Convicted Artist Magazine

Oct 17th
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refereesAll fouls are not created equal.  Referees view different infractions with varying severity, in different ways.  This is appropriate oiffociating, but they do not always get it right.  Group think is a dangerous thing, and I think the entire boxing world has let an idiotic thought-process brainwash them for far too long.  It has probably already cost lives, and I’d like to start a movement to change it.

I have noticed in the 26 years I have been following boxing, that a fighter is almost always given time to recover from a low blow.  Even with a borderline shot, that everyone knows did not stray low enough to do any damage, a referee typically believes the offended fighter is hurt.  They then proceed to allow up to 5 minutes for recovery!  This seems like quite generous treatment, yet for certain low blows it would be totally appropriate.  I guess that is why referees take no chances, and usually err on the side of caution.  Given that stance, it does leave one question: Why do we treat headbutts with so much carelessness.

If never heard of anyone dying or suffering permanent damage from a low blow.  Ken Buchanan claimed he still gets occasional aches from the foul Duran landed in their title bout in 1972, but function-wise, everything still works.  Headbutts, however, can kill.  Just ask Randie Carver, who collapsed in 1999 after repeated headbutts from Kabary Salem.  They can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous than a punch, and yet there is no time given to a headbutted fighter.  We seem to think only cuts can result from these fouls, and once a referee checks for blood, he allows the fight to immediately continue.  This double standard is unintelligent, and quite dangerous.

Certainly cuts are an issue with headbutts, but not the main one.  A fighter has landed an illegal shot to the head.  No extra time is given at all?  A referee would give extra time to a fighter who has been hit with a rabbit punch.  The offending fighter may even be disqualified for this.  Hitting a downed fighter is another one of those two-point deductions, or immediate disqualifications, yet headbutts are treated almost as casually as holding.  Unless one fighter is obviously the culprit, warnings are never even issued.

Fighters who complain of blurred vision are told if they do not continue, they will lose!  Shane Mosley (vs. Forrest 1) and Marco Antonio Barrera (vs. Junior Jones 1) both suffered brutal knockdowns (quite out of character for them) only seconds after being headbutted.  We have recently seen Nate Campbell nearly suffer a loss against Timothy Bradley from an obvious headbutt, as well as Vivian Harris carried out on a stretcher.  Both men were shamed by the boxing public, and accused of faking it.  That is a hypocritical disgrace.

Let’s extend the 5-minute rule to include headbutts.  If that slows down the fight, then we have a problem.  There should never be so many headbutts that it deos slow down a fight.  If you cannot tell who the offending fighter is, watch more closely!  If the same fighter comes out better all the time (i.e. Holyfield, Bradley), it’s him!

Chris Strait

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