Jirov-Moorer: Good Fight, Good Ref, but not a Good Stoppage

09.12.04 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Well guys, as you can imagine, being a Jirov fan this was quite a disappointment for me. There are no excuses because the better man won and that was Michael Moorer. After being outboxed for the majority of the fight, Moorer caught Jirov, who rather than keeping away from Moorer’s power and continuing to circle and box, decided to trade instead. The result was not positive, to say the least.. Moorer hit Jirov with a good uppercut underneath, after which Jirov proceeded to land a 3 punch combination that found its mark, but was not effective enough to keep Moorer from landing a peach of a shot to Jirov’s ear. The punch caused a delayed reaction as Jirov, while still throwing a punch, went down hard, and as he got up and completed the referee’s instructions although obviously hurt, the fight was stopped.

Now, don’t get me the referee did a very good job, from staying out of the action, to the point deductions and warnings. The first incident happened when Jirov went on the attack and a headbutt and a body shot connected on Moorer. Moorer taking a step back suddenly felt the affect of the headbutt and took a knee. Now here is the key part, the Referee had not yet called a halt to check on the headbutts, or was not aware of the headbutt taking place. Moorer, therefore had no right to take a knee, to halt the action. Therefore the Knockdown was completely justified, even though it was really from a headbutt. It’s a perfect example of what should have happened in the Ruiz-Golota fight, and the Spinks-Mayorga fight, when Spinks and Ruiz took a knee at different times to call a halt to the action, and ultimately get a grace “slip” ruling. Again, it is unfair to your opponent to take a knee and so Moorer was rightfully penalized.

Now, so you don’t think the referee was biased for Jirov he rightfully warned him for headbutting, and on the subsequent headbutt, he did take a point away. Vasili has a tendency to pull a Holyfield at times, and I think that his best bet is to stop doing it. Although the difficult part is that he fights with his head down, and chin tucked so it is more natural for him to avoid punches, but still it is unfair if he does collide with his head to his opponent. This has actually happened a few times before, most notably in the Adolpho Washington fight. However, in that case, the referee was shy to take points away, even though Jirov was winning every round anyway so it wouldn’t really matter.

Just like the refereeing the fight was good as well, Jirov went back to Olympic boxing mode, and circled beautifully at times to keep Moorer off balance. Jirov also used an effective Jab that banked him the rounds when Moorer was simply not throwing but instead, moving forward. Jirov also employed a good body attack that forced Moorer to drop his guard almost everytime one of Jirov's vicious punches landed to Moorer's soft midsection. Moorer, for his part, never stopped moving forward, and never stopped trying to corner Jirov and unload. Ultimately he was able to do this, and forced Jirov to exchange at center ring, where he won the fight on the aforementioned shot to the ear.

My only problem is that the referee, although doing all the right things at the right time, stopped the fight at the wrong time. After the shot that put Jirov down, Jirov obviously, hurt jumped up and put his knee down hard on the canvas, rubbed his face, and stood back up. He looked at the referee and had to take a step back and lean on the ropes to get his balance because his legs were definitely gone. Now, here is where the referee could have stopped the fight, without even as much as a complaint from me, because like I said, there was no doubt Jirov was hurt, and couldn’t get his balance. The referee continued to count as Jirov stood back put his hands in the air, and then showed the ref that he was ready. The ref asked him to step forward, which Jirov did by taking two steps, and then at that point the referee waived it off. That in a nutshell is my only problem with the fight. If the ref has it in his head a fighter is hurt, then he stops it then, sort of like Nady didn’t think twice at stopping the Judah-Tsyzu fight. You don’t ask the fighter to do something, and after he does it, indicating that he can hear and obey the instructions, stop the fight. It just doesn’t make sense.

That is the only reason I think it was a bad stoppage. Not in the sense that Moorer won unfairly, because there is no excuse for his win. It was certainly a great one at that, but it’s a matter of being logical. Jirov did obey the instructions of the ref, and so he could have let it go on. Now, in terms of crystal ball predictions, my money would have been on a Moorer stoppage, but Jirov was up and ready, and still has a great chin, and would be wary to trade after being hurt, its not inconceivable that he could have survived the round, but still no excuses, Moorer won.

I think that Moorer did a good job of toughing it out, and he could definitely still make an impact in the heavyweight division. In my opinion, I think Jirov could still come back, because afterall, he was boxing very well for the majority of the fight. At times, he even employed the James Toney like shoulder roll to avoid punches. Now, it wasn’t a bad tool for him, even though he did look ackward doing it, but it does show he has the ability to learn and grow in different facets of the sport. Obviously if he chooses to compete as a heavy he cannot rely on his chin too much, and must get down to being able to avoid punches. Bottom line, this was a good fight, nobody can deny that, and for the heavies, that is what is needed.


Article posted on 09.12.2004

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