Thursday, December 01, 2022  |


Bradley-Campbell: More evidence that boxing needs instant replay


The ending of the Timothy Bradley-Nate Campbell fight left me disgusted and thinking the same thing I’ve thought so many times in the past: Boxing needs instant replay. And I know I’m not alone.

Referee David Mendoza almost certainly erred when he somehow ruled that a cut over Campbell’s left eye was caused by a punch and not a head butt, thus giving Bradley a dubious TKO victory after three rounds.

Replays in the arena and on television showed clearly that the cut was caused by an accidental butt, which means the fight should’ve been ruled a No Decision because it occurred within four rounds.

Thus, almost everyone who watched the fight knew exactly what the ruling should’ve been but California State Athletic Commission officials — including Mendoza — were powerless to make it because only New Jersey allows the use of instant replay.

The result is a bogus victory on Bradley’s record, an undeserved loss on Campbell’s and a lot of frustrated people.

Now, if the Athletic Commission officials decide to pursue it, they can still review the replay and change the result at a later date. Or the WBO, which sanctioned the bout, could order an immediate rematch because of the controversy.

However, they wouldn’t have to clean up this mess at all if they used instant replay. It would’ve been resolved on the spot.

To reiterate what I’ve written in the past, I think the powers that be must use caution in implementing instant replay to resolve such issues.

New Jersey — which has never used it in a boxing match — allows for instant-replay reviews of six issues: knockdowns vs. slips; accidental vs. intentional fouls; whether cuts are the result of legal punches; whether fighters beat the count; low blows; and whether punches land before or after the bell.

That’s a good foundation on which to build any instant replay policy. However, the state also allows up to three minutes between rounds to review a referee’s decision. Bad idea. That would change the nature of the sport, which allows fighters to rest only one minute between rounds.

And there are other issues that would have to be worked out for instant replay to be effective in boxing.

On Saturday, there would’ve been no issues whatsoever because the fight was over. All the officials had to do was watch the replay and then make the correct ruling.

And then everyone wins, even Bradley, whose victory is sullied by the debacle.

The point here is that instant replay works in other sports. Why not boxing? Why not get it right if you can? It wouldn’t even cost anyone a significant amount of money; replays are already seen on numerous screens at ringside.

The alternative is what we got on Saturday — confusion, frustration and disgust.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]