Following Montana Love’s unexpected disqualification loss to Stevie Spark over the weekend, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn and his fighter Montana Love share their take on how everything spiraled out of control and why they think the referee jumped to the DQ much too quickly. Check out some excerpts of what Hearn and Love had to say about the fight below.
Hearn on his reaction to the DQ
“I was upset with the decision because it was turning into a great fight. And I feel a fight of this level, of this magnitude, doesn’t deserve a disqualification for that. I mean, look, Montana Love was rough with him, got cut with a headbutt. They didn’t really look like they knew what they were doing in that instance, in all honesty.
“The fight was allowed to continue, Montana was angry and rough, and pushed Spark back on the ropes — didn’t pick his leg up, didn’t dunk him over, but he was aggressive with him. Stevie elbow was up and they were wrestling, and I just feel like the decision was made so quickly. I was literally there (in front of the fall) and the ref (waved it off immediately) and I’m like ‘No, what?! Have you disqualified him?’ I couldn’t believe it.
“It was perhaps a point deduction was a worthy punishment in my opinion. Obviously it’s gonna have to go back to the commission and see what they rule.
“Stevie’s in a great position because he’s won the fight, he’s gonna have a lot of options, there’s going to be a lot of call for the rematch, I don’t know. Maybe the commission have a no contest, they could overrule the decision of the referee — it’s quite unusual. But it’s not like there isn’t video evidence...
“It was quite a rough fight, and that’s the way Stevie wanted the fight to be. And I feel a bit for him as well because he wanted the opportunity, he believes he was on his way to winning the fight, and he might have. But what you’ve would’ve seen is a great couple of rounds because Montana was cut badly, he needed to force the action, try to force the stoppage, and he didn’t do it, but he didn’t get the opportunity to do it.
“Listen, it was a very even fight at that stage but I believe we would’ve seen a really great fight unfold, and I’m just disappointed we didn’t.
“I said to the ref ‘I thought it was a terrible decision.’ This is these guys livelihood, what they do, and you make a split (second) decision. It is a difficult job being a referee, there’s no doubt, but you’ve got to just take a breath sometimes and think instead of just going ‘disqualified.’
“The guy’s out of the ring. If you want, let him get back in the ring, take those few seconds to just take in what’s just happened and then make a decision. What should’ve happened, in my opinion, is he should’ve had a point deducted. I think he was a bit rough against the ropes, Stevie’s (elbow) was up, but Montana was wrestling with him — probably maybe a warning or point deduction but that’s it. But to disqualify was bizarre, not seen anything like that before.”
Love on his perspective on what transpired
“All night the man was roughhousing. You got some fighters that just let that happen but I’m just one of those guys that’s not gonna do that. I’m a gentleman of the sport but you ain’t about to handle me any type of way. All night he been doing that, I’m already frustrated from the headbutt, I couldn’t see for a second...when they let us go back at it he still come out strong — as he should, it’s a cut, he sees blood. But you still not just about to handle it any type of way, I’m just not one of them guys.
“The fight it was turning into was the fight I was looking to do. We start off boxing, we know the man can’t box eight rounds, we let him shoot, he was getting tired. We was trying to turn it into a dogfight at the back end of the fight because, again, we know he was fading.”