by David P. Greisman
The end of Saturday night’s fight between super middleweight prospects David Benavidez and Francy Ntetu ended controversially, with referee Shada Murdaugh stepping in and waving things off when Ntetu did not appear to be badly hurt.
Ntetu had been hit by a right hand and grabbed ahold of Benavidez when the fight was halted in the seventh round. The crowd booed loudly at the time, then amped up their volume as replays were shown.
Murdaugh rushed back to a dressing room, but he said he stopped the fight “at the recommendation of the doctor.” He said Barry Jordan, who is the chief medical officer for the New York State Athletic Commission, had made the recommendation.
“He was taking a lot of punishment to the eye. It was on the recommendation of the doctor. I don’t really want to say that on camera,” Murdaugh said, before turning to this reporter’s video camera to speak. When told by the other reporter in the room, Showtime Jim’s Gray, that he needed to say that to the network’s cameras, Murdaugh apologized and walked away. Commission inspectors then asked Gray and this reporter to leave the room.
Tom Hoover, the commission’s chairman, also refused to speak to reporters at the time as he walked into the room.
Jordan, via a commission member, declined to speak with BoxingScene.com. He did speak with Gray, however. Gray told BoxingScene.com that Jordan confirmed he had recommended the fight be stopped [or perhaps that the referee think of stopping it soon] because Ntetu was taking too much punishment.
Jordan and the referee did speak after the sixth round, according to Tom Gerbasi of BoxingScene.com
“I don’t get it,” said promoter Lou DiBella, who has Ntetu in his stable. “To be honest, it looked like Benavidez was running out of gas. Ntetu hurt him in that round. He was outlanding him. He had the best round of that fight.”
After six rounds, one judge had it 59-55 for Benavidez while the other two had it 58-56. The bout was scheduled for eight rounds.
Benavidez moves to 15-0 with 14 KOs. Ntetu falls to 16-1 with 3 KOs.
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]