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Taking one on the chin

Mayweather-Judah brawl was unfortunate for boxing

Posted: Tuesday April 11, 2006 1:32PM; Updated: Tuesday April 11, 2006 1:38PM
The brawl at the end of the 10 round in last Saturday's Zab Judah and Floyd Mayweather's bout lasted nearly five minutes before authorities broke it up.
The brawl at the end of the 10 round in last Saturday's Zab Judah and Floyd Mayweather's bout lasted nearly five minutes before authorities broke it up.
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Any time you have Don King holding forth about "the integrity of the sport," it's probably a good idea to head in the other direction. With Bob Arum, King co-promoted last Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather-Zab Judah fight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Soon after the bout, King mounted his righteous high horse and declared that Mayweather should have been disqualified after his trainer, and uncle, Roger Mayweather, entered the ring near the end of the 10th round.

The fact that King's fighter, Judah, ended up losing the bout -- and with it the IBF welterweight title -- by a lopsided unanimous decision that was surely only incidental to King's concern for the sanctity of the Marquis of Queensberry Rules.

Roger's intrusion, of course, was in response to a blatant low blow by the frustrated and well-whipped Judah, who followed up that (conceivably accidental) foul with an even more egregious rabbit punch (check the videotape and note the look of sadistic enthusiasm on Zab's face as he belts the doubled-over Floyd). Once Roger was in the ring, all hell -- well, heck, at least -- broke loose.

Judah's trainer, and father, Yoel Judah, jumped through the ropes, along with the rest of both corner crews and what looked like a couple of dozen police and arena security guards. Punches were thrown (including a couple by Zab), bodies tumbled and sportswriters everywhere started dusting off the "boxing's-latest-black-eye" clichés.

Fortunately, order was restored before anyone was seriously injured (Marc Ratner, the executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission, praised the actions of the security people, as well as the efforts of ring announcer Michael Buffer, who took up microphone and in his soothing baritone urged everyone NOT to rumble), and the bout resumed. Though not with Roger Mayweather in attendance, as referee Richard Steele banished the trainer from the premises. Mayweather, admittedly thrown off stride by the melee, coasted to the win, and the fighters even embraced at the start of the final round.

In the wake of the Tumult at Thomas & Mack, the Nevada commission announced that it was withholding both fighter's purses ($5 million for Mayweather; $1 million for Judah) pending a hearing at 10 a.m. Nevada time on Thursday. The commission has requested that Roger Mayweather attend the hearing and will almost certainly fine and/or revoke his license. The commission will review HBO tapes of the fight "frame by frame," to identify everyone involved in the incident and to determine just what happened, and additional fines or suspensions could result. Despite the urgings of King, however, it appears unlikely that the decision in the fight will be overturned.

"I don't like to talk about could-bes and what-ifs," said Ratner on Monday, "but I will say that I believe personally that the situation was handled properly by the referee and officials in the arena." Ratner also stressed that Nevada rules do not require that a referee disqualify a fighter if his cornerman enters the ring. "The rules say may," Ratner said. "It is up to the discretion of the referee."

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