By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Jose Uzcategui seemingly has forgiven Andre Dirrell’s uncle for sucker-punching him following their fight nine months ago.
The super middleweight contender from Venezuela still hasn’t absolved referee Bill Clancy for disqualifying him May 20, though. Uzcategui went as far as to accuse Clancy of having it in for him before his fight against Dirrell even began.
Clancy disqualified Uzcategui after he appeared to hit Dirrell at least once, perhaps twice, after the bell sounded to end the eighth round of their scheduled 12-round in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Dirrell fell face-first to the canvas once Uzcategui drilled him with a left hook after the bell.
A disoriented Dirrell told Clancy he couldn’t continue after Uzcategui fouled him. Uzcategui disputes that he hit Dirrell late.
“At no moment was it after the bell,” Uzcategui told BoxingScene.com through a translator before a press conference Thursday. “He hit me and I landed my combination, and the bell rang. So I landed my combination clean and at no moment did I hit him after the bell.”
The left-handed Dirrell (26-2, 16 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, and Uzcategui (26-2, 22 KOs) are scheduled to fight again Saturday night on the Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime; 9 p.m. ET). The IBF ordered an immediate rematch for its interim super middleweight title, which Dirrell captured by winning their first fight.
The rugged Uzcategui also accused Dirrell of exaggerating how hurt he was following the controversial sequence at the end of their fight.
“Everyone in the world saw what happened,” said Uzcategui, who was sucker-punched twice by Dirrell’s uncle/former trainer, Leon Lawson Jr., following their fight. “The referee asked him if he was OK. He said yes. But it was his corner who told him to stay down. I thought it was nothing but a show.”
Uzcategui claims Clancy showed Dirrell preferential treatment.
“Before I even got to the ring, the referee was in my face,” Uzcategui said during the press conference. “I kind of felt some animosity towards me and it kind of translated during the course of the fight.”
What’s indisputable is that Uzcategui was ahead on two of the three scorecards prior to getting disqualified. Judges Dave Braslow (77-74) and Jamie Garayua (77-75) had Uzcategui in front, while Paul Wallace had it even through eight rounds (76-76).
“One round before [the fight ended], I told my trainer, ‘I’m gonna knock him out,’ ” Uzcategui said. “And I feel that I went ahead and did knock him out. It just so happens that things turned out the way that they did. But I think I knocked him out cleanly.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.