Bizarre Night - First Witter Quits & Then Campbell

boxingBy Paul Strauss: What a night at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, CA. Referees Dr. Lou Moret and David Mendoza earned their money tonight. In the bout featuring Junior Witter and Devon Alexander, Dr. Moret tried his darndest to keep from penalizing Junior Witter for holding, which is an understatement. It was more like grabbing, clinching and attempted tackles.

After the eighth round, Dr. Moret went to Witter's corner and warned the fighter that he could no longer let him get away with throwing one punch and then holding. At that time, Witter advised that he did not want to continue. The initial fear was that he was going to come up with some cockeyed excuse that Dr. Moret wasn't letting him fight his fight, but it turned out that he claimed injury to his right elbow..

In a post-fight interview with Jim Grey, Witter claimed he injured the elbow in the fourth round, and that he couldn't keep Alexander off of him with only the left. Hence, he explained he had no choice but to quit.

The response to that is of course he had a choice. He could have continued and gave it his best, trying to disguise any ailment he might have, and in fact up to that point there wasn't any obvious evidence that he indeed had suffered an injury. Gus Johnson and Al Bernstein didn't see any clue of his claimed ailment. At least they didn't point it out, and in post fight comments, neither said anything like, "I thought there was something wrong with his right arm."

What they and the fans did see was an ugly performance by Witter. From the beginning, he seemed to be looking for a way out of the fight. He swung wildly, like a scared fighter, so much so that in the first round he missed one wild right so badly that he somersaulted as a result. At the end of the round, he gave the impression he of walking away from Alexander, only to then leap at him and grab for dear life as the bell sounded to end the round.

Witter started the second round in the same fashion........ugly and wild. He again missed with another wild right, and tried to back hand. There was so much clumsy action that the referee missed it. Most the time during these wild swings and grabbing, Witter's chin was up ready to be hit. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before he would get clipped. Toward the end of the round, Witter did manage to land a right counter, but Alexander closed the round with one of his own right hands.

The third round opened with both fighters once again landing right hands. Neither fighter was landing a jab. By this time, it was obvious Witter should have been warned about holding and maybe even penalized. But, Ref Moret was trying not to be a factor. Alexander started to land good counter right hands, and Witter also sustained a small cut over his right eye that was caused by a punch.

In the fourth round, Witter surprisingly started to land a jab, but it was still another ugly round. It was another Alexander round. In the fifth, Alexander landed a huge long left to Witter's head. Witter had been attempting to throw another wild right, but Alexander's straight left beat him to the punch. Willer almost went down, and to keep himself from doing so grabbed ferociously at Alexander in tackling fashion, attempting to keep upright. He was lucky to survive the round.

Between rounds, Alexander's corner told him not to look to the referee for any help (against the holding), and to just keep the pressure on Witter and to work him over on the inside. Alexander once again caught Witter with a good shot near the end of the fifth round.

In the seventh round, Witter was landing a few jabs, but Alexander was throwing and landing the more effective punches. He also was keeping the pressure on Witter. In the seventh round, Referee Moret finally warned Witter about holding. The fight continued to be very ugly.

Then the shocker occurred after the eigth round. First, Referee Dr. Lou Moret went to Witter's corner and warned him that he could not continue to let Wittler throw one punch and then hold. The obvious insinuation was that if he continued to do so, he would be penalized.

It was then Witter decided he couldn't continue. He got up from his stool and went across the ring, pushed Alexander's corner man out of the way and hugged Alexander, who was still on his stool. It was a strange scene. At that point no one really knew what had caused him to quit. It was only during the post fight interview with Jim Grey that he claimed to have hurt his right elbow. It was a strange revelation, especially since he seemed to be grabbing, clinching and holding with both arms without difficulty, and when he pushed the corner man out of the way and hugged Alexander, it seemed he was using both arms? The fact of the matter is from the get-go he seemed to be a frightened fighter.

Next, the long awaited shootout between Timothy Bradley and Nate Campbell came. In prefight interviews, Campbell seemed to be taking the fight personally. He didn't like some of Bradley's comments and claimed to be ready to make him pay. Bradley simply said he was ready.

In the first round, Campbell seemed to be looking to hurt Bradley early. He was the one doing the pressuring, and throwing the hard long right hands that seemed to be coming dangerously close to landing. He also appeared to be the physically stronger of the two, and also attempted to intimidate Bradley by talking to him. Bradley kept composed and maintained a tight defense and attempted to counter.

In the second round, Campbell landed some good left hooks to the body, and later in the round was cautioned for a kidney punch. There was lot's of good work by both fighters, and in the process their heads clashed, but there was no damage. Both the first and second rounds were close, with maybe the first going to Campbell for his aggression. The second could have been argued either way.

In the third round, Bradley landed a good right, and moments later there was another clash of heads. Slow motion replays clearly showed the top of Bradley's head collided with Campbell's left eyebrow. A bad cut resulted

Replays also showed that Campbell almost immediately complained to Referee David Mendoza that he had been head-butted, but the action continued, and Bradley swarmed all over Campbell, pinning him against the ropes. He landed several good shots, especially overhand rights to the side and top of Campbell's head. Campbell seemed to be in some difficulty, but he made it through the round.

Just as soon as his fanny hit the stool, he started to complain that he couldn't see. "I can't see", he repeated to anyone who was listening. He clearly wanted the fight stopped and declared a No Contest due to an accidental head butt. However, he didn't get his wish. The fight was stopped, but declared a TKO victory for Bradley.

In the post-fight interview, Referee Mendoza acknowledged he saw the head butt, but he claims he didn't see any blood until a second or so later when a punch was landed.

Slow motion replays tend to support Campbell's contention that he was cut from a head butt, and that the fight should have been declared a No Contest. Undoubtedly there will be an appeal. Whether or not the referee's decision will be overturned by the commission or sanctioning body remains to be seen.

During the post fight interview, Jim Grey tried to get a rematch commitment out of Bradley and Bradley's people, which was a cheap shot and attempt to unfairly take advantage of the situation. He also pressed Bradley for an opinion as to whether the referee's decision was correct or not, but Bradley wisely begged off saying that wasn't his job. He did his job in the ring.

Of course Promoter Don King got in his two cents as well, but he tends to lack credibility with just about anything he says. The odds are probably long, but don't be surprised if a rematch is ordered.

If that occurs, Bradley says he is not worried, because he could feel Campbell getting older as the fight progressed. He is confident he will be victorious again.

Announcer Gus Johnson closed by saying, "This is why we love boxing". Most fans would probably disagree. They want and enjoy clear cut victories without all the extracurricular activities.

Article posted on 02.08.2009

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