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Becoming a boxing judge is a long, thankless path

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Boxing fans took to social media to say they could do a better job than judge C.J. Ross (pictured between the boxers in the background) during the recent Mayweather/Canelo fight.
Isaac Brekken, AP Photo

So you wanna be a boxing judge? After all, scores of boxing fans have taken to social media to say they could do a better job than embattled judge C.J. Ross, who has temporarily stepped away from her job after scoring the lopsided Floyd Mayweather Jr./Canelo Alvarez fight a tie.

You want to take her place? No problem—just be prepared for years of hard work and a max annual paycheck of $25,000—assuming you even get from the amateurs (who make nothing) to the pros. Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, says anyone can apply at the Nevada chapter of USA Boxing, a subset of the United States Olympic Committee. Chapter president Dawn Barry’s facility trains in all aspects of the fight game—timekeeping, judging, refereeing, inspecting—and everyone starts at the bottom.

“I have so many people calling me saying they could be judges,” Barry says, adding the majority of those who apply—seven out of 10—quit within the first two months. She works with an average of 225 amateurs a year—and of those, Barry says only six are qualified to go pro.

Being called up to the pros is not a given either, Kizer says. The number of judges on the Athletic Commission’s rolls varies from 15 to 20, depending on the economy and how many fights are scheduled for the year. Kizer says some trainees have been waiting 10 years for a call-up, and even then, it’s in no way a full-time job. “You work maybe 20 to 30 nights a year,” Kizer says. “This has nothing to do with making a living. People do it because they love it and have a knack for it.”

So how about it, Twitterers ... still want the job?

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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