Reading, PA - Team Kauffman and Gary Shaw Productions have formally filed a protest with the California State Athletic Commission seeking to overturn the verdict of last Friday's fight between Travis Kauffman and Tony Grano at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, CA. In the last 1:50 of the fourth round, six critical errors in judgments by referee Wayne Hedgepeth of New Jersey compromised the integrity of what had been a terrific heavyweight boxing match. Kauffman had rallied over the first minute of the fourth round trying to finish off a fading Grano before Grano reverted to an illegal low blow at the 1:50 mark to buy some time. The referee never warned Grano for the blatant infraction..
Twenty seconds later Grano spit his mouthpiece out to buy time to recover. This happened in Grano's corner. The confused referee took Grano to a neutral corner before bringing him back to the correct corner and warning him about spitting out the mouthpiece.
With :33 left in the round Grano headbutts Kauffman without drawing a warning. Kauffman is besieged by a Grano rally but is responding defensively until pulling back in Grano's corner to avoid punches and hits the back of his head on a TV camera with 30 seconds left. At this point he becomes badly stunned. With 26 seconds left Grano hits Kauffman in the throat with an elbow. It seemed at that moment that the referee was going to intervene and issue a warning but backs away.
With 14 seconds left Kauffman's glove touches the canvas, which should have been scored a knockdown and a standing eight count administered. With Kauffman getting the count and Grano going to a neutral corner, Kauffman would have made it out of the round with a minute to recover.
Kauffman was then thrown to the canvas - not knocked down - by a clothesline from Grano. The blow that resulted in Kauffman going to the canvas was not a legal blow but a throwdown, which should not have been scored as a knockdown. Kauffman hurt his back on the fall and tripped over the referee as he tried to rise from his knees.
Marshall Kauffman, Travis' father and trainer, is taking efforts to shed light on these infractions to have the decision reversed to a no contest and build public demand for an immediate rematch.
"I say all of this to prove that the ref did a very poor job in the fight and it is his job to step in when needed," Kauffman was quoted in his letter to the commission. "If he would have stepped in for five seconds to either give Travis a standing eight count or to warn Grano then I would probably not be sending this email today because Travis would have had time to recover."
Well, when word first came down about this fight I admit I was pretty skeptical... as I am any time a young prospect gets sparked and then cries "foul." But I caught the fight on replay, and I have to admit that all of this is very accurate.
I don't have a dog in this race. I couldn't care less about "Travis Kauffman" or "Tony Grano..." neither of whom would have a shot at a belt unless the top 50 fighters of the heavyweight division were all thrown into a fiery volcano. But this is an accurate account of what happened. It was a very poorly refereed bout, and the final round was just absurd in terms of what Grano got away with... spitting out his mouthpiece, headbutting, nardpunching and then some sort of Judo-type move for the "knockout." Coupled with the uncalled knockdown and the camera clonk, it seemed to be a somewhat shifty, shady affair.