Philippines, 08 Apr 2020
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“Only the referee can stop the fight”


PhilBoxing.com





Not having much to do on a day during the “Enhanced Community Quarantine” in the place where I live, I got plenty of time to review and re-review the fights on Youtube between great and near great fighters. The entertaining fights are mostly for a world where the winner is “crowned” as the new champion or the champion retains his “crown”.

I prefer to use “crown” instead of “title” or “belt” for now.

I have viewed the fights of Manny Pacquiao and I have heard so many times Harold Lederman’s being made to recite the rules of the fight before the bell for the first round sounds. He starts with the “No 3 knockdown rule” being in effect. Then he follows this with, “Only the referee can stop the fight”.

After hearing Harold say this rule for the nth time this time, the phrase struck me for a moment. Is it really only the referee who can stop the fight?

The question is answered even in the Manny Pacquiao-Erik Morales 3 fight I was watching. After the 3rd knockdown of the fight, Erik shook his head while still down on his pants signifying that he no longer wanted to continue with the fight in the 3rd round. Erik, not the referee, stopped the fight.

Then I moved on to Manny’s first fight in the lightweight division against the defending WBC champion, David Diaz. After battering the bloodied and totally outclassed crown holder for 8 and ½ or so rounds, Manny knocked David out towards the end of the 9th round. Manny caused the stoppage of the fight by rendering Diaz unconscious and unable to hold on to his “crown”. A knock-out stops a fight. It is not the referee who stops it. As the ring announcer confirms, “The end came at ___ of the __ round.”

The rule, “Only the referee can stop the fight”, applies only to an on-going fight and the referee stops it either because one fighter is badly cut, or is disqualified for a major boxing rule infraction, or a fighter fails to the re-enter the ring within 20 seconds after being forced out of it by his opponent with a lawful punch, or when a fighter is totally outclassed by his opponent, or when both fighters knock each other out at the same time. The referee only confirms the stoppage of a fight already stopped by any of these circumstances.

When a corner throws in the towel, although this is prohibited, or the ring physician advices the referee that the badly injured fighter should not be allowed to continue fighting, it is still the referee who decides whether to continue or to stop the fight.

This month-long “Enhanced Community Quarantine”, which is effectively a lockdown, gives me more time to enjoy the great fights while waiting for the lockdown to be stopped. This present unscheduled appearance of the “crown” or corona virus pandemic is making its stern voice heard around the world. It just sounded, “Stop”, and all sports activities, not excluding boxing, have to stop. As with everything else.

The first bell hasn’t even sounded and all the scheduled important fights, especially the unification fights for boxing “crowns” we have eagerly anticipated to happen, have been stopped.

The “crown” virus has spoken. Boxers, promoters, and fight fans have no choice but to take heed. The rule, “Only the referee can stop the fight”, is actually, “The referee may stop the fight”.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Epifanio M. Almeda.


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