By Elliot Foster
Eddie Hearn has said that a rematch between Scotty Cardle and Sean Dodd is inevitable after the pair fought to a controversial end in their British lightweight title clash.
Cardle retained his Lonsdale belt by the skin of his teeth at Liverpool's Echo Arena on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, after referee Terry O’Connor intervened with just 62 seconds remaining in the fight.
Battered, bruised and nearly down and out, it looked after 10 rounds as though it would be the Birkenhead challenger who would complete the fairytale story and walk away a domestic champion, just eight weeks after ending camp for what was set to be a six-round contest at the Olympia in the city in September.
He was then handed a golden opportunity a shot at the British title, but he had to get through Gary Buckland first. He did that as he picked up a 97-95 decision win over the Welshman, who had been set to challenge Cardle for the belt before the champion got injured and was forced to pull out.
So after beating Buckland, it was made official that Dodd, 30, would challenge the younger champion on the big Callum Smith-Rocky Fielding all-Liverpool showdown card at the ECHO Arena.
But it wasn’t to be. Dodd –– who was backed by vociferous support –– nearly had Cardle out of there, but through sheer fighting spirit, grit and determination, Scotty pulled it out of the bag, from absolutely nowhere, to stop Dodd, albeit controversially, in the final round.
And aforementioned Matchroom chief Hearn wants to stage a return after watching what he described as “one of the best fights for the British title".
He told iFL TV: “[This fight has] stone-cold rematch [written all over it].
“[It] has to be [a rematch] and there will be a rematch.
“I felt like Scotty would outbox [Dodd], but I felt like if it goes later on in the fight he’d come into it.
“There was a lot to take in, with the booing, the atmosphere, the occasion. I think he made mistakes, I think he was sloppy and ‘Masher’ just grew in the fight.
“I actually had ‘Masher’ up at the time of the stoppage,” said Hearn, “but although I felt the ref’s stoppage was premature, I felt like if it had have been allowed to continue, Cardle would have stopped him legitimately and would have got more credit for it that way.”
And after seeing his charge keep hold of the crown in a dubious manner, Hearn had nice words to say about Dodd, who slipped to (10-2, 2 KOs) in defeat.
“Sometimes in boxing you meet the nicest people and Sean Dodd is one of those people. Two days before the show with Stephen Smith [against Devis Boschiero], Scott Cardle pulled out three days before and I had no chief support.
“Sean Dodd was in a six-rounder. I phoned him up and I said: ‘Listen, I’ll give you a load of money to fight Gary Buckland over 10 rounds in an eliminator for the British title. Do you want it?’
“He goes in there and beats Gary Buckland, something which nobody thought he would do in a million years, and I said ‘you’ve got great support, you go and fight Scotty Cardle.’
“All of a sudden, he’s gone from earning £1500 for a six-rounder to great dough and he puts in a performance like that.
“I went in to him afterwards and told him, although he’s gutted, he would get a rematch for the British title.”
Elliot Foster is part of the UK Boxing Scene team. Follow him on Twitter @FreelanceFoz