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Bradley stops Campbell, but will his TKO hold?

01
Aug

Timothy Bradley reacts with glee after he is awarded a third-round TKO while Nate Campbell walks away in disgust Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Photo / Naoki Fukuda

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Timothy Bradley scored an impressive victory over Nate Campbell on Saturday, but will his win stay in the books?

The 25-year-old Palm Springs native successfully defended his WBO 140-pound title with a one-sided three-round stoppage in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd at the Agua Caliente Casino when Campbell was deemed unable to continue fighting due to a gruesome cut over his left eye.

However, Campbell claims the cut that ended the bout was caused by a headbutt. If the former lightweight titleholder can prove it, Bradley’s technical knockout victory could be erased.

If an accidental foul ends a fight before the completion of the fourth round, the bout is deemed a No Decision, according to the regulations of both the California State Athletic Commission and the Association of Boxing Commission’s Unified Rules, which governed Saturday’s 12-round title bout.

Referee David Mendoza ruled that the cut was the result of a punch.

Campbell (33-6-1, 25 knockouts) and his promoter, Don King, say they will challenge Mendoza’s call.

If they are successful in nullifying Bradley’s victory, it would not be unprecedented in California. James Toney had a third-round technical knockout of Hasim Rahman reversed to a No Decision one week after the heavyweights fought last July in Temecula, Calif.

Like Campbell, Rahman suffered a bad cut over his eye after a difficult third round. The former heavyweight champ told the ringside physician that he couldn’t see and this admission was interpreted as quitting. However, during the commission hearing to review the issue, it was ruled that the heart of the matter was whether Rahman’s cut was caused by a punch or headbutt, not his intentions.

Campbell said a headbutt that occurred during the third round — a stanza dominated by Bradley — produced the jagged inch-long gash through his left eyebrow. Instant replays on Showtime, which televised the bout in the U.S., appear to support the veteran’s claim to an extent.

Bradley’s head clearly collided with Campbell’s eye socket, causing the challenger to back up and wince while complaining to Mendoza. What isn’t clear is whether the deep cut was caused by that particular headbutt or by one of the many flush punches that Bradley landed during the third round.

“Both fighters were headbutting throughout the fight,” Mendoza said. “After the last headbutt that occurred (the one Campbell reacted to) there was no blood. The blood came after a punch. I went with what I saw last.”

As can be expected, Campbell disagrees.

“It was a head butt,” Campbell said. “A cut like this comes from a headbutt. That was no punch. The California commission is wrong. How can they say it was a TKO on national television?

“Bradley said ‘my bad’ when it happened.”

Campbell said he returned to his corner feeling the effect of the headbutt more than the relentless punishment Bradley inflicted with his fists for three minutes.

“As soon as he got back to the corner, Nate told me ‘I can’t see, I got white spots from the headbutt,'” said Campbell’s trainer, John David Jackson. “I was worried for him because if you can’t see, you shouldn’t continue fighting a guy like Bradley.

“I asked Nate if he wanted to continue and he told me, ‘Yes, I want to continue’. The ringside doctor [Howard Baer] came by and Nate told him, ‘I want to fight.’ The doctor just asked him if he could see. Nate told him ‘I can see, but I’m partially blind. I see white spots.’ The doctor told the referee and he stopped the fight right away.”

Bradley (25-0, 12 KOs) didn’t let the controversy over the official result bother him. He was satisfied with his performance and happy that he entertained the crowd of 2,289.

“I’m just doing my job,” he said. “(Campbell) was getting older after every round. I was beating him easily.”

Bradley’s statement sounds arrogant but it’s true.

Campbell was never seriously hurt or off his feet during the fight, but the veteran was thoroughly outworked by the younger, faster, stronger and more-active titleholder.

Bradley, THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight, seems intent on fighting the best fighters in the deep and talented 140-pound division.

Bradley’s next fight might be against undefeated “interim” titleholder Lamont Peterson, but he says if Campbell wants another shot, he’s more than happy to accommodate him.

“Rematch? Easy money,” Bradley said. “I’ll fight him again in a minute.”

In the co-featured bout of the Gary Shaw Productions/Don King-promoted event, Devon Alexander (19-0, 11 KOs) won the vacant WBC 140-pound title when Junior Witter indicated to referee Lou Moret that he could no longer continue after the eighth round of their scheduled 12-round bout.

Witter (37-3-2, 22 KOs) said he injured his left hand during the fight, and the pain prevented him from fully extending his left arm or from getting any power on his left-hand punches.

“I sustained a hairline fracture to my left hand six months ago, and I re-injured it in the fourth round,” Witter said. “The pain moved from my hand to a jolt in my elbow every time I punched. I tried to make adjustments but the pain was too much.”

Witter did not receive much sympathy from the fans, who booed the lack of action during the fight and placed most of the blame of the ugly style matchup on the 35-year-old Englishman. In truth, both fighters were to blame for the awkward nature of the bout.

Alexander is an orthodox southpaw and Witter is a very unorthodox switch-hitter. Both boxers are crafty counter-punchers who don’t like to press forward or waste punches.

One could call what they put forth for eight rounds a “chess match” but only if one of the players is on acid.

That’s how bizarre Witter’s pose-punch-lunge-and-hold style is.

To his credit, Alexander didn’t let it bother him. Although Alexander failed to land any significant punches until a counter left clipped Witter’s chin while the veteran was winding up with his own left in the fifth round, the 22-year-old St. Louis native calmly walked his erratic opponent down, round after round.

Alexander’s poised aggression wasn’t terrible effective but the judges rewarded him for the consistency of his effort. The undefeated new beltholder was ahead by scores of 80-72 and 79-73 (twice) after eight rounds.

On the non-televised undercard, lightweight prospect John Jackson (15-1, 14 KOs) outboxed game Carlos Hernandez (14-8-1, 5 Kos) to a 10-round unanimous decision.

Jackson, of Miami, Fla., dropped Hernandez in the sixth and 10th rounds to clinch a victory by scores of 97-91 (twice) and 97-92, but he had to work hard for his victory. Hernandez, of Indio, Calif., couldn’t match Jackson’s speed and counter-punching ability but he was tough and relentless to the final bell.

Veteran heavyweight spoiler Demetrius King (15-17, 13 KOs) scored an upset by knocking out previously undefeated prospect Bowie Tupou (19-1, 15 KOs) in the second round of their scheduled eight rounder.

King, of Jackson, Mich., dropped Tupou in the first and second rounds, finishing the Tongan off 59 seconds into the second round.

Los Angeles featherweight prospect Abraham Lopez (8-0, 7 KOs) stopped Las Vegas’ Edward Utorov (7-11, 3 KOs) with a brutal liver shot 19 seconds into the opening round of their scheduled six rounder.

Junior middleweight prospect Alberto Herrera (4-0, 3 KOs), of Riverside, Calif., stopped Montana’s John Red Tomahawk (3-5, 3 KOs) in the first round of their scheduled four rounder.

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]

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