Fans Are Seething: Did the Ref Ruin the Kholmatov vs. Ford Fight?

By Jeff Sorby - 03/03/2024 - Comments

Boxing fans are furious about how last Saturday night’s fight between featherweights Otabek Kholmatov and Raymond Ford ended in Verona, New York.

With Kholmatov (12-1,11 KOs) in command of the fight, cruising to victory, the referee stepped in and halted the fight with seven seconds remaining, giving Ford (15-0-1, 8 KOs a 12th-round knockout win

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Social Media Meltdown

Now, here’s the problem: Fans on social media believe that Kholmatov would have easily survived those remaining seconds to walk away with a decision victory over Ford. Unfortunately, the referee’s decision to stop the fight is seen by fans on social media as a massive mistake.

It’s a hot topic right now – do referees sometimes stop fights too early? Should they let the fighters decide things for themselves? Of course, refs royally blow it all the time, and you can argue last Saturday night’s Kholmatov-Ford results are a classic example.

The closest fight that this writer can recall that resembles the Kholmatov vs. Ford controversial stoppage was the first fight between Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor in March 1990.

That was a fight where Taylor was on his way to an easy victory when the referee Richard Steele jumped in and halted the fight with two seconds remaining in the 12th round, giving Chavez a knockout victory. It was the same thing as the Kholmatov-Ford fight, but the only difference was there seven seconds rather than two, but just as controversial.

Would Kholmatov Have Made It?

Its fair to say that Kholmatov would have hung on to make it through the final seven seconds to win a 12 round split decision to capture the vacant WBA featherweight title. He would then be flying home with his life changed forever, having won the title, earned excellent money, and now would be the champion.

Instead, the visiting fighter, Kholmatov, will be leaving the East Coast after getting a raw deal and flying home to Uzbekistan, and likely never given an opportunity like this again. His life has been changed in a negative sense.

The East Coast fighter, Ford got very lucky with the stoppage, as it saved him from defeat, and he can make a short drive home to Camden, New Jersey having the WBA title in his possession. He would have lost the fight if not for the fight being halted.

Ford Moving On Up

After the fight, Ford announced that he would be vacating his newly won WBA feather weight title and moving up to super featherweight, where he hopes to face fellow Matchroom fighter, IBF 130-lb champion Joe Cordina.

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