Giampa: On cut men, head butt rules
Former Nevada boxing judge Chuck Giampa, now a consultant who advises fighters, will provide his occasional analysis of officials and scorecards when he’s not directly involved in an event. Here is his take on the way the Amir Khan-Marco Antonio Barrera fight was handled:
Amir Khan found his range and took advantage of his reach early as he dominated Marco Antonio Barrera from the beginning of the first round Saturday in Manchester, England. A clash of heads later in the round caused a deep cut on the left side of Barrera's forehead that obviously impaired Barrera's vision. The referee ruled the cut was caused by an accidental head butt. Khan dominated the round with his quick, accurate punches to Barrera's head and body. Barrera's cut man couldn't stop the flow of blood between rounds; thus, Barrera was still bleeding as he got off his stool to start the second and every subsequent round.
Khan continued in the second and third rounds by fighting from angles and displayed his hand speed with uppercuts and triple jabs. Barrera connected with a solid punch at the end of the second round but it did no damage. The third round continued with Khan dominating Barrera with effective punching and his hand speed and footwork.
Khan was pitcheing a shutout after three rounds, winning 30-27.
Interestingly, during the fourth round, the referee FINALLY called time to bring Barrera to a corner to have a ringside physician examine Barrera's cut. I say interesting since Barrera was cut as severely in the first round as he was in the fourth round. It was apparent that the doctor didn't look closely at the cut in the fourth round but, it seemed, merely asked Barrera if he wanted to continue to fight.
According to the rules, if a cut is caused by an accidental head butt and the fight is stopped BEFORE THE COMPLETION OF FOUR COMPLETED ROUNDS by the referee with or without the advice of the physician, the fight is ruled a no-contest …. NO WINNER.
The physician and the referee allowed the fight to continue with Khan still dominating the round and winning 40-36 after four rounds.
The rules also state that if a fight is stopped due to an accidental head butt AFTER FOUR ROUNDS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED, THE JUDGES MUST SCORE EVEN THE PARTIAL ROUND AND THE FIGHT GOES TO THE SCORECARDS OF THE JUDGES FOR A DECISION.
This is exactly what happened in the fifth round. The referee called time during the fifth round and brought Barrera over to the doctor again to examine the cut. This time, the doctor looked at the cut and the referee stopped the fight on the advice of the ringside physician. The judges scored the partial fifth round and the scores were not a surprise:
Coyle from England: 50-44
O'Connor from England: 50-45
Martinez from Spain: 50-45
Khan was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
Several questions linger in my mind, however:
ÔÇó Would Barrera have put up a better fight if the bleeding was contained?
ÔÇó Should the referee have had the doctor look at the cut in the second or even the third rounds?
ÔÇó Should the doctor have examined the cut more thoroughly in the fourth round?
ÔÇó Should the fight have been stopped prior to the fifth round?
I don’t want to diminish an excellent performance by Khan, but as a former boxing judge, I thought again of: THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD CUT MAN IN THE CORNER AND THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE RULE FOR THE ACCIDENTAL HEAD BUTT.
What if ÔÇª? We'll never know!
Former boxing judge Chuck Giampa can be reached at [email protected]