it was a terrible decision but he doesn’t promote Barboza and is he going to put any of his lads in with Sean? Will he put Dalton Smith in with him? I doubt it. He’s not going to risk one of his lads with Sean.

“Where do we go next? Lee Eaton (McComb’s manager) is great and he’s put in a protest already and maybe, with all the publicity around it, it might force them into something but next week there’s going to be another robbery.”

Tiernan Bradley and Conor McGregor spar in training for McGregor-Mayweather
Tiernan Bradley won in Rotherham on Saturday night

TIERNAN Bradley moved to 9-0 with a points win over Miguel Cesario Antin (20-14-1) in Rotherham last Saturday night.

Omagh native Bradley won every round against his 30-year-old opponent but the other Irish welterweight on the Magna Centre fight card had to work much harder for his win.

Galway’s Kieran Molloy had to climb off the canvas against Mexican Sergio Garcia Herrera who took all the former Oughterard ABC star could throw at him and came close to forcing an upset.

Molloy was under pressure from the start and, after he was dropped in the sixth, was in serious trouble for the first time in his career. However, showing impressive spirt and character, he regained his poise and won a narrow decision 76-75.