Pagara-Meraz was no Chavez-Taylor

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


IN THE aftermath of Pinoy Pride 26, I received several queries on whether I thought the stoppage in the Jason Pagara-Mario Meraz fight was premature.

I had to check the replay carefully and I would have to say it might have been a tad early, but I really don’t have any problem with the stoppage.

Meraz went down in rounds 1 and 4, and though he also landed his share of heavy shots, I don’t see how he could have won that fight, anyway.

CHICKEN NECK. When he got knocked down in round 4, Meraz exhibited what is termed in boxing as the “chicken neck” syndrome.

Basically, it’s when a boxer gets hit with a heavy shot and his head bobs up and down as if his neck could not support it anymore, which is indicative of a possible concussion.

Meraz showed that when Pagara (34-2, 21 KOs) landed a combination just before the stoppage. Though he was fully conscious and responsive when referee Danrex Tapdasan asked him if he was okay, he was a bit slow in stepping forward, which probably prompted Tapdasan to call for the denouement of the fight.

Some of my friends who were at ringside explained that they were engrossed and entertained by the two-way action that they were not quite prepared for the fight to be stopped at that point.

That probably explains the sentiment re the premature stoppage, but we have to remember that the referee is there also to protect the health of both fighters and balance it with the crowd’s demand for exciting action.

Again, I would agree that it’s a tad premature and he could have let it go some more, but I don’t have any problem with the stoppage as he was in the best position to observe the demeanor of the losing fighter.

TAYLOR VS. CHAVEZ. This subject brings to mind a fight which is labeled as the arguably the most controversial stoppage in boxing history.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Meldrick Taylor 1.

Back in 1990, Julio Cesar Chavez was undefeated in 68 fights . He was up against the talented Meldirck Taylor for the WBC and IBF junior welterweight diadems.

The faster Taylor was outboxing and outpointing Chavez for the first 11 rounds of the fight. Chavez was his usual brutal, bruising self, bringing the fight to Taylor, punishing him with hooks and body shots.

But because of Taylor’s speed and eye catching combinations, it seemed as if Taylor would run away with the decision and end Chavez’ unbeaten streak.

In the 12th round, Chavez poured it on and Taylor unwisely traded with him in the center of the ring. Taylor’s eyes were almost closed but he exchanged wicked combinations with the “Lion of Culiacan”

Then it happened.

Chavez caught him with a right with about 20 seconds to go. He followed it up with another booming right hand as he trapped the fading Taylor in the corner.

Taylor went down with 14 seconds left. Referee Richard Steele administers the count and Taylor gets up at 7. Steele then asks Taylor if he was okay, but a second later, without seemingly waiting for Taylor’s response, Steele waives it off with only 2 seconds left in the fight!

Taylor’s trainer Lou Duva would go ballistic and the ringside commentator would call it “one of the most unusual calls by a referee in the whole history of the sport.”

Watch the fight again on YouTube and decide for yourself if Steele did the right thing.

The two would meet up again four years later, but this time around, there would be no controversy as Chavez scored a TKO in the 8th round.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on my mother-in-law, former Municipal Mayor of Dapa, Surigao Del Norte, Alma G. Navarro, and my law office partner, Atty. Melanie Zosa-Tan, who both recently celebrated their birthdays. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 25, 2014.

Sports

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