The first time I saw it happen was while reviewing film of Ingemar Johansson’s demolition of crafty Eddie Machen in 1958. Machen was knocked down three times by Thor’s Hammer and was almost decapitated by the Big Swede. It all happened in the chilling first round. Referee Andrew Smyth gave Ingo way too many free shots in this one and then had the hubris to count over the unconscious Machen while he (Smyth) inexplicably looked out at the crowd. This was as bizarre as it was scary.
“…watching that slaughter requires a strong stomach. Oddly enough, it shakes the viewer more than Johansson’s seven-knockdown hammering of Patterson…it was like seeing a boxing version of the shower scene in Psycho.” – Mike Casey
The “Kid” Paret vs. Emile Griffith fight needs no explanation, but when Dicky “The Pride of Lowell” Eklund smacked an out-on-his-feet Allen Clarke in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1981 with about nine flush shots at full speed, the crowd was aghast and horrified.
When referee Arthur Mercante Jr. allowed Pernell Whittaker to pummel Diosbelys Hurtado with a number of free shots in 1997, there was horror in plain sight.
Mercante also was involved when the late Michael Dokes was hit by a left hook by Razor Ruddock in their 1990 bout at Madison Square Garden and was completely unconscious yet propped up by the ropes. Razor got in at least one lethal shot with his famous “smash” left hook.
In 1990, Alex “The San Fernando Hammer” García launched an onslaught of between 35 and 40 unanswered shots at Bernard Benton Announcers Al Albert and Sean O’Grady were shouting for the fight to be stopped as Benton’s head was snapping back violently. Then, as Benton fell face down on the canvas out cold, referee Roger Yanez inexplicably began the count before realizing he could have counted to 5,000 as the crowd unloaded on him with boos. It was terrifying to witness.
Later, the excuse was that Yanez was out of position to make a make a timely decision. The reality was that he was on Mars.
There have been many others over the years that have given me pause as to whether I want to watch this stuff any longer. The Morrison-Mercer slaughter and Cooney’s bomb-out of Norton were just two of many others. Curiously, the same referee was involved in both. Now comes another from the Q2 in London. After five rounds of this bloodbath, I had seen enough to yell out, “stop it, stop it.” However, there would be one final round.
Dillian Whyte vs. Lucas Browne
Many hail Whyte’s sixth round KO of Australian Browne as the leading candidate thus far for Knockout of the Year, but at what cost to Browne? Watching Whyte slice and dice a slow, fat, and aging Browne — some referred to him as a “human punching bag”– until his bloodied face looked like it had gone through a windshield was bad enough but seeing him go down face first and out cold from a vicious left hook that he never saw coming was just plain frightening. His corner was obviously braver than the big Aussie. He should not have been allowed out for Round Six and the referee owns part of what occurred. (As an aside, had this occurred in New York City, the ringside doctors would have looked at him very carefully after Round Five to assess matters.)
While Whyte celebrated (perhaps too much), doctors and paramedics rushed into the ring and put Browne on oxygen. After an agonizing five minutes, Browne finally came around. He signaled he was OK before rising to his feet and was taken away for a more extensive look-over at a nearby hospital.
Max Kellerman’s analysis of the fight on FightHype.com was clinical and completely lacking in sensitivity. His only concession was that he (Whyte) “beat the hell out of him (Browne).”
Heck, he almost killed him. Whatever happened to the Max who had so much to say about the fateful 2001 fight between George Khalid Jones vs. Beethaeven “Bee” Scottland, the Max who said, “If you’re in Scottland’s corner, you have to ask yourself, is it worth it, winning this fight for the damage he is sustaining right now?”
After the fight, Browne later posted this message on his social media site:
”Hi everyone. Thanks very much for the love and support. It wasn’t my night and massive respect to Dillian Whyte for his performance. My eye was giving me trouble from the second and you can’t protect from what you can’t see. I’m all good and I will be back.”
Let’s hope not. Lucas had a fine career but he is now simply too old and likely too damaged to come back.
As for Whyte, he had this message for Browne via Sky Sports News:
‘Hopefully Lucas Browne’s okay, he showed up to fight and tried but I knew that would happen.”
While he might well have left the last six words out, his stock has risen and he is now a serious player in the top mix of heavyweights.
And will I end my association with boxing? No, just a momentary pause until the next slaughter.
Ted Sares is one of the oldest full power lifters (and Strongman competitors) in the world and is a four-time winner of the EPF’s Grand Master championship. He also is a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame.
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel