(Williams, left, Campillo, right; via Goossen Tutor)
This was an unfortunate ending to what might’ve become a pretty good fight, if Thomas Williams, Jr. could’ve continued: Gabriel Campillo scored a technical knockout over his fellow light heavyweight via a cut.
Williams — a prospect of some acclaim on the outer edge of contender status — was in control early, landing hard shots everywhere but especially to the body. But Campillo, a savvy vet and recent ex-contender himself, began to dial in with his slick boxing in the 3rd, changing the dynamic. A cut over Williams’ left eye via a punch in the 4th really bothered Williams, really truly.
After that, he was not the same. Fighters react differently to cuts. Most are affected. Some, a rare percentage, can act like nothing happened. Another significant number are badly diminished. Williams fell into the final category. By the end of the 5th, his corner wanted the doctor to take a look, and the doctor deemed that he could not continue. (His corner also might have done him no favors, pouring water on his eye, which could’ve washed off some coagulant.)
Williams didn’t seem to want to continue, and felt guilty about his performance, going over to ESPN’s Teddy Atlas after the bout was stopped to apologize for letting him down. It’s fair to say, as Atlas did during the bout, that Williams unraveled. Can he rebound? Not clear. We didn’t think Campillo would rebound, did we?
On the undercard, super middleweight Andre Dirrell made a solid return to the ring after one of his many, many layoffs. He beat the stuffing out of Vladine Biosse, a journeyman, stopping him in the 5th. He didn’t look as blindingly fast as he once did, although perhaps that can be blamed on ring rust, nor did he seize some of the openings he could’ve against a limited opponent. He did, however, put on an explosive display once he opened up, forcing the ref to intervene as Biosse was trapped in the corner and not firing back. Dirrell afterward called out champion Andre Ward, Carl Froch, anyone… these are good fights, even with the sub-optimal form Dirrell displayed, because he’s that talented and schooled. The thing is, Dirrell has talked a better game about big fights in the last many years than he has actually sought them out, so we’ll see if he means it this time.