By Keith Idec
Badou Jack doesn’t think only two of the judges got it wrong Saturday night.
The former two-division champion claims referee Ian John Lewis shouldn’t have warned him for low blows, either. Jack thinks his body shots were perfectly legal, especially since Stevenson’s trunks were pulled up higher than usual.
“He had his cup really high and I didn’t hit him low,” Jack told BoxingScene.com following his majority draw with Stevenson in Toronto. “I thought I was on the belt line.”
Lewis warned Jack for a low blow just before the end of the sixth round. That straight right hand landed directly on Stevenson’s high belt line.
Jack drew another warning early in the eighth round, when Lewis gave Stevenson a brief break after Jack hit him below his belt line. That shot – a short right hand while they were engaged in a clinch – appeared to land directly on Stevenson’s cup.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., whose company promotes Jack, also feels Lewis reprimanded Jack for landing legal body blows.
“A lot of times when we land a shot to the belt line, that is not a low blow,” Mayweather said during the post-fight press conference. “We have to know the difference between a low blow and landing a shot on the belt line. Whereas when I faced Zab Judah, that’s a low blow. A shot on the belt line is not a low blow.”
Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO for Mayweather Promotions, contends Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) took advantage of Lewis warning Jack (22-1-3, 13 KOs) earlier in the fight when he took a break with 1:54 remaining in the eighth round.
“He pulled an old, slick veteran move when he saw the referee gave Badou warnings,” Ellerbe said. “Badou didn’t him below the belt. He saw that the referee was giving him warnings, so he overreacted. … He bought some time because he was tired. He was tired. That’s why he did that.”
Jack is certain his consistent body work slowed down the 40-year-old Stevenson during the second half of their 12-round fight for Stevenson’s WBC light heavyweight title.
“I’m a body puncher,” Jack said. “I love hitting people to the body. That’s my thing, so he’s 40 years old. I’m not a young guy, either, but he’s older than me, six years. Breaking him down to the body, why not? I guess it worked. We see he got tired after three, four rounds.”
The 34-year-old Jack later had to overcome Stevenson’s hard left to the body, which hurt him late in the 10th round. That punishing punch stopped Jack’s momentum and allowed Stevenson to temporarily regain control of their highly competitive fight at Air Canada Centre.
The Swedish-born, Las Vegas-based Jack won their fight on judge Jesse Reyes’ scorecard, 115-113. The two other judges – Guido Cavalleri and Eric Marlinski – scored it even (114-114), thus it was declared a majority draw.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.