I HAD a late night Saturday so I thought I would watch the boxing from the Bell Centre in Montréal.
I wanted to see Steve Cunningham – who I officiated a couple of times when he was at cruiserweight – versus Vyacheslav Glazkov. Some of the rounds were not easy to score and I was watching it on TV but I do think Steve was hard done by. I gave him the first four rounds, the sixth, the eighth, and the last one, and then I watched it again. It wasn’t the best of fights to watch but I didn’t think it was a fight where I would have been four or five rounds off what the judges saw.
But Jean Pascal versus Sergey Kovalev was the one I wanted to see. Pascal had a good first two rounds then took a lot of punishment in the third round and had to take a count near to the end of it after being punched through the ropes. The fourth round was close to being a 10-8 round but all credit to Pascal for surviving, because then he had a good fifth which he won for me, although he scored well he couldn’t put a dent in Kovalev’s armour.
Pascal was shaken at the end of the seventh and Kovalev was now well warmed up and in the eighth round he went to town. If referee Luis Pabon had kept an eye on him whilst cleaning Kovalevs gloves he would, I hope, have stopped it there and then – I know I would have done. Instead he kept in close, probably realising that Pascal was hurt, and when told to box, Pascal took two thumping right hands and the referee jumped in to stop it. Those two right hand blockbusters were unnecessary.
We are party to a very dangerous sport that can make widows of your loved ones in a split second and the referee needs to find that happy and safe medium. Happy by allowing the fight to flow and giving the fighters every opportunity to defend themselves, and safe by not allowing a fighter who is not in full use of his senses or his limbs to take any more punishment.
As I have said previously our sport is brutal and this is once again highlighted by the sad death of the 23-year-old Australian fighter Braydon Smith who died last week after collapsing an hour after losing on points in his WBC Asian featherweight title 10-rounder in Toowoomba, Australia. He was immediately taken to the hospital where he was placed on a life support machine but two days later the machine was turned off and his mother will have a stark reminder every year on Mother’s Day. I mention this also as a warning to the men and women that want to partake in our sport, especially the white collar fighters, this is not something that you do for a laugh, it’s a serious sport that can have serious consequences that affect not just the fighters but everyone else, around them, just ask one of the latest casualties, Mrs Braydon Smith.