Here’s how the end of tonight’s state heavyweight title went down, as I saw it:
As the first round drew to a close, Joey Abell had Raphael Butler in trouble. He knocked Butler down, and the referee, Bobby Brunette, didn’t hear the bell ring as he was busy counting and evaluating Butler’s condition. Abell obviously didn’t hear the bell, and (this is my opinion, based on what I saw) Butler didn’t know the bell had been rung, either.
Brunette waved the two fighters back together and Abell moved in and finished Butler off with a tremendous punch that knocked him stiff. While this was happening, Dan O’Connor and the rest of Butler’s Brigate were pounding on the mat with their hands and their stool, and the crowd in the Target Center was screaming that the bell had sounded.
After that it was mayhem. O’connor did his best Rock Newman impression, Ron Lyke and Jim Maurine entered the ring in Abell’s defense, and the crowd moved toward Lyke, knocking him down and threatening to trample him. Abell arched his body over Lyke until the referee and comission personnel regained control of the situation.
Ring announcer Dan Cole announced that the outcome of the fight was a disqualification win for Butler, and further announced that Butler had won the state heavyweight title. Afterwards Cole interviewed Butler on the PA system, and asked Butler whether he had heard the bell ring. Butler said he had heard it ring and wasn’t expecting Abell to throw any more punches, and that’s why he let his guard down.
We need some questions answered. The most pressing are these:
- Should the fight be a DQ or a No-Decision?
- If the ruling is that it’s a DQ, can the title be awarded to either fighter, since neither earned it?