By Jackie Kallen
Fight fans need to get their priorities straight. When a fight is stopped by the referee, the crowd often acts personally offended. It’s as though they are being robbed of more carnage and bloodshed. They are not satisfied until the man is on the canvas, flat on his back, being counted out.
These are usually the same fans who scream bloody murder when a referee allows a fighter to continue too long and he gets hurt–or killed–in the ring. You can hear them screaming “Stop it! Stop it!” as the referee leans in to get a look at the battered fighter’s eyes.
In most cases, the referee has conferred with the ringside physcian and the boxer’s corner. He has a pretty good idea how hurt the fighter might be. He also gets a read on whether the trainer wants the fight stopped.
The criticism of Tony Weeks has been nonstop since Saturday night when he stopped Angulo in the 10th round against Alvarez. The pro-Angulo fans, especially those who bet on the fight, were irate. They felt that their man could have rebounded in the last two rounds to turn things around. The key word is “could.” It was possible, I guess. But not likely.
Stopping a fight is not a matter of accessing the last punch thrown and saying, “Enough.” It is an overview of the entire fight up until that point. If it’s a close fight and one man seems to be on the brink of getting knocked out cold, a referee may elect to stop the fight. After too many unanswered punches, it is the right thing to do.
In the case of Angulo, it was not that final uppercut from Canelo that convinced Weeks to stop the fight. He explained afterwards that it was after watching an entire 10 rounds of one-sided abuse that prompted his decision. He had warned Angulo’s trainer Virgil Hunter early in the fight that his man had better start fighting better. Hunter explained that Angulo is a “late starter.”
Weeks conferred with the ringside doctor during the fight, who agreed that too much punishment was unwise and unsafe. Both the doctor and Weeks kept their eyes carefully focused on Angulo. On most observers scorecards, Angulo did not win a round emphatically. It was totally Canelo’s night and Angulo seemed “off” from the very beginning.
Boxing fans always believe that any given man is just one punch away from possible victory. In many cases, that is true. We have all seen crazy upsets and unbelievable last-minute turn-arounds. But given the way the Angulo/Alvarez fight was going, Weeks made the decision he felt was best.
By Jackie Kallen
After the 9th round, both Weeks and the doctor explained to Hunter that they were going to stop it if there was another hard, unanswered barrage. Hunter knew, Angulo knew, and the fans must have sensed that Angulo was on thin ice.
Once Weeks stopped the fight, though, the fans went ballistic. They booed, threw things into the ring, and acting like they had just witnessed an armed robbery. The fact that Angulo was losing badly did not register. The crowd was infuriated. Little did they know that Angulo would not even attend the post-fight press conference because he was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
I do not condone Tony Weeks for his decision. The odds of Angulo getting seriously hurt were much higher than the odds of him scoring a last-minute win. That is why we have a referee in the ring. The third man has the wisdom and insight to see what the fighters may not see.
Love him or not–Angulo just didn’t have it on Saturday night. He was out-classed, out-pointed, and out-punched. He is probably grateful to Weeks for saving his health and his brain. If not–he should be.