ARMENIA’s David Avanesyan, 29-4-1 (17), and his team have filed an official complaint with the Nebraska Athletic Commission (NAC) following his sixth-round KO defeat to Terence Crawford, 39-0 (30), for the WBO welterweight title due to claims that Crawford’s gloves were defective and that the referee, Sparkle Lee, did not apply the rules appropriately prior to his knockout loss.
Lee observed that both of Crawford’s Evertlast gloves were damaged at the start of the sixth, but the official and WBO supervisor, Russell Moral, plus the NAC, decided to allow the round to go ahead before switching to another approved set of gloves.
It became a moot point as that was the last round, but the Armenian has told Boxing News that although Crawford was a clear and fair winner, the gloves situation raised safety issues and should have been dealt with immediately as per their rules regarding Equipment.
Chapter 4, Rules 006.01 and 006.02 state that gloves should be provided by the promoter and must be in proper condition. It is made quite clear that any damage to gloves accrued in a fight should be inspected to ensure they are for fit for competition.
Chapter 006.04 states that: ‘The gloves cannot be twisted or manipulated in any way by the contestants or others. If a glove breaks or string becomes untied during the bout, the referee will instruct the timekeeper to take a time-out while the glove issue is being corrected. All gloves much be checked by a Commission official prior to the start of the bouts. Any snagged, torn, or unfit gloves will not be approved for competition.”
Antonio Tarver and other pundits noticed that the gloves were defective, and they made comments about it during the live broadcast before Crawford closed the show with a left uppercut and right hook. Leading to questions within the trade about whether the gloves had previously been used or were defective, a claim that Everlast strenuously denied.
‘During the development cycle of the custom fight gloves used in Crawford vs. Avanesyan a batch of defective leather was used in production resulting in a malfunction during the competition,’ they said in their statement, without giving any details about what ‘defective leather’ entails or it if will be an issue down the line.
‘In such cases, Everlast follows proper protocol by providing back up competition pairs to be replaced pending a decision by the sanctioning body overseeing the fight. A stoppage was called to review the equipment malfunction and the commission deemed the equipment was still suitable for competition. No foul play was at hand, nor was there any tampering of the product on behalf of Terence Crawford and his camp.’
It raises the question of if the gloves that passed inspection in the rules meeting pre-fight were the ones used on the night, if they were unworn and who added the ‘TC’ logos to both of them? However, the two major questions at play are: Why wasn’t the round stopped to change gloves as per the rules mentioned above, did the Commission investigate the gloves after the end of the fight and then pass them on to an independent party for corroboration?
There are a lot of questions to be asked, and a case for the result to overturned to a No Decision depending on how things work out, but Avanesyan spoke exclusively to BN and told us that he acknowledges that Crawford is a great fighter, he just wants a few answers to his questions from the NAC.
“In my long career as a professional boxing, I’d never imagine that a governing body would neglect basic safety measures and put a fighter at risk of serious injury,” he said. “Like using defecting equipment, such as gloves, resulting in death threatening conditions.
“It was visible in round two that both gloves were collapsing. They were clearly defective. How can this happen in the twenty-first century and at the world level? I have full respect for Crawford, but it is extremely disappointing. We have a right to ask these questions.”
“As a manger, I have an obligation to look after my fighter,” added Neil Marsh. “I will do that at all costs. I’m far from happy with these events and feel I need to stand up for David. We deserve and need to ask these questions so that’s why we are taking this stance. We are not sore losers, Terence is an outstanding fighter, but we have some questions, and we believe we should be asking them to the Commission.
“Both the referee and Commission acknowledged that Crawford was wearing split gloves, which is why they called a time-out. Allowing the fight to continue was, in my opinion, irresponsible and neglectful, and put David in danger. We want some answers and have a right to ask these questions.”