Brown Rings The Bell - Deaf Judges Hear Nothing
21.05.05 - By Wray Edwards: Let me see if I have this straight. You go into a boxing ring and clock this guy around the ring for at least eight out of twelve rounds and you lose the fight.Your punch stats are superior to his, your skills are superior to his, and all but three guys in the room think that you have won the fight. Trouble is those three guys are called “judges”, and there’s the rub.
Article posted on 21.05.2005
Not since Felix Sturm made steak tar-tar out of De La Hoya’s face while assisting Oscar to practice his bobble-head routine, has a fight decision been so completely blown by the “judges”. ESPN’s Friday Night Fights featured 30 year-old O’Neil “Give ‘em Hell” Bell (now 24-1-1, 22 ko’s) and 33 year-old Dale “The Cowboy” Brown (now 33-4-1, 21 ko’s) in an IBF Cruiserweight Championship tussle. The similarity of Bell’s performance to Oscar’s effort versus Sturm also included flashy thumpy-thumpy body-shot flurries which were largely ineffective.
The Cruiserweight Division is already anonymous enough without the bogus decision which was rendered by the judges at the Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida last night. The fight, which was not generally pretty, was energetic and kept the crowd in it most of the way. Referee Garcia had to break up a few clinches in the later rounds as both fighters tired. For the most part the two boxers kept at it throughout.
The general tone of the action included many looping, wild swings by Bell who often fell in off-balance after, and was rewarded with fairly accurate counters from Brown. Dale has not been all that stylish during his career, but works hard, shows heart and is a fair boxer. Brown trained hard for this contest and made a serious effort in every round.
By contrast, Bell appeared to have taken Brown lightly and looked inept during the fight. He would occasionally shake his head “no” after catching one, which is usually a sign that a fighter has been tapped pretty well. He also lay on the ropes from time-to-time motioning Dale to come get him which Dale did most of the time to good effect.
ROUNDS ONE, TWO and THREE featured Brown moving in aggressively, with Bell up on his toes attempting to counter and moving well. For work-rate and connects Brown got the nod: (30/27). During round three The Cowboy sustained a ding on his forehead right between his eyes which made him look a bit like Cyclops. The injury was not a factor in the fight. This round included at least one instance where Brown staggered Bell, and some thought Dale had a chance then for a KO.
ROUNDS FOUR AND FIVE saw Bell go flat-footed and knee-locked but he did enough to appear the better worker and managed to somehow open a cut at the corner of Bell’s left eye. Though the cut oozed red for a few rounds, it was not vision-impairing and was masterfully tended by Dale’s corner. In fact the bleeding was essentially stopped in the last three rounds: (48/47 Brown).
ROUNDS SIX, SEVEN AND EIGHT went to Brown who reinvested in his left jab (used earlier in the fight to good effect) which kept Bell at a distance where Dale’s combinations were effective: (78/74 Brown).
Brown’s win three, lose two pattern continued as Bell sucked it up, unlocked his knees, got back on his toes and captured ROUNDS NINE AND TEN. Throughout the fight ESPN’s ringside announcers noted Bell’s seeming lack of preparation and effectiveness. Shane Mosley was the night’s guest boxer/commentator back in the studio. Punch stats during the fight
pretty much went the way of the rounds awards. Bell was often the recipient of head-rocking counters and scored (with luck) on some of his wild loopers. Brown threw a few whiffers also: (96/94 Brown).
ELEVEN AND TWELVE included a bit of napping on each-other’s shoulders as the fighters were getting a bit tired. Bell was sucking wind with his open mouth while Bell appeared a bit more collected. Though close, Brown was more effective in the closing two frames. Both corners told their boxers that this was for the rest of their lives. This fight was Brown’s fourth attempt at a world cruiser title and ESPN’s guys thought he had finally made it…and well deserved at that. This bout was for
the vacant IBF world cruiser title.
At the end both boxers raised their arms in victory and moved to their corners to await the judge’s decision. The ring announcer reported the scores as 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111 all for the new IBF Cruiserweight Champion of the World O’Neil Bell !!!???? The arena erupted in a chorus of boooos, the ESPN ringsiders were aghast screaming in disbelief. Bell smiled triumphantly while Brown remained stoic.
Shane Mosley had it 116-112 for Brown as did this author. Shane’s studio-mate, who shall go nameless in this piece, was wishy-washy and mumbled something about a draw. Hogwash!! Perhaps, and it’s a big PERHAPS, one might allow for a draw with one eye closed, but come on guys, there is no way Bell actually won that contest. This was a championship fight and there is no way Bell deserves to get a belt for his effort. It just added one more dulling scratch on the forlorn division.
Brown was professional during the post-fight interview. Watching the fight again without the sound, it seemed obvious that Dale had clearly won the match. The “judges” call was not very popular. A re-match is the only fair call for Dale, as Bell only convinced the “judges” and most of his corner. Everybody else in the world must feel the sentiments of Yule Brenner’s King, “It’s a puzzlement”.
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