This afternoon at 3 p.m., two local boxers are hoping to secure evidence to prove they were victims of an unfair ruling that cost them either a victory or at the bare minimum a draw. Bad decisions adversely affect the careers of Armando Tovar (now 2-1, 2 KOs) from San Diego’s House of Boxing and Jose Toribio (now 6-3, 1 KO) from The Arena in Point Loma. On the evening of February 26, 2016, at the Borizteca Boxing Management Group’s show at the Salon Mezzanine in Tijuana, the referees in question were out of position to make the proper call.
At first, the boxers weren’t sure whether they could challenge the ruling and felt a protest might do more harm than good. Over the years, decisions in a boxing match have become almost sacrosanct. Mistakes happen and it’s not always the combatants who are to blame. It happens in every sport. An umpire can miss a fastball in the strike zone; a sideline judge can call a wide-receiver out of bounds, while in fact the toe of his shoes touched down just inside the sideline. The judge or referee was simply out of position to make the right call.
The welterweight contest between Armando Tovar and Alejandro Castaneda
For weeks, Armando Tovar trained long and hard and sacrificed much to get ready for his match against Alejamdro Castaneda. Then, on fight night, Castaneda caught Tovar with a punch to the back of his head, normally referred to as a rabbit punch. Tovar lost his balance and fell backwards to the canvas. It is what many refer to as a flash knockdown. Within seconds, Tovar had himself kneeling on one knee to await the referee’s 10-count. Before the referee, Juan Manuel Morales Lee could get to Tovar, his opponent, Castaneda, now standing over him with his back to Lee, kept swinging at Tovar while Tovar was still down on the canvas. This reporter can testify that he saw Tovar get hit at least once while he was down and since Castenada swung twice more, he may have hit Tovar multiple times before the referee could stop Castenada.
Hitting someone while they are down is normally a grievous offense in the sport of boxing. From the photo taken by this reporter, it shows Castaneda swinging at Tovar at least once while he was down which strangely enough was overlooked by the referee Juan Manuel Morales Lee. An infraction like this is not an accident and it certainly requires more than a warning. Normally, the offending boxer is severely reprimanded and a point is deducted. Note well, there is a TV cameraman positioned on the opposite side with aneven better view of what happened. It’s more than just a possibility that he captured this whole sequence for the TV audience. At 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 26, that fight, in its entirety, is to be aired on TV and the internet. Here is the information provided by the show’s co-promoter Saul Rios, the CEO of the Borizteca Boxing Management Group who always seems to go the extra mile to make certain everyone gets a fair shake.
The facts are the facts and in the past, decisions have been overturned after the referee or head of officials later discover a serious cut was caused by a head butt rather than a punch. In the case of Joe Vargas’ boxer, Jose Toribio, he is seeking to have Toribio’s decision overturned and is hoping to end up with a No Contest call or a Technical Draw.
A technical decision is a term used in boxing when a fight has to be stopped because of a headbutt. In boxing matches, referees have to pay strict attention to the action going on between the fighters, especially when the two combatants are fighting in close quarters. This is because, if a serious cut occurs, the referee must decide whether that cut was caused by a punch or by a head collision. Only the referee can make that decision.
Most head collisions in boxing are thought to be unintentional, especially when both boxers are going all out for a knockout; they often get involved in close range fights. If a boxer intentionally butts an opponent’s head, this is considered a flagrant foul that could result in disqualification of the offender.
In the case of a cut to the head, it is the referee’s responsibility to stop the fight and immediately take the injured boxer to the attending physician as many times as the referee deems necessary, regardless of the referee’s decision on the cut being provoked by a punch or not. When the doctor tells the referee that the combatant cannot go on, then the referee must stop the fight. If the referee decides the cut was caused by a punch, then the other boxer wins by a technical knockout. If the referee decides it was produced by a collision, then the judges at ringside must hand over their scorecards, and the fighter ahead on points wins by a technical decision.
But there are also distinct rules for a fight to be decided on a technical decision as well, because fights must go beyond the fourth round for any fighter to be declared a winner by a technical decision. Some federations require the fight to be in the fourth round, while other federations and most championship fights require the fight to be at least past the halfway point (five rounds for a 10-round match, six rounds for a 12-round match). If a fight has to be stopped because of a headbutt without reaching the required distance, these are automatically declared a technical draw. Generally speaking, every country where boxing is practiced accepts the four round must or halfway distance as the right distance for a fight to be won or lost by a technical decision. This particular fight was stopped at the 1:05 point of round three of a scheduled six rounder.
So it is possible that Toribio could earn himself a victory over Vazquez because he was ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Again, with the help of the video from the fight, the officials should be able to determine whether the referee for this match, Fernando Renteria, was either in position or not in position to rule on the cause of the gash which caused the stoppage of the fight. The only way we can collaborate that opinion would be to see the gash appear immediately following either a punch thrown by Vazquez and immediately following his headbutt. That’s all the evidence anyone would need. If the cut was caused by an unintentional headbutt and not a punch, then the officials would have stopped the fight and the winner would have been determined by which boxer was ahead on the scorecards at the time of that stoppage. If the latter were to happen, most people would agree Toribio was ahead on the scorecards and would have been declared the winner.
Once the evidence has been obtained, both Tovar and Toribio, along with their managers can go before the Tijuana Boxing Commission and ask for a redress. Since it’s always best to proceed in a calm, orderly fashion and since Tovar is so even-tempered to the point of being unflappable, too polite, it might be best that his manager Carlos Barragan Jr. do the complaining about this egregious foul.
As of right now, we as fans can only wait and see if this matter gets resolved. Once again, today’s “Boxing Show” which includes the Tovar versus Castaneda fight is set to air at 3 p.m. PCT on Bereavision TV and on the Internet while the Toribio match will likely be broadcast at a later date.