by Cliff Rold
Take a cup of the Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota I melee. Mix it with a dash of the post-fight ugliness of Marvin Hagler-Alan Minter. Dilute it down to the worst of both.
The recipe delivers what happened on Friday night following the Jr. Flyweight brawl in Argentina between national Luis Lazarte (49-11-2, 18 KO) and visiting Filipino Johnriel Casimero (16-2, 10 KO). Casimero won by tenth round stoppage and then had a new fight on his hands.
It was boxing’s lowest moment in years.
It might have been the sport’s dirtiest fight since a foul affair between Daisuke Naito and Daiki Kameda in 2007 ended with Kameda barred from the sport for a year.
Word first spread as results trickled out. The riot scene soon could be found on YouTube, followed by the full fight. Here is a summary of the events.
It started out with the ceremony of many fights. There were ring walks and fan enthusiasm for a local favorite. With the sound of drums echoing around the Club Once Unidos in Buenos Aires, referee Eddie Claudio gave spirited instructions to both men at mid-ring.
The bell sounded for round one.
Casimero sought to box while Lazarte looked for spots to press. The first round evolved with both men swinging wild power shots. Lazarte could be seen leading with his head once early but it was a wild shot that reached around and hit Casimero in the middle of the back that stood out among rough patches when they got close. A clash of heads brought on a brief pause; Claudio ruled it accidental.
Lazarte rushed out at the bell for the second with frenzy and was immediately warned for leading with his head. In close, he held and hit Casimero in the back again. Casmiero pretended at a jab in spots but loaded bombs from both was more the norm. Lazarte responded to a Casimero left hook with a left below the hip and another upstairs as the bout’s street fight feel grew entrenched.
The foul tally grew in the third. Lazarte blasted Casimero with a right on a hard break and the Filipino went down, perhaps with a little dramatic flair. Claudio again cautioned both men and warned Lazarte about his head.
In the fourth, it was a warning to Casimero for holding and to Lazarte for hitting behind the head in combination. A low blow landed for Lazarte near the corner. Casimero would answer just below the belt before the round was over and Lazarte would reply again in kind. Another warning came from Claudio to Lazarte, this time to keep them up. Both men tangled towards the floor and Lazarte appeared to try to tackle the ankles of Casimero at the end of the sequence. Casimero lost a point for pushing (though replays showed no push) and caught Lazarte behind the head twice along the ropes before the bell.
Between fouls, both men were landing some hard, clean shots in the furiously paced affair. Lazarte scored a knockdown without one seconds into the fifth. Lunging with a right as Casimero lost his feet near the ropes, Claudio ruled a clean drop and dished a mandatory eight. Replays showed no landed blow. Action was halted in the final minute when Casimero was caught with a ruled accidental butt. No cut resulted.
Lazarte finally lost a point in the sixth for hitting behind the head after drawing a harsh, lengthy warning for fouls earlier in the round. In between, he landed a hefty cup shot. Lazarte drew another warning for holding and hitting early in the seventh while landing four questionable shots around the beltline in the first minute. Casimero drew a holding warning as well and was guilty of pushing off to the face. Both men mixed in rabbit punches, more from Lazarte, and Casimero also managed a clean left uppercut. What legitimate boxing occurred favored the Filipino.
As a coup de grace for the seventh, replays showed Lazarte lightly biting the shoulder of Casimero on his way back the corner at round’s end. Claudio didn’t see it and it wasn’t hard enough to draw reaction from Casimero. The intent was still there.
The point deduction pendulum swung to Casimero again in the eighth, the Filipino losing ground for hitting behind the head, two hard rights landing where planned. The round was a clinic of holding and hitting from jump. A pair of uppercuts in the final minute allowed the challenger to make a case for winning the round despite losing a point.
Yet another clash of heads sent both men to the neutral corner, woozy, early in the ninth. Lazarte appeared the more dazed combatant. Lazarte drew a warning for holding and hitting shortly after action resumed. Casimero would follow a nice right hand with a sneaky uppercut while holding Lazarte in a headlock. Locked in close quarters again, Casimero exploded with what would be the fight changing assault.
Responding to a rabbit punch with one of his own, Casimero rocked Lazarte, and then it was two clean right hands and a sharp left to the chin to drop Lazarte to the floor. Lazarte rose quickly and tapped the back of his head with his right glove. Claudio ignored the plea as he motioned him back to action. Casimero rushed in with a two-fisted string of uppercuts to and a final right to send Lazarte onto all fours for the second knockdown. Lazarte rose at five and walked on noodle legs to his corner at the bell.
His senses still lost to him, Lazarte rose from his stool at the bell for the tenth seemingly struggling to walk in a straight line. With Lazarte roaming to the neutral corner, Casimero rushed and Claudio leapt in before a punch could be landed. When action resumed, Casimero landed a right partly behind the head of a ducking Lazarte and missed with a left as well. Lazarte went to a knee and Claudio ruled a knockdown.
Lazarte beat the count but could do little besides hope to body his way through. Casimero tried to finish and Lazarte fell into him, making his second tackle attempt on the way down. Casimero stayed up and was waiting as Lazarte came forward. A left hook and left uppercut hurt Lazarte and Casimero pulled back waiting for Lazarte’s defenses to drop. A measured right sent Lazarte’s head jerking back and trash flew into the ring as a final right hand drew Claudio in to stop the fight.
Having survived and won to capture an interim IBF 108 lb. belt, Casimero erupted into celebration. He rushed to his corner, dropping to his knees, before rising and falling into an embrace from his corner. More trash was coming into the ring. Stepping onto a corner to celebrate, Casimero’s corner could be seen pulling their man down with caution in their eyes.
It would soon be outright fear. Huddling around Casimero at ring center, trash became flying chairs from the mob. The chaos would become hard to follow. A bottle struck the head of a Casimero cornerman. Someone from Lazarte’s corner with a shirt reading what looked like “Camioneros 100% Peronistas” can be seen entering the ring ready to attack. He did just that, sucker punching a Casimero cornerman, appearing to try to attack the much smaller victor, pushing off a flying chair and settling for sucker assaults on more of Casimero’s men.
Their red shirts made them easy targets. Many words could describe whomever this as yet unidentified individual was. Belligerent asshole is most fitting on this occasion. He should be banned from ever being near ringside again.
Members of the crowd were trying to join him in the stink, one seen falling over the top rope from the outside as he took a swipe. The chairs were piling up as Casimero ducked and looked for cover, he and his corner fleeing for their lives as fights broke out all around them. What security there was did their best to push volatile bodies away and avoid a chair for their own trouble.
All together, the riot lasted only minutes but it surely felt longer to live through it. Casimero cornerman Sean Gibbons, who was probably the man seen attacked in lieu of Casimero as described above, took the worst of it but was not alone in injury.
BoxingScene’s Rick Reeno reported Saturday that Gibbons, “was beaten badly, getting cracked to the jaw, kicked in the head several times and possibly suffering broken ribs. Casimero was cracked over the head with a chair. He suffering minor injuries, as did his trainers. The crowd tried to pull Casimero out of the ring, but they were thwarted by a guard who pulled him under the ring to hide him from the crowd - and even referee Eddie Claudio was sent to the hospital to receive stitches to his mouth after catching a chair shot from the rioting crowd. Numerous other injuries were reported.”
It was a disgrace sure to follow boxing as viewings multiply.
Having witnessed similar foul behavior from the 40-year old Lazarte before, particularly in his first fight with Ulises Solis, never might be too soon to see the gloved thug again. He can take his corner and fans with him.
Casimero, at age 21, takes his biggest win and worst night as a professional back to the Phillipines. He was not innocent on the night but, in the ring, sometimes fire requires fire. For the first two rounds, he tried to keep it clean. Lazarte doesn’t do clean. Eventually, Casimero grew into what the bout required and found the right temperature before night’s end.
Lazarte started it. Casimero finished him.
Report Card Picks 2012: 3-1
Bantamweight: Abner Mares has vacated his IBF belt but remains rated for the time being while his future course is plotted.
Jr. Bantamweight: Juan Carlos Sanchez pulled off a surprise over Rodrigo Guerrero and takes his slot in the ratings. Guerrero slips but stays, forcing Raul Martinez from the top ten. Guerrero beat Martinez in his last contest.
Jr. Flyweight: Casimero debuts in the top ten. Lazarte departs. Given repeat offense, a suspension would not be unfair.
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Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com