Interview with Alan M. Rubenstein: A Judge Who Judges!
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (May 9, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Alan M. Rubenstein
Some say you have to have boxed to be a referee or trainer. Does that mean you have had to be a judge in order to judge? If that be the case, then Alan M. Rubenstein, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, PA, qualified to become a boxing judge in October of 1996 to judge his first show.

Starting back in 1971 after attending Temple University and the University of Toledo College of Law, Rubenstein was an associate with Galfand, Bergerin Philadelphia. In 1973 he began a career with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and worked his way up the legal ladder to Assistant D.A., Deputy D.A., Chief Deputy D.A., Chief of Homicide, First Assistant D.A. and four terms as the elected District Attorney. He was elected Judge of the court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in 1999.

On the night of October 15, 1996, at Caesars Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, Rubenstein would judge former WBC heavyweight champion and future WBC/IBF champion Hasim Rahman in a 10 round bout in his first assignment as a boxing judge. The following month he would judge at the now legendary Blue Horizon in Philadelphia.

In 2000 Rubenstein would judge in a third state at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, CT. In July of 2005 at Dover Downs, in DE, he added his fourth state. In 2006 a fifth state was added at Manhattan Center Grand Ballroom, in NY, in March. In August of that year he would judge at the famous Madison Square Garden in NY.

In April of 2008 Rubenstein would serve as a judge in his first world title bout featuring Miguel Cotto, the WBA 147 champ stopping Alfonso Gomez. Later that year in September at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV, he judged the second Vernon Forrest and Sergio Mora WBC light middleweight title bout with Forrest winning the re-match. In December the WBO light welterweight title fight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City he judged the Kendall Holt and Demitrius Hopkins title bout.

In July of 2011 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Rubenstein judged the WBC featherweight title bout between Jhonny Gonzalez and Tomas Villa. There have been numerous non-title bouts as recently as April 28th of 2012 judging the Chazz Witherspoon and Seth Mitchell WBO NABO vacant title fight. USBA, PA state, WBC Baltic, WBO Inter- Continental, NABA, WBC Youth Intercontinental, WBF (Foundation US), and in October of 1998 at the Blue Horizon his first title fight which was for the NABF.

I always enjoy working with Alan and sharing stories with him about our families, sports and the law before the bouts,” said Steve Weisfeld.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Alan for many years. He’s a very personable guy and a very competent boxing judge. We would often share our mutual experiences in the Pennsylvania (Alan) and New Jersey (me) Judicial Systems,” said Steve “Double SS” Smoger.

Alan is a great judge, very focused and dedicated to the sport of boxing. I am honored to work with him,” said Julie Lederman.

The above comments are coming from three of the best and nicests officials in the business in Judges Weisfeld, Lederman and referee Smoger.

Rubenstein took the time away from a busy judicial schedule to answer some questions.

DHB: Alan how did you ever get interested in boxing?

Alan Rubenstein: I lived with my grandparents in Southwest Philadelphia and my grandfather watched the Calvacade of Sports and I would stay up to watch boxing with him. For some reason I remember the Carmen Basilio and Johnny Saxton fight. Basilio was pretty beaten up but came back to score a knockout (Sept. 1956 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year).

DHB: Who helped you get started as a boxing judge?

Alan Rubenstein: I was in center city Philadelphia arguing a case before the Supreme Court and I ran into a Philadelphia lawyer who said he was heading to the Blue Horizon to judge a fight. He suggested that I apply with the commission and that’s what I did in 1995.

DHB: How did you feel in your first show having to judge a former and future heavyweight champion in Berbick and Rahman?

Alan Rubenstein: I was both excited and elated!

DHB: I see you judged the re-match between Vernon Forrest and Sergio Mora. Wasn’t it a shame that Forrest was killed? He was a good boxer and a good man.

Alan Rubenstein: He was a good man. They wanted an out of state judge and I was chosen (Las Vegas, NV).

DHB: Last November you were one of the judges in one of the best fights of the year in Atlantic City between Chuckie Mussachio and Garrett Wilson. I had Mussachio ahead going into the 12th and last round when Wilson stopped him. Are you at liberty to say how you had it scored if you remember?

Alan Rubenstein: If I recall I had Mussachio slightly ahead. He boxed well until he was stopped in the last round.

DHB: In June of last year you, Steve Weisfeld and George Hill all scored a 57-57 in one of the preliminary bouts featuring Angel Cruz and Jose Rivera at the Philly Arena. Is that rare to have all three judges score the same even though it was only a 6 round bout?

Alan Rubenstein: No, but its positive when all 3 agree, especially since we are viewing a fight from 3 different positions.

DHB: Back in 2008 in Atlantic City you judged Kelly Pavlik in a non-title bout with Bernard Hopkins. He lost in a very lopsided fight. Did it surprise you as the fight went on?

Alan Rubenstein: I gave Hopkins every round (119-106). Hopkins went to prison and only never returned but redeemed himself.

DHB: I know you worked with the late Bobby Grasso. Was his death a surprise to you?

Alan Rubenstein: He was a wonderful man. His son, who is a lawyer in Philadelphia, informed me his father had been ill. It all seemed to happen so fast. He was an excellent judge.

DHB: There was a time in NJ and the UK that the referee was the only judge. Do you feel a referee has enough to do without being a judge?

Alan Rubenstein: I’m glad they changed that. A referee has enough to do in working the fight, although I have seen referees who were good judges.

DHB: You have worked the Philadelphia’s legendary Blue Horizon and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. How would you describe the differences as a judge?

Alan Rubenstein: No matter where the venue or size of the crowd, you have to focus upon the boxers. There have been bad fights in big venues and good fights in small venues.

DHB: Do you recall scoring many even rounds?

Alan Rubenstein: I think I scored one even round in the last seven years. It was recently at the National Guard Armory in the main event the first round (Angel Ocasio and Jason Sosa) scoring it 78-75 in an 8 round fight with the two other judges having it 76-76.

DHB: Do you ever watch a fight you judged later on tape?

Alan Rubenstein: It is a lot different being at ringside than being a fan in the audience. Making decisions is a great part of my life in law and boxing. It takes great courage for a fighter to get into the ring. They deserve the same respect from the judges. People seem to be more impressed when I tell them I am a boxing judge than a judicial one.

DHB: I want to thank you for taking the time away from your busy schedule to answer some questions. I look forward to seeing you possibly this Saturday at the fights in Newtown.

Alan Rubenstein: I will be working that show which is 5 minutes from where I work/live in Doylestown.

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