People in Boxing

Duane Ford - A boxing Legend

BY - Richard E. Baker

Since the retirement of Larry Merchant, no one knows more about boxing than Duane Ford. Ford, a quiet and dignified man, is a name familiar with hard-core boxing fans. He has been a judge since the 70’s and has judged over 150 championship bouts. He takes pride in the fact that he has always judged honestly and has never been swayed by managers, promoters, television, or anyone else in boxing. That is not to say he has been without contravisty, like when he gave the first Pacquiao/Bradly fight to Bradly. He is a short, soft-spoken man with a lovely wife.

He sits in the lobby of the Legends Casino in Toppinesh, Washington nursing a cup of coffee. He is president of the NABF and is at the casino to sanction the fight between Jade Bornea and Ernesto Delgadillo. He has also ben chairman of the Nevada State Boxing Commission. He much enjoys his work with the NABF, a chance to help rising boxers gain recognition.

His white hair is neatly groomed and he runs a finger across the screen of his cell phone in an attempt to remember the man who ruined boxing in Oregon and he talks of the time when boxing brought in sold out crowds in Oregon’s Rose Garden and how some people are dedicated to destroying boxing.

The casino is comfortable and first-class in every way, large windows letting in copious amounts of light and facing Mt. Rainier and the desert land than flows off its eastern side, up and beyond the parking lot.

He has much to say about boxing, both good and bad. Referee Joel Scoby and I listen intently. Joel was trained in boxing scoring by Ford and they have been friends since then.

People still ask him about his decision for Bradly in their first fight. “I score them as I see them and I am not swayed by anyone. Bradly was faster and controlled the ring.” He saw many of Pacquiao’s punches as close misses. “Bradly simply out-boxed him. There was a lot of subtle pressure on the fight. “Pacquiao was supposed to win. He was under contract to HBO, a very powerful organization. The fight was close and could have gone either way by a single point. I do not give in to pressure and I gave the point to Bradly because that’s the way I saw it.”

The boxing chairman said he was content with the decision. All three judges are professionals “and I am not going to second-guess them.”

This was not the only time Ford went against other judges. He was the only judge to chose Molina in Montel VS Molina; Figueroa in Proctor VS Figueroa; Aoh in Larios VS Aoh; Juarez in Barrera VS Juarez; Corley in Judah VS Corley; Griffin in Toney VS Griffin; and Hglar in Antuofermo VS Haglar.  None of this affected is status as a fine and knowlegerable judge.

He especially enjoys being president of the NABF. “Our job is to seek out the best prospects of the day and to help being them to the next level and get them noticed by the larger sanctioning bodies.”

Ford is a link to history and a valuable to boxing. He is one of the most respected in boxing and goes about his work in a quiet, respectful way.

The NABF continues to do a decent job and is a credit to boxing. Many past and future champions owe them a debt of thanks. Boxing owes the same to Ford.

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