15 days after collapsing in the seventh round of a fight with journeyman Hugo Berrio, Venezuela’s Yeison Cohen passed away in the hospital yesterday at the age of 28. The WBA reportedly covered Cohen’s medical bills.
This is a fight that should not have happened. Cohen entered the fight with a 2-7-1 record, no victories in his prior eight fights, and KO losses in two of his previous three appearances. Berrio, meanwhile, was 25-7-1 and had shared the ring with the likes of Oscar Escandon and Evgeny Gradovich, fighting the latter to a majority decision.
I am a licensed amateur boxing official in the state of Texas. We would not have allowed this fight with three rounds and headgear.
The WBA is calling for greater authority among local commissions in order to prevent mismatches like this. This does not seem terribly feasible, although it wouldn’t be unwelcome. Record padding like this is one of boxing’s most egregious aspects and I had very much hoped it wouldn’t take another “tomato can” dying to get people demanding change.