Sean Gibbons frustrated with Maryland ruling, looks forward to Dirrell-Uzcategui II
On May 20, In Oxon Hill, Maryland, Jose Uzcategui, 26-2 (22), landed a three-punch combination on opponent Andre Dirrell, 26-2 (16), to drop and finish him at the end of the eighth round.
Uzcategui then became the new IBF interim super middleweight champion of the world.
Wait. Not so quick.
Uzcategui landed the third punch at the sound of the bell and, as Dirrell lay on the canvas, chaos ensued in the ring. Members of Dirrell’s camp rushed to their fallen fighters’ aid, while Uzcategui and his team celebrated, while believing he had scored a clear knockout.
After much confusion, referee Bill Clancy ruled that the final punch came after the bell. More importantly, he took the position that the punch was an intentional foul.
If the punch, clearly part of a combination that was already in motion, had been ruled an accidental foul, they would have gone to the scorecards. Uzcategui, ahead at the time of the stoppage on two of the official scorecards, would have been declared the winner.
Because Clancy ruled the punch intentional, Uzcategui was disqualified and Dirrell was declared the victor.
Immediately after the fight, Uzcategui adviser Sean Gibbons filed an appeal with the Maryland commission and the IBF. The hearing for the controversial ending was held last week and the commission decided to support the original ruling, declaring Dirrell the winner via disqualification.
The controversial disqualification loss against Andre Dirrell, upheld by the commission, was voted 3-to-1 (one member was absent) in favor of upholding referee Bill Clancy’s decision that Uzcategui landed a punch after the bell, knocking Dirrell down, and out, at the end of the eighth round.
While the final punch of the combination, landed a split-second after the bell, it is clear that the combination was already in full motion and the punch was not a solitary shot intended to foul Dirrell, or catch him unguarded. Because Dirrell was ruled unable to continue, Clancy should have, at worst, ruled the punch an accidental foul, which would have sent the fight to the scorecards (with Uzcategui winning by majority technical decision). However, Clancy ruled the punch intentional, handing the victory to Dirrell.
The key issue is the intention of the punch.
Uzcategui, noted as a very sportsman-like and clean fighter throughout all of his amateur and professional careers, clearly appeared to land the punch, as part of the combination he was throwing and in no way did it appear to be an intentional foul.
UCNlive caught up with a frustrated and angry Gibbons, who was at the hearing, representing his fighter.
It was quickly evident that Gibbons was not happy, and was frankly surprised, with the outcome of the hearing. The Las Vegas-based Gibbons was also frustrated by Clancy, who appeared unwilling to budge on his position, despite evidence that supported Gibbons’ position that there was clearly no evidence to show Uzcategui intentionally fouled Dirrell.
“Look, Clancy clearly lost control of the situation,” said Gibbons. “He overrode the doctor to make the decision. He’s the sole arbiter but one of the things Clancy did was, when Dirrell was down on his knees, he told him to get up. He said, ‘Are you OK?’ and Dirrell nodded yes. Then he went to the corner and screamed, ‘Get me a doctor!’ while people outside the ring, including Dirrell’s brother, told him to fall over. I mean, come on, as the doctor was entering the ring, Clancy said to him, ‘Tell me if Dirrell can continue.’ And 10 seconds into the doctor looking at Dirrell, Clancy yelled, ‘I’m disqualifying Uzcategui!’ During the hearing, Clancy was very combative, same as he was in the ring, that night, to Uzcategui. We feel (Clancy) misrepresented the facts.”
The three-punch combination was already in motion when the bell rang and there was obviously no intentional foul in the last punch but Clancy didn’t budge on his assertion that the punch was intentional.
“Bill, look, Clancy was adamant that, since Jose had been warned for a late punch in Round Two that, the punch in Round Eight had to be intentional and, because he had already warned him, that’s why he disqualified him,” Gibbons said. “It was in the heat of battle. It was a three-punch combination, as the bell was ringing, and there is no way he can pull his punch, at that point. But at no point was Uzcategui doing anything intentional but Clancy kept hammering away that it was intentional.”
However, there is a silver lining to this story for Uzcategui. The IBF did not agree with the ruling of the Maryland commission.
Organization President Daryl Peoples has expressed grave concerns with Clancy’s handling of the bout and feels there were many errors, made by Clancy, in the ring. Peoples has ordered an immediate rematch.
“Thank goodness for Peoples,” said Gibbons. “I’m glad for Jose and, in the interest of what is right for the sport, that the IBF are going to hold an immediate rematch. I hope we can get them back in the ring before the year is out. Look, we did the right thing. We didn’t have to go to Maryland but we wanted to follow due process and do what is right by Uzcategui, as a fighter. We’ll move on and beat Dirrell in the rematch.”