BUTT HEAD: WBO junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley inadvertently bumps heads with challenger Nate Campbell in Rancho Mirage last week. Bradley was awarded a third round TKO victory that will in all likelihood be overturned by the California State Athletic Commission.
The Spit BucketCampbell Head Butt A Commission HeadacheTwo world title fights, both stopped short and one that will be appealed with the California State Athletic Commission before you read this article figures to put a black eye on the sport in this state.During the third round of the WBO 140 pound title fight at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort in Rancho Mirage, champion Timothy Bradley and challenger Nate Campbell clashed heads right in front of referee David Mendoza.Campbell, obviously hurt from the butt reeled into the corner and immediately complained to Mendoza who ignored him and allowed for the undefeated Bradley to unleash a barrage of punches.The clash of heads created a gash above Campbell's left eyelid, but even worse he complained after the round that he could not see and was seeing spots out of the eye.Under the California State Athletic Commission rules "Referees shall not permit unfair practices that may cause injuries to a contestant, and are held strictly responsible for the enforcement of the rules. The only fair blow is a blow delivered with the padded knuckle part of the glove on the front or sides of the head and body above the hip line. After sufficient warning has been given the referee shall punish persistent disregard of the rules."Although it was not done with intent, nonetheless it was injurious to the contestant and therefore Mendoza at the very least should have stopped the action and perhaps even called the doctor into the ring.Then as Campbell did after the third round the doctor would have been told the serious nature of the injury and stopped the fight after the third round and the fight would have been ruled a no contest.Awarding Bradley, a gifted undefeated champion, a KO victory under such circumstances is ridiculous. Mendoza's vision was worse than Bradley's after the head butt, if he could not see what the television replays documented over and over.Mendoza's response was "They were both butting each other all night," well then why didn't you break them up and warn both of them? Campbell could lose his eyesight because of this, forget about the fight.Two problems I have had with boxing in my home state: One the taxes are so high that promoters can not afford to bring the great fights here regularly; Second the judges and referees are not as competent as judges and referees in say Nevada.Mendoza is clear proof of the ineptness of the referees. He seemed to be in there waltzing and not enforcing the rules.The head butt should have been called immediately, regardless of how impressive Bradley was or how unimpressive Campbell was.Campbell's promoter Don King was irate after the fight and while he and Campbell vehemently complained to officials the decision was not overturned.Now, King and Campbell will take their fight to the commission, on a matter that should have been decided by one of their own employees Mr. Mendoza.It's not fair to the fighters, the fans or anyone else for that matter.In the meantime, boxing after all what it has endured during the past few weeks outside the ring, suffers another giant sized headache inside of it.But this time it had little to do with the fighters and everything to do with referee Mendoza, and it's up to the commission to get this one right. It is a no brainer.