Maybe I should not have been, but I was more than a bit surprised at the reaction of some fight fans to junior middleweight Kermit Cintrons abbreviated Saturday evening, as the boxer tumbled out of the ring early in the fourth round of his bout against Paul Williams at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, had the breath taken out of him as his back struck a TV monitor, and had ring physicians tell him that they advised the referee to halt the bout, for fear that hed punctured a lung during the fall.

Some TSS commenters opined that they though Cintron quit, that he deliberately exited the ring when the going got tough against Williams, that he faked being hurt, that he played up his discomfort in a deliberate bid to have the fight halted. The commentary was along the lines of what I saw when Andre Dirrell was struck while on a knee by Arthur Abraham, crumpled to the mat, and was rendered unable to continue in his March 27 bout, which ran on Showtime. Dirrell was clearly in la-la land after being hammered by Abraham, and didnt comprehend that his opponent had been disqualified for the foul, and that hed been declared the DQ11 winner. Commenters said that Dirrells fall to the mat looked delayed to them, and some said they thought he was looking for an exit strategy, that Abraham was coming on strong, and Dirrell knew the smartest route was a con job.

People, Im all for you offering opinions, but this aint right. Casting aspersions on boxers under these circumstances aint right. The evidence these slammers offered was beyond thin. It looked like Dirrell had a delayed reaction; it looked like Cintron jumped out of the ring, and twisted his body to make it appear that hed sustained damage.

Cmon, guys. The conspiracy theorists said Cintron has shown tendencies like this before. They say he looked lost, less than resolute, while getting cut and pounded by Antonio Margarito in 2005. This, though, he went in with an iffy hand after hurting his paw before a tuneup two months prior to the Margarito tangle. This, though, he got knocked down, and stood up, four times against the since disgraced Mexican brawler. This, though, he went after a rematch of a guy who owned him, and three years after there first tussle, again was stopped by the Mexican. Maybe people didnt think the body shot that took his breath away was legit? A year later, Margarito was busted trying to use hardened hand pad against Shane Mosley. Might he have used those weapons before? Should we not give Cintron that benefit of the doubt?

On Monday, TSS caught Cintron (32-3-1) in good spirits on the phone. His kids played, and shrieked without a care as the boxer gave the lowdown on the strange ending to the Williams bout.

Im doing good, he said. Im feeling great. I dont feel down, I thought I won. The judges said different, however, with two giving Williams the win after three rounds plus completed. I do feel disgusted by the situation, the way the doctors took it to another level, the way they treated me. I was allowed five minutes to recover, and I never got that.

The doctor who took the lead, Paul Wallace, according to Cintron, right away told me the fight was over. The boxer said his back hit a TV monitor, and took his breath away. Thats what I was trying to recover from. I was trying to catch my breathing. I told the doctors, I want to fight. They were holding my head down, and said I needed to get to the ER. They were being cautious, OK, but they were over-exagerrating the whole situation. They said, You might have a punctured lung. That was over-exaggerated.

And to the commenters who accused him of doing a WWE style leap and acting job? I just laugh, he said. Theyre just fans behind a computer, hiding, what are they good for? They dont know whats going on. I ignore that stuff. They do it to Mayweather, too. Fans or non fans, they just want to be heard. Theyre trying to be somebody. I know the truth. Only I knew how I felt at that moment.

Looking ahead, Cintron said promoter Lou Dibella will seek a rematch. The fighter said he wasnt sure if his contract had a rematch clause, but thought that a rematch clause was sought, by his crew, late in negotiations. I just want the rematch, thats a fair thing to ask for, he said. I was beating him every round, but cmon, you cant score the first minute of the last round. I felt I hurt him in the fourth. I hope they (Team Williams, promoter Dan Goossen) give me a match.

TSS talked with Goossen Monday evening. He said he was happy with the win, and that the action to that point wasnt scintillating, and no broadcaster is chomping at the bit for a rematch. Cintron acted as if he couldnt go on, Gossen said, and thats on him. Ive been on the other side, with a fighter wanting to continue, like Gabe Ruelas, with a broken arm in 1990, against Jeff Franklin, Ruelas said he wanted to continue, and Rahman and Toney, Rahman said no. The doctors will give you the benefit of the doubt if you give them reason to. I cant say if Kermit was hurt or wasnt hurt. You gotta show it, that you want to fight. Even Larry Merchant mentioned it, that he hasnt moved since he fell. He was at my feet, he didnt give an indication that he wanted to fight. It was a victory, but we wouldve preferred it a different ending, a satisfactory ending.

Next for Williams if there is no Cintron redo? I hope Pacqauio-Mayweather does get made, but if it doesnt, we should be a challenger for one of the two, Gossen said. I dont think we should endure another Pacquiao-Clottey type of fight. Arum is talking about Pacquiao-Margarito, Paul has beaten Margarito. Three welterweights are standing there, the third is Paul Williams. I believe one has to take the challenge up with Williams. And if Mayweather-Pacquiao gets made, then Williams should fight the winner.

Guess what? In typical Libra fashion, I see things from both the Cintron and Goossen perspective. The truth, as always, may well lie in the middle…And Im also all for Williams getting a shot, over Margarito, against Manny if Floyd doesnt want to get it on with Pacman. Would I feel even stronger saying that if Williams had been campaigning recently at 147, yes. (LTP last made 147 on June 7, 2008 against Carlos Quintana). But Im more keen on Floyd-Williams or Manny-LTP than Manny-Margarito; I think Manny has his way with Tony in slightly less devastating fashion than he took down Clottey. And since Mosley took apart Margarito, and Mosley had little luck, save for his crackerjack 3/4 of the second round against Floyd, one cant think that there will be much market for Margarito-Mayweather.
We have a case of competing recollections here…I did say I wanted the fight stopped because the fighter twice said he could not continue, Dr. Paul Wallace told The LA Times on Monday. He was asked, Can you continue? and he said no. Twice. If he had mentioned to me something like, Give me a moment … , I understand; these are warriors. Any hint that he still wanted to participate we wouldve given that to him. We would have got him up and given him a second evaluation. Yesterday, Kermit said that was not the case. Unless some late in the game home video of the interplay between Cintron and Wallace exists, we may never get to the bottom of this controversy.