By: Sean Crose
Virgil Ortiz’ return to the ring against Fredrick Lawson on Saturday took a strange turn when referee Tony Weeks abruptly stopped the fight. While it was true that Lawson was taking a beating at the moment, he didn’t appear to be a finished man. Even in a sport where it’s better to stop a fight too soon rather than too late, this one was a bit of a headscratcher. Lawson, after all, didn’t seem to be taking the kind of immense punishment that would require the bout to be stopped at that particular moment. Needless to say, fans and analysts alike were baffled by the outcome, with much ire being directed at Weeks for supposedly stopping the bout too soon.
“What the public didn’t know,” the veteran referee subsequently wrote in response to the blistering criticism, “that prior to the fight they did a brain scan on him (Lawson), and it came up that he had an aneurysm and they did a test again and the same aneurysm came up, another doctor was brought in and gave him the same examination and he tested negative for the aneurysm, so they cleared him to fight.” This assertion, if true, is certainly a game changer in that it at least somewhat vindicates Weeks, as well as puts the Nevada State Athletic Commission under the spotlight. Is what Weeks said true though? And is there more to the situation than he claims?
“Fredrick Lawson was cleared by a Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioned doctor to fight on Saturday night,” Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted the fight, posted. “All other questions should be referred to NSAC.” And indeed, a source at NSAC responded to Boxing Insider by stating simply that Lawson was cleared to fight on Saturday night. The source also pointed out that the story involves medical information – not something to be treated lightly for both legal and ethical reasons. As of press time, Boxing Insider is awaiting a follow up call from the Commission.
While it’s true that Saturday’s bout ended up being clouded by confusion and controversy, there was no doubt that Ortiz looked good for the short amount of time he fought (things didn’t get past the first round, after all). An effective jab, coupled with telling power shots and and instinct to bring matters to an early end (though perhaps not was early as they were) made it impossible to deny the 20-0 Ortiz looked sharp against the 30-4 Davis. As things now stand, Ortiz hopes to get into the ring with impressive junior middleweight titlist Tim Tszyu.
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