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Frank Warren on The Maccarinelli-McPhilbin Controversy

by Frank Warren

Controversy is never far away from this sport and there was a big one last Friday night at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton.

Nottingham hero Shane McPhilbin was making the first defence of his British Cruiserweight title against big-punching Enzo Maccarinelli and an incompetent time-keeper cut short a round at a crucial point in the fight.

McPhilbin, who unexpectedly won the title in January when he stopped Leon Williams in the final round after coming back from two early knockdowns, was a 150-1 outsider and very nearly pulled off another shocker when he heavily floored the former WBO World Champion from Swansea in the first round.

Big Mac got up but was on wobbly legs and the referee Ian John-Lewis let him continue, but unexplainably the time keeper Martin Fallon then rang the bell to end the round with 47 seconds still remaining of the round.

Who knows what would have happened had the round continued.

Then, incredibly, Fallon made another blunder by cutting the minute rest after the first round to just 35 seconds!

Maccarinelli went down again in the third round, but he got his boxing together and won on the judges’ scorecards 115-111, 116-111 and 115-110 to claim the Lonsdale belt.

Although I was happy to see Maccarinelli win after a difficult start to the year after his father Mario passed away, he  completed a career ambition to win the prestigious Lonsdale belt, but it’s very hard not to feel for McPhilbin.  A rematch is the only remedy to right the time-keeper’s ineptitude.

The Board have ordered a rematch, but it will be up to Maccarinelli if he wants to do it again.  Personally, I would prefer that Enzo didn’t fight anymore and would rather he retire, but at the end of the day that is his decision.

I noticed the next day that I was being accused of ‘fixing’ the fight by some of the ‘keyboard warriors’ on the internet forums even though I wasn’t even in attendance at the show.  Why I should get the flack for the British Boxing Board of Control’s official’s incompetence is beyond me!

The Board called Fallon to appear before the Midlands Area council for a ‘ticking off’ (excuse the pun) on Thursday night to explain what happened and rumor has it he even turned up early.  The hapless time-keeper has been suspended until 1 January 2013, which for him should see him back in action in November.
 
After the fight, senior Board official David Roden who was ringside, said to one of my staff, “You don’t realise how hard it is to keep the time,” but, seriously, how hard can it be to time three minutes and a minute rest for twelve rounds?

I have asked the Board for a full explanation about the evening’s events and why nobody from the Board was prepared to make a statement on the night.  McPhilbin was aggrieved and his irate fans were demanding an explanation at ringside.

To their credit there wasn’t trouble but one wonders who would have taken responsibility had a riot broken out at the packed venue?

***

Boxing lost one of its most famous outside-of-the-ring characters in boxing writer and historian Bert Sugar last Sunday.

The 74-year-old Hall of Famer, who wrote more than 80 books, plus “The 100 Greatest Boxers Of All Time”, suffered a cardiac arrest in a New York hospital.

He was instantly recognisable at ringside with his fedora hat and cigar and had an amazing knowledge of boxing that saw him become editor of Boxing Illustrated and Ring Magazine.

***

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer joined me at a media lunch in London this week to announce a deal that will see his fighters feature on the UK’s only fight subscription channel BoxNation.

It will televise two live shows per month, one of which will be a HBO or Showtime world title fight and the other from their hit series Solo Boxeo which is great news for fight fans.

I’m also in discussions with Schaefer about a potential showdown between British star Nathan Cleverly and Bernard Hopkins who both fight on April 28 on either side of the Atlantic, for a big show in Wales, but they both have to win first.

The unbeaten Welshman had it confirmed by the WBO this week that he will make the fourth defence of World Cruiserweight title against Robin Krasniqi after some earlier uncertainty.

If he comes through against the tough German based Serbian, who’s never been stopped in 29 fights, then it could lead to a showdown with the legendary American.

***

I hope that Mexican great Erik Morales finally hangs up his gloves after losing to rising unbeaten young star Danny Garcia last Saturday night, but it looks like he will have one more fight.

He lost his WBC World Light-Welterweight title at the weigh-in when he couldn’t make the 140lb limit for his title defence against Garcia and didn’t attempt to make the weight, instead sitting down and drinking water.

***

For up to date boxing news and reviews visit www.frankwarren.tv

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