Sharkie's Machine with Photos: Tim Bradley Awarded TKO 3 Win over Nate Campbell that should’ve been a '‘No Contest'
By Frank Gonzalez Jr. exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (Aug 3, 2009) All Photos © German Villasenor, DHB  
Saturday night at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage California, WBO Light Welterweight titlist Tim Bradley (24-0, 11 KO’s) retained his title in most controversial fashion, after he faced former Lightweight Titlist and the WBO’s number one ranked contender, Nate Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KO’s) in Bradley’s backyard.

They started at a fairly fast pace, with both guys feeling each other out and trying to establish control of the tempo. Bradley was the busier man but his punches were not consistent. Campbell landed less often but the more effective shots in the first round, though Bradley threw more. Bradley also missed often, and when he did land, Nate hardly noticed.

In the second round, Campbell landed a short right and Bradley answered with a barrage of shots that were mostly blocked. Campbell landed an uppercut. Bradley was less effective but was the busier man. Campbell definitely looked to be a step slower than he’s been in previous fights.

The first three rounds were fairly uneventful, except for the controversial head butt, initiated by Tim Bradley in the latter part of the third round. Bradley tends to move forward, head first on offense. After Bradley “scored” the head butt that caused a cut over Campbell ’s left eye, Campbell motioned to the referee, David Mendoza. But Mendoza ignored Campbell and let the action continue. I thought the referee’s primary function was to protect the fighters and enforce the rules?

Bradley kept on punching and one of his punches grazed the area where the head butt occurred. At the end of the round, Campbell ’s eye was bloody and he complained that he couldn’t see out of the eye and was, “seeing spots.” The ringside doctor looked at Campbell ’s cut eye and after hearing Campbell ’s complaint about his lack of vision, waved the fight off. Campbell expected this to be ruled a ‘No Contest,’ as the rules are clear in this situation.

Tim Bradley jumped up onto the ring ropes to celebrate the victory. His hometown fans were ecstatic. But—according to the rules, if an accidental head butt occurs before four rounds are complete, the fight is stopped and is ruled a No Decision. If it happens after four rounds, they go to the scorecards. But that would not be the case Saturday night after three rounds in Agua Caliente.

Campbell labored under the misconception that a ‘No Contest’ means a rematch is scheduled. But Campbell was irate to see that the fight was given to Bradley via TKO. Campbell protested the decision, citing the rules.

It may just be my opinion but it sure feels like the hometown fighters too often get the benefit of the doubt whenever something goes awry. This was some home cooking that burned the rules and Campbell, who argued loudly as he challenged the referee and the ringside officials about the call. Things got heated as Bradley was being interviewed by Jim Grey and Campbell came over and interjected, saying that Bradley knows the rule here. Clearly Tim Bradley was the favorite in his hometown, and the rule would not apply.

With all the agitation, Grey asked Campbell to wait a moment to be interviewed and asked Bradley what he thought about the ruling. Bradley’s promoter Gary Shaw was standing next to him and Bradley said all the ‘right’ things. As Grey moved over to Campbell, who stated the rule on this situation, Grey paused him and asked both promoters, who stood by their charges, if they were willing to have a rematch. Don King, Campbell ’s promoter said “Yes, we want a rematch.” Gary Shaw engaged in some double talk, saying, “Yes, so long as Showtime will buy the fight for the right price.” Translation: No, we do not want a rematch.

Shaw is the same promoter who wouldn’t let Vic Darchinyan fight a rematch against Nonito Donaire after losing to Donaire by KO, citing some nonsense about Donaire’s lack of loyalty. Loyalty to who, Shaw?

Neither the referee nor the commission did their job in California , since the only proper call would be a ‘No Decision’ judgment. The instant reply showed clearly that Campbell was head butted before the end of the third round and that no punch thrown by Bradley had caused the damage to Campbell ’s left eye. The fight was ruled a Win for Bradley by TKO in three.

This is a DISGRACE!

How many times can boxing cheat its fighters out of what is right and get away with it? There is no rule that can’t be broken and no one ever seems accountable for any of the shenanigans that give boxing that “bottom of the barrel” image in the world of sports. Even Don King, who is no angel, said, “This is what’s killing our audience.”

Campbell expressed that he didn’t blame Bradley for the decision, since Bradley just did what he’s supposed to do as a fighter. But it was to no avail that Campbell made his case. The California Commission had already given the fight to Bradley and that…was that.

Arguments can be made that maybe Campbell didn’t want to continue and decided to massage the rules so he wouldn’t have to go 12 rounds with blood dripping into his eye. There was clearly a head butt and a resulting injury. We all know Campbell is a warrior, the Galaxxy Warrior in fact. But Campbell sure seemed able to see well enough as he made his way around the ring, arguing his case after seeing the fight was given to Bradley.

It’s not Bradley’s fault that his hometown officials made this ridiculous call. But as a pro athlete who certainly knows the rules, he would have to admit, when asked, that this was the wrong call. Bradley made no such admission. Instead he said that Campbell was aging faster in each round and was going to lose anyway.

It is unlikely that we’ll ever see Bradley vs. Campbell II, since Campbell is no favorite of the “boxing establishment” and Bradley is. The only way to right this wrong is to set up a date for a rematch. Nate Campbell is a dangerous opponent, even at 37 years of age. So don’t hold your breath.

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