It wasn’t the main event, or the co-feature, or even the co-co feature. The Dave Allen vs Dorian Darch heavyweight scrap in Sheffield, England on Saturday was just some lettuce, tomato or spicy mayo, added to round out the sandwich.
But during the scrap, and then after, that pairing, that faceoff, drew more chatter than one would expect for being so low on the nine-bout card.
“The White Rhino,” a Doncaster, Yorkshire lad, is more known in England than in America, hands down. He holds a W over faded Lucas Browne, and status as kind of a lovable loser. England used to have more of those, but they caught up a bit with Americans in the realm of the sweet science, so that “type” is seen less than it used to be in the UK.
Anyway, on Saturday, Allen (18-5-2) didn’t lose, he won, in round three of a bout scheduled for a max of six rounds. His foe, Darch (12-12-1), was not expected to win; this was a “get back in the win column” outing for the 27-year-old Allen, on paper.
But off paper, in the ring, it looked...weird.
In round one, we heard the commentators saying they saw the two men chatting that very very morning over breakfast. Curious, but whatev, right? Then, as you watched more, maybe you found that morning chat curiouser and curiouser.
If you hadn’t seen Allen before, you might have been wondering, in the first, does he always fight like this? Like it’s a light spar, after being away from the gym for two years?
Allen, first fight back since getting demolished by David Price last July, switched stance, and looked so loosey-goosey, I started wondering, what did this guy have for breakfast? Was it a liquid repast?
Watching live and then later, after hearing the chatter referring to betting patterns and such, of course one will have to acknowledge that you will be looking through glasses with darker lenses. So, looking at round two, the 35-year-old Darch would launch a reasonable looking jab, but then they’d get close, and dang it, it looked like this was on a movie set. These were not deadly launches, not even close.
Darch was winless in his last seven and he made it eight, officially, in the third. The third round started off different, real different. Now, Allen was putting some hips into it. Hooks to the body had mustard on them, then a left hook landed clean and had Darch on legs less than al dente. Darch then says something — a lip reader could help us out — then eats a shot, and another, and hits the mat. He popped up, with zest, and fought on. Allen moved in, placed a shot here, there, and down went Darch again. He sat up, seemed to ponder the upside to getting aloft, shook his head “nah,” and put his head down on the canvas. Game over; he couldn’t, or didn’t want to, beat the count. The time: 53 seconds elapsed of the third.
I asked one highly-regarded boxing betting guy what he thought of the fight. Does this oddsman think it should be investigated?
“100% this should be investigated,” the expert told me. “The betting patterns were very suspicious. Something very unusual was happening.”
The boxing bet man saw pre-fight action popping up that was centered on round three, he shared.
“It’s also been documented how several books pulled the line completely due to abnormal betting patterns,” he continued. He speculated that it looks like, because of patterns he picked up on, iffy. Dodgy. Shady. All these happenings, and the strange vibe of the action, could be coincidental, he stated, “and for some reason several bettors decided Allen in round three was the bet to make. It’s possible but that seems far-fetched to me. Hopefully the truth will come out after the investigation.” Yes, an inquiry and investigation is called for, in his eyes.
I got a second opinion, a fight game lifer, who knows what he sees in a ring.
“Watched it. Absolutely looks fucked up! C’mon now,” the lifer responded.
Allen has said he welcomes the British Boxing Board of Control to look into it and question him. He countered that several of his friends had bet on him to win by points, but that he has heavy hands.
The last thing I will say on this is the British boxing board and gambling commission are very welcome to contact me at there convenience and talk this through and happy to answer all questions and I hope they do this as soon as possible and put the matter to bed https://t.co/ywtMZsJBVz— David Allen (@davidthewhiter1) February 10, 2020
Darch, too, denied diving. He tried his best, he said, and was beaten by the better man. If the fight was fixed, I shoulda asked for a bigger cut, he quipped on social media.
I’d guess that both men are swallowing hard right now, knowing they will face some music. But not as much if their consciences are clear and this was just a strange-looking bout in a sport that is quite often curious.