Duane Ford—a Lifetime in Boxing
By Richard E. Baker on January 31, 2020
Ford spoke about how some people are dedicated to destroying boxing. (Richard E. Baker)
Duane Ford 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 controversy, like when he gave the first Pacquiao/Bradley fight to Bradley.
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 been chairman of the Nevada State Boxing Commission. He much enjoys his work with the NABF.
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 the 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 Bradley in their first fight. “I score them as I see them and I am not swayed by anyone. Bradley was faster and controlled the ring.” He saw many of Pacquiao’s punches as close misses. “Bradley simply outboxed him. 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 Bradley 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 choose Molina in Montreal vs. Montiel; 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 Hagler in Antuofermo vs. Hagler. None of this affected is status as a fine and knowledgeable 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.”
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.