Are television fight cards so desperate to air a title fight that they'd settle for half a title fight rather than none?
You bet they would!
It happened in the main event on the ESPN2 telecast Friday night. The fight between Golden Johnson and Teddy Reid was supposed to be for the vacant NABF junior welterweight title. The weight limit for junior welterweights is 140-pounds. Both fighters must weigh that or less at the official weigh-in the day before the fight.
At the weigh-in, Reid weighed 142 and Johnson did even worse, coming in at 150-pounds, which was even over the welterweight limit of 147. Johnson was into the junior middleweight class.
That right there amazes me because the fighters knew what they had to weigh and when the weigh-in was set to take place, so they should have been ready. The officials should have made the fight an over-the-weight, non-title fight. But they didn't. Instead, they gave the fighters more time to lose the weight, knowing full well that while Reid could shed two pounds in a short time, Johnson had no chance to dump 10 pounds and make the weight.
Sure enough, Reid managed to get down to 140 at the second weigh-in while Johnson shed only one-half a pound so they decided to call it a half a title fight. The ringside announcers said that if Reid were to win the fight he would get the title but if Johnson won he would not!
Honest, I'm not making this up ... That was the decision officials made. I should note that the fight took place at the Soaring Eagle casino in Michigan, so this was not a Nevada decision.
The fight itself was a good one, with plenty of leather flying and lots of action. It went to a decision and Johnson, with his 10-pound advantage, won the decision, and the title remains still vacant, I presume. So Reid gets nothing but a loss and may fight for that title again, while Johnson gets a win but no title!
- I do want to say that this Friday's ESPN2 live card has a dandy of a main event scheduled. In what should be a war, undefeated Tony Ayala (27-0, 24 KOs) fights Yory Boy Campas (74-4, 63 KOs) to headline a card that begins at 6 p.m.
- MORE WEIRD STUFF - Top ranked heavyweight contender David Tua fought last Friday night at the Regent in Las Vegas and had an easy time against over-the-hill Robert Daniels but this was not the strange fight on that card on the Showtime telecast.
Tua (37-1, 32 KOs) outweighed the former cruiserweight (190-pound limit) champ Daniels by 24 pounds (243-219). Furthermore, Daniels (39-5-1, 32 KOs) didn't come to fight. He started the fight going backwards and covering up. Tua took advantage of that and floored Daniels just 37-seconds into the fight.
Daniels was down again in round two and was down and out at the 47-second mark of round three as Tua took an easy win to stay on track for a world title shot against champ Lennox Lewis in November.
The weird stuff took place in the first fight on the telecast. Heavyweights Lance "Mount" Whitaker (21-1, 18 KOs) and "Dangerous" David Dixon (21-4-2, 19 KOs) were set for 10 rounds with Richard Steele as the referee.
The two went right at it from the word go and one minute into the fight, Dixon hit Whitaker low and received a warning from Steele. Whitaker retaliated with a low shot of his own that put Dixon down, but the inept Steele didn't see it and called it a knockdown. Dixon wasn't happy about that and promptly hit Whitaker with another low blow and again was warned by Steele.
Next, Dixon slipped to the canvas when he missed a punch but Steele must have missed that, too, because he called that a knockdown. A very mad Dixon then whacked Whitaker with another low shot and was disqualified by Steele right then and there!
Official time was 2:51 of round one. Afterward, ringside commentators, Bobby Czyz and Steve Albert, tore Steele apart as all the replays were shown in slow motion. It was obvious Steele blew the fight!
When they tried to interview Steele after the bout, Nevada State Athletic Commission Secretary Marc Ratner refused to let Steele be interviewed and the ringside commentators tore him apart for that move.
We'll see what follows, but I doubt the commission will do anything - except to hope this goes away ...
- This Saturday night Caesars Tahoe in Stateline has a live pro fight card with a new main event. Nestor Garza was originally set for the main but he broke two ribs in training and is out. The new main has Jorge Eliecer (42-2, 31 KOs) taking on Israel Vazquez (21-2, 17 KOs) and the semi-main has Julio Gonzalez (23-0, 16 KOs) fighting Manuel Verde (15-2, 14 KOs) for the Mexican light heavyweight (175-limit) title.
Action starts at 7:15 p.m. Tickets start at $25 for general admission and are available at any Ticketmaster outlet or at Caesars Tahoe.
- Last Saturday night in Miami, Felix Trinidad had an easy time against somebody you never heard of. Trinidad (38-0, 31 KOs) knocked out unknown French fighter Mamadou Thiam at 2:48 of round three in a one-sided slaughter that did nothing for Trinidad but build up his record. The fight was shown on HBO.
Alan Rogers is the Nevada Appeal boxing writer.