On May 12 in Woodland, Calif., San Francisco’s Denis Madriz and Fresno’s Luis Villagomez were two fighters looking for their first professional victory off-TV on the Solo Boxeo undercard of Vicente Escobedo versus Juan Ruiz.
Their scheduled four-round featherweight bout was considered by many in attendance the best fight of the night. Unfortunately, the 4th round stoppage in favor of Madriz was incorrectly ruled as the cut that caused the stoppage came from a head butt and not from a punch and thus should have been ruled a no contest.
According to Frank Aleman, president of Aleman Boxing Fresno where Villagomez trains, he was told by California State Athletic Commission director Che Guevara that if they could obtain a copy of the fight that shows the headbutt clearly caused the cut, that they would change the decision to a no contest.
Aleman obtained a copy of the fight from the production truck that night and passed it along to the commission, sending and placing a number of e-mails and phone calls that he said have gone unreturned. TQBR also left messages with the commission that went unanswered.
Here is a link to the video which contains the head butt in slow motion as well as the remainder of the 3rd round, in which Villagomez was coming on quite strong before the fight was stopped. At the very least this fight should be overturned, although a rematch would be a nice touch.
Villagomez was making his professional debut against Madriz, who had previously drawn with Jesus Sandoval in his debut last September. Madriz looks to avenge that draw with Sandoval on July 28’s San Jose Robert Guerrero-Selcuk Aydin undercard. Madriz should concern himself with avenging his questionable victory next after his fight with Sandoval. [UPDATE: A representative of Madriz, in the comments section below, said he intends to do just that.]
[SECOND UPDATE, Aug. 9: Per Frank Aleman, trainer and manager of Luis Villagomez, the TKO in favor of Madriz was overturned by the CSAC on Aug. 8 at a hearing. Below is what Aleman told me Wednesday regarding the change to a no contest. The CSAC did not immediately return calls seeking comment.]
“It was Che (Guevara, chief inspector for CSAC)’s recommendation that they do not overturn the decision. He cited a rule of legal blows and illegal blows and another rule regarding decision changes. That although what happened to Luis was obviously not caused by a punch, it was not a decision that should be overturned. He warned of opening a Pandora’s Box of boxing matches coming in for reversals.”
“Another thing, there were two other decisions to be talked about being reversed on the agenda today, and one was with the same referee (Ed Collantes) that was involved in our fight, and they had already reviewed that fight, an MMA fight. So they knew that the referee had not shown up for the meeting though he was asked to be there.”
“The commission asked if the referee had polled the ringside judges to see if any had seen a head butt. Che believed he had not, nor is that practice commonly used.”
“They asked to see a better picture of the cut, so if the referee had not seen whether or not the cut was caused by a punch or a head butt, he should have been able to reasonably assess that the severity of the cut would have been caused by a head butt. We told them that while stitching Luis, the doctor had given his professional opinion that the cut had to be caused by a head butt.”
“I had a very clear picture of the cut on my phone, which they asked to see.”
“During a public comment period, a lady came up saying she had just got off the phone with the referee and he had not been told about the hearing. She also relayed that the referee hasd said he polled the ringside judges and none had seen a head butt.”
“At that point I told the commission if they looked at the video again, and that I had a clearer DVD of it (rather than the YouTube clip that was used initially), they will see that the referee goes from the doctor’s decision to stop the fight directly to me stating it was a punch and that he never goes to any judges before that.”
“Then, one commissioner who was on the phone came back to the panel, made a motion to table the decision because they really needed to talk to the referee.”
“I then repeated that the video was clear, the picture was clear, and then the lawyer on the panel told the commission that they could not really take the lady’s word as truth because it was hearsay. Then the commission asked if they were sure the referee was contacted about the hearing and they were assured he was sent e-mails and a letter.”
“The commission asked if there was a rule in the books they could use to overturn the decision and the lawyer said ‘yes’ and found it. Then, they voted to change the decision to a no contest. I asked Che if we would be getting a letter stating the decision would be changed, he said ‘yes’ and that they would also contact BoxRec.”
Aleman credited TQBR for their dilligence in contacting the CSAC following the initial report of the wrongful TKO and stated that it helped get them on the agenda for their hearing. Though the bout was on the smallest of scales in boxing, it is good to know us “lowly bloggers” can help right wrongs.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com and followed via Twitter at www.twitter.com/MarkEOrtega. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel.