Boxing is no stranger to bizarre moments and bizarre endings. What happened this past weekend in Inglewood certainly raises some eyebrows. Initially, in live speed, it looked like a legitimate knockout. Upon closer scrutiny, it appears to reak of something foul. When something this suspicious it raises a ton of questions. Specifically, Saturday night where the timing was so strange.
This is certainly not unchartered territory for boxing, suspicious endings come with the territory. Bruce Seldon got hit once flush by Tyson in the early going didn’t like it much. The next time the fighters got close Seldon went down without being hit. Referee Richard Steele was going to rule it a slip because the punched missed but Seldon responded like he was in so much pain he thought he must have missed a punch. Seldon got up Tyson missed another big shot and Seldon took yet another dive this time for the count. In the post-fight interview, Jim Gray even asked Seldon if he “took a dive” Seldon said he “didn’t train for 12 weeks to take a dive”. There was the night that Andrew Golota unexpectedly quit against Tyson between the second and third round… Golota was doing ok flicking a jab when Iron Mike landed a big right that dropped the Polish heavyweight right before the bell to end round 1. Golota got to his feet seemed fine. Retreated to his corner and performed ok in the second round without really getting in any trouble at all. Then refused to answer the bell to start round 3. Lou Duva and his corner protested and demanded their man go out there to no avail. Who can forget this gem against an unknown Mark young? Mike Tyson swung so hard and missed that the force of his miss sent Young flying across the ring and flailing face down and out. Young responded to the missed shot the same way Pacquiao responded to the Marquez right-hand completely motionless on the ground.
Speaking of the legendary Juan Manuel Marquez his knockout over Colombian Likar Ramos seemed fishy beyond belief. A first-round knockout with one shot that didn’t land that cleanly. Ramos a veteran who had been in the ring with the likes of Jorge Solis and Angel Granados had certainly eaten much better shots than what Marquez caught him with, but for some reason this glancing shot sent him flying across the ring and rendered the Colombian unconscious with his eyes closed. There was the night that Kermit Cintron was doing well and even ahead on one of the scorecards against heavily favored Paul Williams when the two got tangled up and Kermit Cintron seemingly jumped out of the ring and hurt his shoulder bringing the bout to a premature halt.
It’s not often you see someone gets viciously knocked out by a jab, but that’s what happened in HBO ‘s main event this past weekend. With the vacant WBA welterweight crown on the line between fan favorite Lucas Matthysse and mostly unknown Thai fighter Tewa Kiram. For the fight itself, it wasn’t very interesting it featured more holding then boxing, but the unknown Kiram was hanging right in there with the favored Matthysse. He certainly wasn’t being outclassed, as a matter of fact, Kiram was up on one of the scorecards. Things got weird in Kiram’s corner who was in possession of a smelling substance in a small jar and before round 6, Kiram was caught sniffing the small jar, and the California State Athletic Commission confiscated it. The commission later confirmed that Kiram was sniffing Tiger Balm.
By the 8th round, Matthysse scored a 1-2 to put Kiram down, and the jab did most of the damage. At full speed, it looked like the right hand did the job, but upon further review, it just glanced Kiram and the jab is what put him down. It appeared to the viewing audience that Kiram had been brutally knocked out but he managed to get up from the jab that floored him and continued on. Less than a minute later, Matthysse floored Kiram with a jab, with such a delayed reaction no one really knew what happened. Matthysse landed a jab Kiram fired back a short shot that missed, Mathysse tried to follow up with a big right that missed and then Kiram fell down and was out cold. Causing the referee to stop the fight immediately. Kiram dropped to the canvas and was sprawled on his back, from a jab that he tried to counter.
Following the shot HBO announcer Max Kellerman asked “Sometimes there’s a delayed reaction knockdown. That is the biggest delay I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen a delay that long. It was so delayed that it’s reasonable to question whether Kiram was looking for a place to fall down, at that point.”
The delay was interesting, add the fact that when he did go down, he was so hurt and motionless both times. At first look the first knockdown seemed legit, it appeared that Matthysse landed a jab and a big right, after reviewing this several more times the right was glancing and the Thai fighter was on his way down. The way he went down looked as if he had been hit by an 18-wheeler but somehow got to his feet. Shortly thereafter he got caught with another jab that put him down and out and left him motionless as if a prime Mike Tyson unleashed a brutal three punch combination on the welterweight. But in reality, it was a single jab by a smallish but heavy-handed 147 pounder.
Something isn’t right about how this fight ended, the two jabs and the glancing right could not have had this much damage. The idea that he got to his feet after the first knockdown was still hurt and didn’t have his equilibrium and the jab sent him down the second time. Is both illogical and inaccurate, based on the fact that the right hand that looked like it landed flush actually didn’t land cleanly at all. So he couldn’t have been that hurt. The second knockdown was as bizarre as anything I had seen in the sport in recent years. But, why would Kiram take a dive? He was doing well, better than expected, he was even up on one scorecard. He wasn’t eating a ton of heavy leather form the iron-fisted Matthysse. The mostly unknown Kiram probably will never get another chance to fight for a welterweight world title again. He will probably never get the chance to fight on HBO or a major US televised event ever again. So what did he have to gain? This fight marked a culmination of his career work as a professional fighter and winning the fight was not out of the realm of possibility. A win would have garnered him not only a belt but additional big dollar fights in the talent-heavy, glamorous welterweight division. So why would Kiram take a dive? Was he psychologically out of it after losing his Tiger Balm? Did he think he couldn’t stand in for 4 more rounds and say “Ah forget I don’t want to quit on my stool so I’ll just take a flop of like an NBA player trying to pick up a charging foul?” Did he bet on himself somewhere? That would seem to make sense, it would have just met the under if he had taken Matthysse on the under and was paid off to do so, he would have just made it. Was he paid off enough to make it worth his wild? If so why did he get up after the first knockdown which appeared live speed to flatten him? Which landed on cue right as Lampley was saying the fight as dreadful and the heavy-handed Matthysse wasn’t able to hurt Kiram. Under closer scrutiny, there are way more questions than answers. Will there be an investigation by the California State Athletic Commission to try and figure out exactly what happened and supply the conspiracy theorists with some answers? Probably not, most likely nothing ever will be done and it will just be another black eye and another opportunity for conspiracy theorists and haters to say “see boxing is a joke, it’s fixed!” These endings are always a black eye for our sport.