Guillermo Rigondeaux officially scored a first round knockout tonight in Las Vegas, but there was a lot of controversy and chaos to go along with it.
Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KO) crushed Moises Flores (25-1, 17 KO) with a monster left hand, dropping Flores and putting him down and out on the canvas. Let’s run down the list of things that happened here:
- First things first, Rigondeaux’s shot landed clearly after the bell. This was never taken into account by referee Vic Drakulich or the various officials he spoke with for several minutes trying to figure out the decision.
- The initial call Drakulich was weighing was Rigondeaux holding and hitting on the KO punch, which would be a foul. But Rigondeaux, who was holding and hitting before that, was not holding on the final blow. It was, other than being after the bell, a clean shot.
- Drakulich discussed this with several officials at ringside, including fellow Nevada referee Robert Byrd and commission folks. HBO cameras caught him looking to rule a no-contest, which was the lenient call here, but after looking at another replay, they decided it was a clean punch. Again, it was — except that it was after the bell.
We’re almost certain to see Flores appeal this ruling, and it seems likely that it will be changed to a no-contest or even disqualification, because, again, the punch that dropped Flores was well after the bell to end round one.
HBO spoke with NSAC chairman Bob Bennett, who says he was told by “folks in the truck” that the punch “unequivocally was thrown before the bell sounded.” He, for what it’s worth, is wrong, or at least being given bad information. Bennett was then brought back later and given a headset, and the whole thing was a mess. But he said he will take a look at the fight in the future, and told Max Kellerman, “If the punch did land after the bell, it would be a DQ.”
Rigondeaux didn’t do much offensively before the end of the round, for what it’s worth, with Flores charging forward, screaming, and throwing slow power shots that the Cuban easily sidestepped repeatedly. There’s probably a rematch in the making here, but finding a card for it could be tough.