by Paul Strauss- California often leads the way in trends and fads, and is sometimes criticized for its policies. It's been called everything from the Golden State to the Grape State, and last night it might have qualified itself as the "sour grape" state. That dubious title came in the form of state boxing rules that had judges going to their scorecards after only three plus rounds of limited action in the Kermit Cintron vs Paul "The Punisher" Williams contest, which was scheduled for twelve rounds at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
The biggest accomplishment of the first three rounds was a resounding chorus of boo's from the crowd. Announcer Larry Merchant described the situation accurately when he said neither of these fighters have a strong fan base in Calif, and probably not at home either. Both have struggled for top echelon of recognition they desire.
Kermit "The Killer" Cintron had developed the reputation for fading when the going gets tough. That primarily occurred as the result of his two losses against Antonio Margarito, but Cintron tried to reestablish himself as "El Assesino" by equating those two losses with the infamous illegal handwraps that came out of the pre-fight incident leading up to the Margarito fight with Mosley..
However, fans agree that Cintron also received a gift draw in his fight with the now middleweight champ Sergio Martinez. In that fight, Martinez should have been award a knockout victory, or at the very least a UD. Because of those fights, it was believed Cintron would eventually fade under the unbelievable pressure applied by "The Punisher". But, the fight didn't last long enough for that possibility to develope. Both fighters started out cautiously. In fact, Larry Merchant correctly pointed out that they were showing too much respect for each other. Concerning Williams reputation, Merchant said, "He is like a wind turbine on a windless day.
Well, a little breeze finally started to kick up in the fourth round, but then the bizarre occurred. The two fighters managed to miss wild punches and get tangled up in arms and legs. Williams fell and Cintron did a one and one-half gainer through the ropes and on to a ringside table and then the floor. Cintron's actions seemed odd, because normally a falling person will grab anything at hand to prevent a fall, but in his case he went right in between the ropes without grabbing one for support. It appeared he landed on his back on a table, and then fell again to the floor.
The camera showed that he was moving both of his legs, and he also was moving his head. It was at that time Harold Lederman, the unofficial ringside scorer, explained Cintron would have five minutes to get back into the ring and continue. That didn't happened because the ringside physician appeared to be cautioning Cintron not to move from his face down position. Several minutes passed before a stretcher was brought out. A stablilzing collar was put around Cintron's neck, and then he was transferred on to a backboard type stretcher, at which time more stabilizers in the form of triangular shaped styroform pieces were taped in place on either side of his head to further prevent any movement.
Cintron didn't appear to be in pain, but he did appear to be upset that he was not going to be allowed to continue the fight. He wasn't the only one who was disappointed. Everyone was upset! Instead of a "no contest" being declared, California rules required the judges go to their score cards, because in California only three rounds have to be completed. Normally the unified rules of boxing require four complete rounds to have passed in the event of a stoppage due to something like an accidental head butt resulting in a bad cut. .
However, because of California's unuusual rule, a decision had to be rendered, and in this case there was disagreement over the short span of the fight with two judges scorring the fight for Williams and one saw it for Cintron. The biggest piece of evidence in scoring the fight was probably who threw and missed the more impressive punches of the two, because not much landed. The whole thing definitely left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, including Paul Williams, who realized his victory was a hollow one. He just wanted to fight and win a legitimate victory. He was genuinely concerned about Cintron's welfare and expressed his hope that Kermit would be alright. He told Larry Merchant in the post-fight interview that he thought the action was just starting to pick up when the accident occurred. To make matters worse this night, HBO also had to show a replay of the one-sided Mayweather win over Mosley! I can hear fans spitting out the sour grapes!
Article posted on 09.05.2010