By Tim Nielson: Jessie Vargas’ trainer Erik Morales isn’t happy about last night’s controversial ending of Vargas’ fight against Tim Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Moments after Vargas had hurt Bradley with a scorching right hand late in the 12th round, referee Pat Russell stepped in between the two fighters and ended the fight a full 10 seconds before it should have ended.
The premature stoppage of the fight robbed Vargas from the chance of finishing off a badly hurt Bradley. Vargas had Bradley so hurt that he could have ended it if he landed another right hand to the head. After the right, Russell said that he thought he had heard the final bell clang, and that he’d had a hard time hearing because of all the noise.
At the time the noise level was quite high due to the fans being excited about Vargas having hurt Bradley, and that contributed to Russell’s hearing problems.
“It was a bad decision and the referee made a big mistake,” Morales said as quoted by Fight News. “The referee is the only person who can stop the fight in the ring. When Jesse hurt him, the referee stopped the fight. He said he got confused and made a bad decision but that’s not our problem.”
Morales is not happy that his fighter had to pay for the mistake of the referee Pat Russell. Morales didn’t say what he wants, but it’s reasonable to assume that he wants a rematch ordered by the World Boxing Organization if Bradley’s promoters at Top Rank choose not to agree to give Vargas an immediate rematch. Their mutual promoter Bob Arum wouldn’t commit to the rematch, saying only “Maybe,” when asked if there would be a rematch between the two fighters.
You can understand Arum’s reluctance to put them back in together, because he can make more money matching Bradley against other fighters like Gennady Golovkin, Brandon Rios and Kell Brook than he can for putting him back in with Vargas. The money just isn’t there for a rematch, and it’s unlikely that HBO would agree to show the fight again.
“It was very loud in that 12th round and I thought I heard the bell and the fight was over when the bell went off,” Russell said via ESPN.com.
When mistakes like this are made it’s up to the sanctioning bodies and state athletic commission to order a rematch. Without them stepping in to order a rematch, it’s unlikely that Bradley will elect to face Vargas again. It’s not that he wouldn’t want to correct the problem. The issue is that the money is better for Bradley to fight other guys than to fight Vargas again. The fact is the fight was very boring up until Vargas hurt Bradley. It wasn’t boring because of Bradley. It was boring because of how little Vargas did in the fight. He was outworked in every round. Bradley won the fight by the scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-112. That’s pretty one-sided.
“If it’s his problem, it’s his mistake,” Morales said. “Why do we have to pay for it? It was an even and difficult fight. Inside the ring there can’t be two decisions, that the fight is stopped and then they are going to the scorecards. It’s not right.”