By Sean Crose
Last Thursday night, rising heavyweight Gerald Washington knocked out rising heavyweight Skipp Scott in a fight televised live on Fox Sports 1. It would have been an impressive win for an impressive fighter – if Washington hadn’t hit Scott after Scott was clearly down. Now members of Scott’s camp have filed a protest with the California Boxing Commission.
“Definitely, I think the appeal has a lot of merit to it,” Scott’s promoter, Kerry Daigle, told me. Daigle didn’t have harsh words for ref Lou Moret, who stopped the fight, but he made it clear he believed Moret had made a serious mistake on Thursday. “He’s a good referee,” Daigle claimed. “He’s been around a long time, but he missed that one real bad.”
Indeed, it was painfully clear to all watching the fight that Washington had, in the heat of the moment, clearly broken the rules. “It was very flagrant,” Daigle said. It was also most certainly controversial. And that controversy doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
“I don’t think it was intentional,” Scott’s trainer, Jessee Reid told me, referring to Washington’s action that night, “but I do think the young man threw a punch while he was on the ground and really did some damage.” According to Daigle, Washington himself admitted he was at fault some time after the bout. “Gerald Washington walked up to Skipp Scott and apologized to him for hitting him while he was down,” Daigle said.
That’s in keeping with Washington’s character, but Washington hasn’t been quick to declare that the victory should go to Scott, either. In fact, Reid himself told me that Washington approached him some days ago and asked him: “Why are you going against me?”
It’s worth noting that Washington has the support of Al Haymon, boxing’s superadvisor. Could Haymon’s name alone, I asked Reid, somehow influence the California Boxing Commission? “I’m sure it will have some influence,” Reid responded. Still, the trainer seemed to think the Commission would rise above that influence and rule fairly. Daigle, when asked about Haymon’s potential influence, took the opportunity to turn the tables, claiming journalists themselves should be bold enough to ask that question.
Fair enough: Could Haymon, through no illegal or even intentional method, unfairly influence the California Boxing Commission?
The answer is: of course he could. The more important question, however, is will he? And the truth is, no one has an answer for that. It’s ultimately a matter of character and self awareness. Without knowing any of the members of the California Boxing Commission, or being personally familiar with the Commission, it’s simply impossible to make that kind prediction.
Whatever the reason may be, however, this will all come down to whether or not the Commission feels motivated to act on the result of the Washington-Scott bout. That being said, a rematch is arguably in order either way. Both of these men are good fighters with good records. It would be nice to see each one have the chance to win clean, without the smear of a question mark.
“We’re willing to fight him again in his mother’s back yard if we have to,” Daigle told me. Will Washington be as willing, though? I’d be happy if he were. The man certainly comes across like a gentleman while being interviewed. No matter how things turn out with the California Boxing Commission, it would be good to see he and Scott in the ring again.
Daigle, who’s been in the business for 41 years, put it plainly. “Let’s find out who the better fighter is,” he said, “and lets fight.”