This past Saturday, New England fan-favorite Danny O'Connor traveled to Pennsylvania to take on former world champion Vivian Harris in their 10-round main event bout at the sold-out Electric Factory in downtown Philadelphia.
O'Connor pressed the action throughout the entire 10-round contest, continuously walking down the taller Harris round after round. O'Connor was the much busier fighter, landing good combinations to both the body and head as well as displaying beautiful defense skills, slipping and rolling off most of Harris' shots. After the 10th and final round, it appeared to everyone in attendance, including the sold out audience and the media, as well as the commentators that evening which featured former world champion Steve Cunningham, that O'Connor had done more than enough to pull out the decision. One judge scored the bout a complete shutout for O'Connor, 100-90. However, the other two judges scored the bout in Harris' favor, turning in scores of 96-94 and a mind-boggling 99-91.
After having a couple of days to think about the fight and watching video footage of it, O'Connor is even more confused with the outcome than immediately after the bout.
"I was impressed with the Philadelphia boxing commission's organization, so for them to allow judges like that to decide fights is stunning. It's up to us as fighters and fans to speak up to try to preserve the integrity of the sport because decisions like these are ruining it. With all that being said, Philadelphia is a great city and I was honored to box there. I want to thank everyone who came together to make the Claddagh Fund night at the fights a success. I can only worry about the things that I can control. I will stay focused and stay positive and continue to work hard to achieve the goals that I have in this sport."
Manager Ken Casey, of the Dropkick Murphys, who also performed at the event Saturday, was equally as disappointed in the outcome as O'Connor. Casey added, "Once again the sport of boxing suffered a black eye by poor judging. Danny O'Connor was outright robbed."
"Anyone who watched the fight could clearly see that Danny won," said DiBella Entertainment's matchmaker Joe Quiambao. "There are fights that are hard to score but this wasn't one of them. Danny controlled the action, threw more punches, landed more punches, and just flat out beat the guy."
"Danny won the fight. Hands down, no questions asked," said Massachusetts's great Micky Ward, who was also in attendance. "He pressed and controlled the action in every single round, how two of the judges didn't see that, is beyond me."