NEW YORK (Reuters) - Paul Williams and Erislandy Lara could return to the ring for a rematch after all three judges of their controversial fight last week in Atlantic City, New Jersey, were suspended.
American former world champion Williams won the bout on a majority decision, although most media members and fans watching the 12-round contest felt former Cuban amateur Lara had held the upper hand.
While the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) found no evidence of "bias, fraud, corruption or incapacity" after conducting a review of the scoring this week, it placed all three judges on an indefinite suspension.
"The NJSACB does not have the legal authority, under these circumstances, to invalidate the official result," NJSACB commissioner Aaron Davis wrote in a letter sent to the fighters' promoters.
"This is due to the fact that all scoring is a matter of subjective judgment. In a similar fashion, we cannot mandate a rematch. However, our opinion is that a rematch may be warranted.
"This agency has placed all three judges on indefinite suspension. Further, all three judges will be required to undergo additional training prior to their return to professional boxing judging."
Two judges scored the July 9 fight in favor of Williams, by 115-114 and 116-114, while the third scored the fight as a draw (114-114).
"I don't know what the judges saw," Lara, 28, told reporters through an interpreter after repeatedly punishing Williams with his left jab. "I thought I won the fight."
Lara, the amateur world champion at welterweight in 2005, defected to the United States in 2008 and has since compiled a professional record of 15-1-1 with 10 knockouts.
(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)