The Boxing Union of Ireland has finished its investigation of Michael Gomez and has reached the conclusion that the boxer did not take a dive in his Irish lightweight title fight with Peter McDonough on January 28 at the National Stadium.
In that fight, Gomez, with the fight still competitive, suddenly dropped his hands, caught eight unanswered punches, and the ref waved it off, calling a TKO.
The crowd, as crowds often do, went nuts at what looked like a fix, and the men behind the RTE mikes, especially former champ Steve Collins, all too willingly joined the fray: “I would like to know if there was big money bet on the fight to be stopped in the fifth. I would be surprised if Mel Christie and the BUI do not investigate this. I smell a rat.”
Collins sense of smell is particularly good, not least because he is an ex-fighter, because it turned out that Boylesports bookmakers had suspended betting on the fight due to “an unusual pattern of betting” on the Galway-born McDonagh winning in the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds.
The BUI interviewed and/or took evidence from both fighters, the ring doctor David O'Flaherty, the ref Sean Russell, Adrian Eastwood of Eastwood Bookmakers, Brian Cusack, senior Sports Trader with Paddy Power Bookers, Cashmans Bookmakers of Cork and the British Boxing Board of Control.
Be that as it may, the BUI, through their chief Mel Christle, cleared both boxers in a just released statement: “The Executive Committee of the Boxing Union of Ireland carried out an investigation with a view to answering three questions – 1. Did Michael Gomez walk away from the fight in circumstances where he was still able to defend himself and keep fighting? 2. If so, what were his motives in so doing? 3. Did anyone profit financially, directly or indirectly, by doing that, or was there any ‘betting scam.’”
The statement said that Gomez “could have kept going with the fight, but decided not to… It would be a matter of the gravest concern for the Boxing Union of Ireland if there was any betting scam or if it appeared that any fight was 'fixed.'
“Both Michael Gomez and Peter McDonagh confirmed that neither they, their families, nor any person in their camp, as far as they were aware, betted on the fight. Michael Gomez said that he stopped fighting because he made a decision, there and then in the fifth round, to retire from the sport.”More importantly, however, the Boxing Union of Ireland wrote to various bookmakers, by registered post, including Boylesports. For the purposes of this investigation, it is extremely disappointing that, out of all the bookmakers written to, Boylesports was the only bookmaker who failed to reply to the Union's queries.”This is particularly so, since a representative of Boylesports was prepared to go on Newstalk 106 and RTE Radio 1 to discuss the matter, in addition to the fact that it was stated on national television on the night of the fight that 'Boylesports have suspended betting.'”
With his good name restored, Gomez also addressed the press.
“I’m delighted that that the investigation is completed and that I habe been cleared,” he said. “There’s no way I’d ever be involved in anything like a fixed fight. If anyone thinks I’d be involved in something like that then why don’t they come and spar a few rounds with me. I’ll show them just how tough boxing is because I think sometimes people think it’s easy to get in that ring. After a few rounds with me they might understand what a boxer has to go through in there.
“I’m a proud warrior and anyone who’s watched me down through the years knows that. No disrespect to Peter McDonagh, but I’ve been boxing for over 20 years and that catches up with your body. All those years of hard training, making weight and getting into wars in the ring caught up with me and that's all that happened.
“I’m sorry for all my supporters but I had to make that decision in the fight for myself and my family. Boxing is too tough a sport if your heart’s not in it.”