Referee Clancy Discusses The Casimero-Lazarte Riot
By Dennis 'dSource' Guillermo
A veteran boxing referee of more than 20 years and over 2,500 professional boxing matches, Bill Clancy has been around the world and in all sorts of situations as the third man inside the ring. From Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, to Mia St. John, and just about every name in boxing you can think of in the last couple of decades, Clancy has pretty much seen it all.
But not all.
After watching the ugly riot that transpired in Argentina, wherein his colleague Eddie Claudio had to be rushed to the hospital due to injuries after the angry crowd mobbed Filipino boxer Johnriel Casimero and his corner men inside the ring, Clancy couldn't help but express his disgust over the incident and empathize with his fellow referee.
"Eddie Claudio is a very good friend of mine, and a very competent referee, world class referee" Clancy told me last Tuesday on my boxing radio show, and continued, "what he was subjected to was horrible. Thank God he came out of it okay. I've been in 12 different countries as a referee in 30 years, and I could only imagine some of the situations that I've been in where it could've turned very, very ugly, and put in the situation that Eddie was. Thank God he's okay. Hopefully it never happens again."
Clancy then related a story on a fight he called in Germany back in 2003 between then undefeated Australian Danny Green and German Markus Beyer for the WBC super middleweight belt. Green was winning the fight handily after dropping Beyer in rounds 1 and 2, but Clancy was forced to disqualify him in the 5th round after multiple head-butts that opened a cut on Beyer and ended the fight.
"The darn fool (Green) dropped his gloves, and head-butted the guy on they eye where he already opened him up in the first round from punches; opened him up to the point that the guy couldn't continue. He literally had the world title in his hands after 17 professional fights, and I had to disqualify the guy," Clancy narrated. "It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do as a referee," said Clancy. "But thank God that fight was in Germany. If it were in Australia, we might now be having this conversation right now," he added with a good-hearted laugh.
As sports fans, we often condemn referees for making mistakes, and easily forget that these people are mere humans like all of us. Would Clancy have disqualified Green had that fight been in Australia? Better yet, would he do the same in Argentina to an Argentinian fighter after witnessing what they did to Claudio and Team Casimero? The politically correct answer, obviously, is yes, BUT it's only human nature to preserve one's self.
The ugly incident in Argentina is definitely a black eye that needs to be addressed. A mere apology isn't enough. A close eye should be placed on countries with histories of ridiculous hometown robberies, and incidents such as this. Boxing commissions should protect a visiting fighter's interests and safety by probing violators and upholding the integrity of the sport.
Next month, "The Female Fighting Pride of the Philippines", Ana 'The Hurricane' Julaton, defends her title in Argentina against undefeated Argentinian Yesica Marcos. Here's hoping that what happened to Casimero won't happen to Julaton, and that the referee and judges maintain their impartiality, regardless of factors outside the ring.