Boxing wouldn’t be the sport it is without controversy. Most onlookers felt that British bantamweight champion Kash Farooq deserved the nod after a superb and close fight with commonwealth champion Lee McGregor at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, but the judges found it difficult to find a clear winner with two scoring the bout 114-113, one for Farooq, the other for McGregor, while the third judge scored 115-112 for McGregor. It is the third scorecard that will come under the most scrutiny after McGregor had a point deducted in the 10th round for holding, and Farooq appeared to have done enough to be ahead before the infringement.
In McGregor’s defence, he knew he needed something big in the last two rounds and came out to give it his all, but Farooq is not one to back down from a fight and met his fellow countryman with stiff resistance.
The ebbs and flows of the fight elevated it to that level that only bouts fought with fierce pride and with bragging rights at stake can produce. I had Farooq a narrow winner but the skills and commitment on show from both men made it compelling to watch and close enough to make an argument for both sides.
Both boxers came out of the bout with their reputations enhanced, having produced an engrossing fight that can sit proudly alongside the other all Scottish classic’s served up in the past, such as Alex Arthur vs Ricky Burns in 2006 and Ken Buchanan vs Jim Watt back in 1973.
The obvious solution to any controversial decision is a rematch, but if you were a part of Lee McGregor’s management team you would now be looking at the European title currently held by Frenchman Georges Ory (11-2-1, 1 Ko), a very winnable fight for the Edinburgh man. Bring that fight to Scotland and victory would put McGregor on the cusp of a world title challenge.
I remember talking to former undisputed middleweight champion Alan Minter about the big fights in his career and he said that the trilogy he contested with Oxfordshire middleweight Kevin Finnegan with the British title at stake each time were what helped him make the step up to genuine world-class. These domestic title fights can take a boxer to that higher level of performance and I for one wouldn’t mind seeing McGregor vs Farooq a few more times.