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Ivan Redkach’s bite of Danny Garcia joins an odd boxing list

Danny Garcia got bit on Saturday night, which put him in rare, weird company in boxing.

Danny Garcia v Ivan Redkach Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Danny Garcia did what he had to do, got the W, and didn’t get the AJ treatment at the hands of the underdog seeking a career making shocker win.

It was a workmanlike showing by the Philly fighter, ex-chap at 140 and 147, attesting to his lock-down on the basics. And that is not a shot; a mastery of basics is not something as many pugilists as you’d expect have down.

But, the quality of the outing was such that the welterweight fight versus Ivan Redkach — unfolding Saturday evening in front of 8,217 patrons at Barclays Center in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY, and on Showtime — will not be a must-watch replay for most anyone.

Garcia didn’t knock out or knock down Redkach, who proved himself unable to live up to his nickname (“The Killer”) against the clever fighter taught by his pop, Angel.

However, down the line, this fight might well be remembered more for a curious snippet, which arose in round eight. That was when lemonhead Redkach dipped down, opened his mouth, and chomped on Garcia’s shoulder/trapezius area.

The red from the blood on his sliced face was mixing in with the yellow Kool Aid colored hair, Garcia was winning about every round, and Ivan was frustrated. And so he let his teeth do what his hands weren’t pulling off — hurt Danny.

At 1:12 in the eighth, they clinched, Ivan chomped, and Danny reacted. The crowd didn’t know, and neither did the ref; he was on the other side of the teeth-touch on Danny’s left shoulder.

Danny alerted the referee, Benjy Esteves. Esteves responded with some confusion. Danny gestured to the bite spot, and looked again at Esteves.

But the winner kept his cool, he didn’t get mad or go into “revenge mode,” smartly.

The round finished, and we heard Danny’s dad Angel tell the ref what had happened,

At the post-fight presser, Garcia touched on the bite (at 2:05 mark):

“I just felt something like digging in my skin, I thought a mosquito got me,” he said, grinning. “Then I look over, and he’s biting me! I think I might be the second fighter in history to be bit, right? Who else, Evander Holyfield and Danny Garcia?! Put me in the history books!

“He has new teeth, too, he got some brand new veneers, he’s putting those bad boys to work! I got a fresh veneer scar on my neck. “

Nah, Redkach didn’t say sorry or acknowledge the slip to Garcia, the victor said. Danny should have known something was off with Redkach, he said jokingly, because the Ukrainian hitter “was smiling all week.” Redkach does indeed have a look that suggests he’d be visually appealing if added to a cast of a horror movie.

Many fight fans who’ve been into the sport for a spell know there is a history of vampiric behavior by boxers. Seven months after they first clashed, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson again collided. It was June 27, 1997, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and ref Mills Lane had his hands full in round three.

It was a clinch-y session, and Tyson was becoming frustrated. He had his mental issues, and possessed a low frustration tolerance. That became evident when with 40 seconds to go in the third, during a clinch, he opened his mouth, with mouth-guard in, and bit down on Evander’s left ear. Holyfield went off, jumped up and down, his pain evident. Lane reached right down to the mat, where a piece of Holyfields’ ear sat. Mike, in a thuggy mode, went at Evander, after Lane called time.

Evander went to his corner, informed them and the ring doc what happened. Holyfield said he wanted to continue, Lane decided to let it ride and Tyson looked like a pissed off pitbull wanting to get at a rabbit. Lane had asked ring doctor Flip Homansky to assess, and he came in and looked at the reduced ear. Evander can fight on, he said, so they did. Mills called for a two-point deduction from the offender, and the action continued.

Not for long, though. With 22 seconds remaining, during another clinch, Mike bit the other ear. Holyfield reacted, furious, but he kept fighting. The round ended, Holyfield told Lane what happened, that more unauthorized snacking had occured, and Lane pulled the plug. Your winner via disqualification, Evander Holyfield.

He’d not be able to get that missing part restored. Tyson was suspended from the sport indefinitely, but after a year, his license was restored. He was also fined $3 million for the savage snacking.

By the way, Garcia stated to Jim Gray in the ring that Redkach exclaimed, “Mike Tyson!” after he did the Tyson imitation.

But no, this isn’t as rare as Garcia thought. Andrew Golota munched on Samson Po’uha during round four of their May 1995 heavyweight scrap, which ran on USA’s Tuesday Night Fights. The 15-1 underdog was taking it to the 23-0 Golota and the Pole reverted to a more animalistic mindset. It wasn’t the same setup as for Redkach or Tyson, because Golota had been slammed with a few power shots and was thisclose to being stopped. His biting was a bid to survive the fight by changing the momentum.

Back to Redkach; cutman Russ Anber worked his corner at Barclays. Trainer Jack Mosley, Shane’s dad, filled in for Shane. I asked Anber if Redkach explained to him why he did it.

“He didn’t tell me anything,” said Anber, who had worked cuts for Redkach before, earlier in the Ukrainian’s career. “I had no idea he did it until we heard Danny mention it after the fight. By then I was making my way back to the dressing room and they took Ivan to the hospital for stitches. I left New York without seeing Ivan after we left the ring.”

Bottom line, I appreciated Danny’s measured response, during and after the bite. Kid gets it, this is the fight business, and really, in that ring, it isn’t about business. It often comes down to survival, and when it gets hairy, well, strange things happen. Including employing the teeth when only the hands are permitted.

Follow Woods, a Brooklyn, NY resident, on Twitter for more news and opinion, if you like.

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