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Chad Dawson’s KO By

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Boxing would be well served to have a policy in place to deal with damage suffered in the gym, in sparring. (Hogan)

The Greek dramatist Aeschylus (525-456 BC) wrote, “The first casualty of war is truth.”

Boxing is war. And while the essence of ring combat is truth, a lot of what goes on behind the scenes is neither honorable nor honest. With that in mind, there’s an issue relating to the September 8th fight in Oakland between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson that should be explored.

Ward entered the fight with an unblemished 25-and-0 record. By virtue of his “super six” tournament conquests, he was widely recognized as super-middleweight champion of the world. Dawson sported a 30-and-1 ledger and was the #1 light-heavyweight in boxing.

Prior to the bout, rumors circulated that Dawson had been knocked down and badly hurt by Edison Miranda in a sparring session. Team Dawson denied the rumors. Walter Kane (Chad’s attorney) says that, to his knowledge, no one from the California State Athletic Commission asked anyone in the Dawson camp about them. Dawson underwent the usual pro forma pre-fight medical examination, but that’s all.

In the fight itself, Chad looked tentative and weak. He’d been knocked down twice before in his career; by Eric Harding in 2006 and Tomasz Adamek a year later. Each time, he’d gotten up and won a unanimous decision by a comfortable margin.

Ward knocked Dawson down in the third, fourth, and tenth rounds en route to a tenth-round stoppage. Andre is a superb fighter, but he’s not a knockout puncher. In Ward’s previous eight outings, the only opponent he’d KO’d was Shelby Pudwell (who was knocked out by John Duddy in one round). In the entire “Super Six” tournament, Andre didn’t knock an opponent down.

After Ward-Dawson, the rumors multiplied. Miguel Diaz told BoxingScene.com that, in the ninth round of a ten-round sparring session, “Miranda executed something that I’d been telling him to do the whole workout – left, right hand, left hook – and he knocked him [Dawson] down. It was devastating for me because I don’t want to see something like that, but it happened. He was hurt. He tried to get up. He went down again and got up. I screamed to Rafael Garcia [Dawson’s assistant trainer], ‘Come and help him.'”

On September 14th, Diaz told this writer that Dawson was knocked down by Miranda, fell on his face, tried to get up, and pitched face-first into the ring ropes.

On September 19th, John Scully (Dawson’s trainer) added fuel to the fire when he sent out a mass email that read, “Just a note for future reference: If before a big fight – or ANY fight, really – it doesn’t matter if my boxer has gotten hit by a tractor trailer three days ago, been dropped seven times in sparring, lost 42 pounds in the steam room over the course of one week, and just GOT dropped to his knees in the gym five minutes before you ask . . . I’m still telling you he feels great. What else can a fighter or his trainer be expected to say?”

So what really happened?

This past week, I spoke with Kane, Scully, and Dawson. They all told me the same thing.

“I got knocked down,” Chad acknowledged. “But it was a flash knockdown. I wasn’t hurt. I got back up right away and finished the rest of the sparring session. Stuff like that happens all the time in boxing. The only reason we didn’t talk about it was, I knew people would make a big deal out of it and it wasn’t a big deal.”

Scully elaborated on that theme, saying, “Chad was sparring ten rounds that day. He got hit with a left hook in the ninth round. He went down. He got up. He was fine. He finished the round and then he finished the next round, so he sparred all ten rounds, which was what we planned for the day.”

“There’s some self-serving talk in what Miguel Diaz is saying,” Scully added. “That might be why he’s exaggerating the way he is. If you read what Miguel said, it was Miranda hit Chad with a combination that Miguel was telling him to throw. Do you really think that we would have allowed Chad to finish the round and then spar another round after that if he’d been hurt like Miguel says?”

“I wasn’t in the gym,” Kane told me. “But I heard the rumors and I asked about them. I believe what Chad and Scully are saying.”

I believe Chad and Scully too.

But that raises another issue. Suppose Dawson had been dazed or, worse, concussed? What would have been the proper course of action to follow?

The issue might be defused insofar as Chad is concerned. But it’s still out there for incidents involving other fighters in the future.

We live in the real world. Boxing is about making money. The bigger the fight, the more money will be lost if a fight is cancelled because a fighter has suffered a debilitating blow to the head in training.

Here, the thoughts of Dr. Margaret Goodman (former chief ringside physician and chairperson of the medical advisory board for the Nevada State Athletic Commission) are instructive.

“You don’t have to be knocked unconscious to suffer a concussion,” Dr. Goodman says. “That’s one reason a ring doctor evaluates each fighter immediately after every fight. There’s only one thing to do if a fighter is dazed in the gym. You take him to an emergency room or a comparable facility with similarly skilled doctors to be evaluated immediately. And you keep him there for a while after he has been examined so he can be observed by trained professionals.”

“There are no studies that I’m aware of on this point,” Dr. Goodman continues. “But my educated guess is that, more often than not when a fighter dies in a fight, it comes after he was hurt in the gym. If someone suffers a concussion, even a minor concussion, and is hit in the head again a week or two afterward, the damage can be additive, permanent, and even life-threatening. If a fighter is knocked out in a fight, he isn’t allowed to take punishment to the head for at least forty-five days. You can’t have a different safety standard for a fighter who suffers head trauma in the gym. And you certainly can’t have a bunch of lay people in the fighter’s camp saying, ‘It’s okay; he can still fight.’ That’s a recipe for disaster.”

For those who think that Dr. Goodman is overly cautious and overly protective of fighters, the thoughts of Freddie Roach are equally instructive. Asked what he’d do if one of his fighters suffered a debilitating blow to the head while preparing for a megafight, Roach answered, “The trainer’s job is to protect his fighter. You report something like that to the proper authorities. If you don’t, that’s how fighters get killed.”

All of this leads to one last issue: If Dawson wasn’t thrown off his game by head trauma suffered in sparring, why was he so outclassed by Ward? Is Andre that good?

John Scully thinks he knows the answer.

“After the fight, Chad was a gracious loser,” Scully says. “He told everyone that Ward is a great champion and the better man won. I respect Chad for that, but I want to tell you something. And this isn’t an excuse, because when someone tells the truth, it isn’t an excuse.”

“Chad is a light-heavyweight,” Scully continues. “Chad has fought for years at 175 pounds. And to get this fight, he had to go down to 168. Chad had trouble making weight, a lot of trouble. The weight didn’t come off like he thought it would. Making weight weakened him badly. He had to lose something like nine pounds the last two days. That’s why he looked the way he did in the fight. It wasn’t about being hurt in the gym because that didn’t happen. When a fighter goes down to a weight division lower than the one he’s been fighting in for years, he’s not the same fighter. Look at Chris Byrd against Shaun George. Byrd went from heavyweight to 175 pounds for that fight, and Shaun knocked him all over the place before he knocked Byrd out. Byrd beat Vitali Klitschko, David Tua, and Evander Holyfield. None of those guys even knocked him down. And no disrespect to Shaun George; are you telling me that he hits harder than those guys hit? Andre Ward is good. But it was the weight, man. It was the weight.”

As for Dawson, he won’t talk about the weight other than to say, “I don’t expect to fight at 168 pounds again. I’ll be back at 175 and I expect to be successful.”

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book (And the New: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing) was published recently by the University of Arkansas Press.

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Saul Sanchez Wins in Ontario, CA

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ONTARIO, CA- Saul Sanchez remained undefeated after a tumultuous battle against Mexico’s Fernando Saavedra to win by majority decision to the dismay of a small crowd on Friday.

In a battle of bantamweights at the Doubletree Hotel, it was Pacoima’s Sanchez (11-0, 6 KOs) who started quicker but San Luis Potosi’s Saavedra (7-6, 3 KOs) closed the gap in the latter half of the fight in front of a boisterous crowd of maybe 400 fans.

Sanchez nearly floored Saavedra in the first 20 seconds of the fight when a three-punch combination had the Mexican fighter wobbled. It spurred Sanchez to go on the attack, ultimately leading to a toe-to-toe battle.

The quicker hands and feet of Sanchez proved troubling for Saavedra, who needed the Southern Californian to stand still. That seldom happened in the first four rounds.

But though neither boxer seemed to tire, Sanchez began getting trapped against the ropes and allowing Saavedra to connect with powerful blows. The last three rounds were especially close and Sanchez was able to slip more blows than Saavedra. But each never ready to quit.

After eight bantamweight rounds, two judges scored it 77-75 for Sanchez and one had it 76-76 a draw. Sanchez was deemed the winner by majority decision.

Many fans were angry by the decision.

Other bouts

Corona’s Louie Lopez (5-0, 3 KOs) remained undefeated with a solid performance over Bakersfield’s Ray Cervera (0-2), a resilient super welterweight. Lopez was able to use his quick left hooks to score in every round but Cervera had a good chin and was able to counter with rights. No knockdowns were scored in the four round fight and all three judges scored the fight 40-36.

Oscar Torrez (3-0, 1 KO) knocked down Richard Soto (0-1) in the last round to assure a victory by unanimous decision in an entertaining heavyweight fight. Torrez fights out of Rialto, CA and is trained by Henry Ramirez who also trains Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. The two heavyweights seemed evenly matched for the first two rounds, with Soto having his best round in the second when he continually landed one-two combinations with good effect. But Torrez resumed control of the fight in the third by using the jab, then mixing up his attack. In the fourth round, Torrez unleashed a 10-punch barrage that dropped Soto in the corner. The fighter from Northern California got up and survived the round but was unable to turn things around. Two judges scored it 39-36 and another had it 40-35, all for Torrez.

Anthony Franco (3-1-1) took time to warm up before scoring a knockdown and defeating Kansas fighter Antonio L. Hernandez (1-4) by decision after four rounds in a super welterweight contest. In the third round, Franco slipped under a left by Hernandez who tripped and when he turned was met by a perfect left that knocked down the Kansas boxer. Though he wasn’t hurt, it changed the complexion of a close fight in favor of Franco who lives in Redlands, CA. All three judges scored it for Franco 38-35, 39-36, 38-37.

Tijuana’s Rafael Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs) ripped into Guanajuato’s Jose Ramos (11-15-1, 8 KOs) with a savage attack to win by knockout in the first round. A barrage of blows sent Ramos backward dangling over the ropes. Referee Ray Corona ruled it a knockdown and let the fight continue. Rivera resumed the attack and blistered the taller Ramos with blinding punches forcing the fight to be stopped at 1:51 of the first round. It was Rivera’s first fight since losing to Joet Gonzalez by split decision last July in Los Angeles.

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Pacquiao-Broner: A Perfect Fight for Pacquiao and the Good Guy Wins

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Various sites are reporting that eight division titlist Manny Pacquiao 60-7-2 (39) will meet four division title winner Adrien Broner 33-3-1 (24) in December or January with Manny’s WBA regular welterweight title on the line. The fight hasn’t been confirmed yet but here’s how you know it’ll happen, and that is the fight makes dollars and sense for the super-star involved and that’s Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao signed with adviser/promoter Al Haymon – with the hope of getting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather in 2019. Haymon is tied to Mayweather and Broner and most of the top welterweights in the sport – including world champions Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. Manny lost a unanimous decision to Mayweather in May of 2015 and has longed for a rematch ever since. And ironically, neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao want any parts of taking on a young gun boxer in his prime. Both Terence Crawford, the WBO title holder, and Errol Spence, the IBF titlist, would take apart and embarrass both of them and there’s a sound case to make that both would’ve been okay tangling with Floyd and Manny even during their prime.

However, Mayweather and Pacquiao are businessman first and fighters second at this time and that’s been the case for quite a while. Manny only has interest in facing Mayweather again because he seeks revenge and Floyd will be 42 and coming off a long period of being inactive by the time they face off. As for Mayweather, he’d rather partake in big money fiascos where he can continue to gouge the public in WWE gimmicks against elite MMA fighters like Conor McGregor, his last opponent, or McGregor’s recent conqueror Khabid Nurmagomedov.

The only real boxer Floyd would entertain fighting is Pacquiao, who at this stage is only a moderate threat to Floyd because Mayweather hasn’t been in the gym much and has been preoccupied with spending his money. That and Pacquiao has a style that Floyd knows he can handle and Manny holds a version of the welterweight title. Granted, Floyd would probably make more money facing Nurmagomedov and Pacquiao is more or less his plan B if Manny gets by Broner. The problem with Mayweather facing Nurmagomedov is that Nurmagodev’s MMA fights don’t attract big interest and just maybe after the McGregor farce, both boxing and MMA fans are fed up with Mayweather’s faux fights and rip-offs – and with him then rubbing it in their faces by bragging how much money he made. So perhaps fans have wised up and will only consider paying to see Floyd fight another boxer – therefore Pacquiao becomes relevant to him.

With it no longer a secret that Mayweather and Pacquiao are only interested in robbing the public, enter Adrien Broner. If there’s another fighter who has been rewarded with big fights after posting underwhelming performances every time he has faced an upper-tier fighter, I don’t know of him. Broner is 3-2-1 in his last six bouts, having faced two championship caliber opponents in Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. He lost on the judges’ cards by a collective 16 points versus Porter and 14 against Garcia….in other words he didn’t compete and after the first third of those fights you could’ve turned to something else and you wouldn’t have missed a thing…other than Broner scoring a knockdown over a coasting and careless Porter in the 12th round.

Broner, 29, is a highly skilled boxer, and when he fights he shows flashes of what he could’ve been but never was. Adrien’s problem is he has a low boxing IQ and never cared to expand it. He’s let his weight balloon up and he’s lazy. Actually, Broner doesn’t like to fight and does it because he’s pretty good at it and he likes the notoriety it brings him. Other than that, he’s a contented loser and that makes him perfect for an aging Pacquiao.

When they get in the ring Manny can count on Broner fighting no more than 30 seconds per round and posing and loafing for the remaining 2:30. Adrien will talk up a great fight, saying he knows time is running out and he needs a sensational showing, but once again his words won’t translate into deeds…they never do. Pacquiao, knowing that a potential Mayweather rematch hinges on how he looks, will show up prepared and ready for battle. Manny has been around the block a few times and knows nothing will escalate the interest in another fight with Mayweather like a good showing and perhaps him being the first to stop Broner inside the distance.

Hopefully boxing fans won’t be asked to shell out PPV dollars to watch Pacquiao vs. Broner. But it’s boxing, so nothing should come as a surprise. The only given here is that Broner doesn’t hold any advantage over Pacquiao in size or skill, which isn’t normally the case with Manny. Moreover, he’s facing a fighter who will fold and break the first-time things get tough, and if we know one thing about Pacquiao it’s that he doesn’t make it easy for anybody. And I expect him to feed off of Broner’s weak constitution as the fight progresses. In addition to that this is the perfect good guy versus bad guy match up.

The one thing that might add intrigue to Pacquiao-Broner is that Broner is an easy guy to root against and a ton of fans would love to see nice guy Manny Pacquiao beat him up and humiliate him. And if the fight comes to fruition, count on that being how it unfolds. Yes, Pacquiao fights the perfect guy in order to set up a rematch with Mayweather and Broner will exit the ring a loser once again, only with a little more money to flush down the toilet.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Irish Jason Quigley Keeps NABF Title at Fantasy Springs

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INDIO, Calif.- Jason Quigley returned to fight in Southern California after nearly two years away and found it tough going in defeating Mexico’s veteran Freddie Hernandez by unanimous decision to retain the NABF middleweight title on Thursday.

Nearly every round was contentious.

Quigley (15-0, 11 KOs) had decided to train in England after spending several years in Southern California. Though he beat Hernandez (34-10, 22 KOs) he must have forgot how to fight inside as that’s where the troubles began at Fantasy Springs Casino. The fight was televised on ESPN.

After spending the first several rounds picking apart 39-year-old Hernandez from the outside, when the Mexican fighter crowded Quigley, the Irish fighter found it difficult to maintain his punch advantage.

Hernandez used his crafty inside work to both score and muffle the punches incoming from Quigley. In the sixth and seventh round the Mexican fighter began mounting considerable damage on his foes’ face. Whether it was weariness or some other factor, Hernandez was scoring big with well-placed left hooks and lead rights.

The crowd began shouting “Fred-die, Fred-die” as the veteran landed flush blows. A look of concern crossed Quigley’s face.

Both fighters looked tired by the ninth round, but the older fighter Hernandez somehow seemed fresher especially while fighting on the inside. Then Quigley began separating himself and scoring with pot shots. That seemed to stop the rushes of Hernandez.

In the final round Quigley’s fans began shouting his name and the Irish fighter though weary managed to fire some combinations while on the move. Both fighters were exhausted when the final bell rang.

One judge scored it 99-91, the other two had it 98-92 all for Quigley.

“I feel great, I knew coming in this was a big test for me,” said Quigley.

Yes it was.

Gomez

New York’s Eddie Gomez (22-3, 12 KOs) was supposed to be joined with his dad for the fight against Japan’s Shoki Sakai (22-9-2, 12 KOs) in Indio, but unexpectedly his father passed away this past weekend. The fight still went on.

Gomez won every round against the game Sakai who was trained by Mexico’s famed Nacho Beristain. The welterweight Gomez from the Bronx used his speed and movement to keep away from Sakai’s big blows. After eight rounds all three judges saw it 80-72 for Gomez.

“It was very hard. He (father) was supposed to come out Saturday night. He took a week off of work. He was supposed to fly out and Saturday was the day he had died,” said Gomez after the fight. “I got to bite down. He was in camp with me. He had his input. He would have been proud today. I love you pops.”

Other bouts

Coachella’s Rommell Caballero (4-0, 3 KOs) floored Hugo Padron twice to win by knockout at 1:25 of the first round in a super featherweight match. Caballero, the 19-year-old brother of former super bantamweight champion Randy Caballero, connected with a counter left hook during an initial exchange that sent Pardo to the floor. He got up tentatively and was met with a crisp right through the gloves for a second knockdown. Referee Tom Taylor took a look at Pardo and waved the fight over.

“My first fight on ESPN I just want to thank everybody. All I’m doing is training. I’m getting ready and staying sharp,” said Caballero who was a former sparring partner for Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. “Training with him (Gonzalez) is one of the greatest experiences I ever had.”

After losing most every round Ray Perez (24-10, 8 KOs) made a stand and connected with an overhand left that staggered Chimpa Gonzalez (19-3, 15 KOs) and then the Filipino fired another overhand left through the guard and down went Gonzalez. Though he beat the count, Gonzalez seemed light headed and when the fight resumed Perez connected with more blows and the fight was called at 2:15 of the seventh round. Perez was deemed the winner by knockout.

It was a rematch of a fight that took place last February at the same venue. In that contest Perez won by unanimous decision.

Gonzalez trained with Joel and Antonio Diaz in Indio for this match. And though the lanky lightweight was far ahead on the score cards, he seldom moved his head and paid for it. Before that, he was ahead by attacking the body of Perez who protected his body for the last three rounds. But once Gonzalez slowed Perez revved up his attack and finished Gonzalez.

In a featherweight clash Edgar Ortega survived a first round knockdown against Recky Dulay (11-4, 8 KOs) and rallied to win by unanimous decision after six rounds by scores 57-56, and 58-55 twice.

Southpaw lightweight Angel Ruiz (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out Dominican Republic’s Jonathan Fortuna (8-3) at 1:40 of the fourth round. Ruiz, 21, fights out of Tijuana, Mexico.

Super featherweight Elnur Abduraimov (2-0) knocked out Giovannie Gonzalez (5-3) at 2:38 of the second round. Abduraimov, 24, is originally from Uzbekistan.

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