In another BLH Fanpost I made the following comment, which ended up a whole lot longer than I meant it to be. It's something I've wanted to give vent to for some time now, and thought that rather than simply leave it as an off-topic post in another thread, I'd re-post it myself. Here goes:
I think the idea that the ref is there to protect the fighters is being warped: they are there to prevent a fight becoming a street brawl; they are there to make sure the rules are being upheld, and they are there to protect a fighter from his opponent. I do NOT agree with the idea that the ref is there to protect the fighter from himself. Otherwise, why not just agree that the first knockdown wins the fight? That way, hardly any fighters would get really ‘hurt’, and the PC brigade would be happy!!
I always refer back to Eubank being in all sorts of trouble in the Watson fight as the proof, in my eyes, that the ref has no business stopping fighters who want to carry on, and are mentally unimpaired. If the guy cannot respond, or is clearly gone in the head, then fine, stop it. Eubank was really hurting, but he would in all likelihood have killed that ref if he’d stopped it. He was still there mentally (well, as much as you can ever use that term in relation to Chris Eubank, anyway…) and as such was capable of making his own damn decision about whether he could carry on.
Physically hurt is another thing, but the ref has no idea how badly a fighter is hurt; at least, not as much as the fighter does. He also has no idea about that particular fighter’s own pain threshold, or resilience, and if all fighters are going to be judged by the same generic standard then how are we supposed to celebrate one particular fighter’s heart, or balls, or courage, over any other guy’s?
I think the ability to make one’s own decision is the clincher for me. Eubank could make his own decision about how much pain he could take, how tired/hurt he was, etc. Once a fighter does not have the capability to make the decision, then the ref has the right to stop it. NOT before.
I suppose my feeling on the matter is thus: A fighter has the right to decide on whether he is physically fit to continue, and the ref has the responsibility to decide if the fighter has the mental capability to make that decision.