Famed Referee Joe Cortez Speaks During FIght Week in Vegas; Confirms he is Advising Cruiserweight Boxer Yahu Blackwell

Referee Joe Cortez in Las Vegas (Photo: Hustle Boss)


By Chris Robinson

In many ways, Joe Cortez is an unassuming man.

The famed referee, who coined the term “Fair but firm” during his officiating days, is somewhat of an icon in the boxing world due to all the memorable championship fights he officiated over the years, including bouts with┬áthe likes of Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Lennox Lewis, Roberto Duran, and several others. Cortez is a low-key individual, however, and is never one to seek any extra attention when around the fight game.

Whenever he is asked to share a few thoughts on the sport, Cortez has also made time graciously.

Now also serving as an analyst for ESPN Deportes, Cortez was spotted inside of the MGM Grand’s media room in Las Vegas on Friday afternoon following the weigh-in for tonight’s Carl Frampton vs. Leo Santa Cruz rematch, set for to air on SHOWTIME.

“Going to be a good fight here Saturday night in Las Vegas,” Cortez stated when asked about the matchup. “They both went into the ring undefeated last year. Leo Santa Cruz got his first defeat and he knows what it’s like losing that belt and he wants to get it back again.”

Whether ringside or not calling the fights, Cortez still finds himself heavily involved in the sport. It had been reported that Cortez is now advising upcoming Hebrew boxer Yahu “Rock” Blackwell and he confirmed the news to Hustle Boss.

“Yahu is a cruiserweight fighter; a great fighter coming up,” Cortez explained of Blackwell, who compiled a 156-28 record as an amateur.

“He’s a gentleman, very determined to his sport,” Cortez added. “[He] has a good record, so I think he has the potential. I’m advising him for now and hopefully he can become a contender.”


Cortez knows all too well what it takes to make it at the highest levels of the sport, from overseeing 200 championship fights as a world-class referee, to his experience in the ring himself, where he won six Golden Gloves tournaments while compiling a pro record of 18-1.

“I bring a lot of knowledge and wisdom into the sport of boxing,” Cortez noted.

As far as what it will take to ascend to the highest of ranks in the professional game, Cortez was candid with his response.

“To fight at the top level, they have to be hungry,” said Cortez. “Most of these guys coming up are hungry, they know it’s an opportunity for them to get into the limelight and hopefully one day become world champion. As well as the money that comes with it.”

Cortez sees the promise in Blackwell and is envisioning a productive 2017.

“He’s very devoted to the sport,” said Cortez of Blackwell. “He’s always in the gym and he listens to my advice. He wants to learn and be a great fighter and we got the potential to go all the way.”

Stay tuned for more updates on Blackwell’s training regimen as well as updates on his next ring assignment. Follow him on Instagram to keep up with his training.

Check below for more updates on Blackwell, including our interview with Cortez in Las Vegas.

Joe Cortez speaks on advising cruiserwieght fighter Yahu Blackwell amidst Frampton-Santa Cruz II

Joe Cortez says Yahu “Rock” Blackwell will become a World Champion

Yahu “Rock” Blackwell boxes 8 rounds w/south paw pro from Detroit’s “Kronk Gym”

Yahu “Rock” Blackwell Interview On SNN M&J In The Morning Radio Show

NBC SPORTS: One-on-One with Yahu “Rock” Blackwell

Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com

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