Heavyweight contender Filip Hrgovic put on a rabbit punching clinic last Saturday night, stopping Demsey McKean with some shots to the back of his head to score a twelfth round knockout at the O2 Arena in London, England.
Many boxing fans on social media were wondering why the referee Marcus McDonnell sat back and allowed Hrgovic (16-0, 13 KOs) to nail McKean (22-1, 14 KOs) with rabbit punches all night without at least warning him to stop, taking points and if need be, disqualifying him because it appeared that was the main weapon in his arsenal.
The referee McDonnell was missing in action last Saturday night because he should have done something to police the rabbit punching from Hrgovic.
Whether the rabbit punches were intentional or not, Hrgovic should have been warned about them and clearly should have lost multiple points in this writer’s view.
After the fight, Hrgovic had the gall to complain about the holding that McKean did, saying that he should have had points deducted but failing to mention the illegal rabbit punches he was throwing, which was far, far worse.
Getting hit in the back of the head obviously can impact a fight more than simple holding.
If you look at the fight, Hrgovic was doing a lot of holding as well, as he looked exhausted by the fourth round and initiated a lot of the clinches.
Also, he didn’t seem to mind being held by McKean much of the time because he was gassed out, and he clearly needed the rest breaks to give the energy to attack him when he two were separated.
Hrgovic says Mckean should’ve been docked points
“The fact that he held a lot made the fight ugly. I didn’t like that. I think the referee should have docked one point or two points down,” said Hrgovic to Matchroom Boxing about Demsey McKean.
“He warned him a few times, but he didn’t take any points away, so I think he was holding too much. I think I was controlling the fight and landing bigger shots in every round, and I think I won most of the rounds, and in the end, I knocked him out. So it was a decent performance.
“I was surprised that he took some good shots, and he kept coming and throwing punches.”
The holding wasn’t nearly as bad as the rabbit punches being thrown by Hrgovic. If this was just the first time that Hrgovic had thrown rabbit shots in one of his fights, that would be one thing, but he’d done it in other fights as well.
Based on this performance, the only thing IBF heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has to worry about in fighting Hrgovic is getting brained with punches to the back of his head. Other than that, this is a mismatch. Hrgovic lacks the talent and the engine to beat a fighter like Usyk or any of the top guys.