VIDEO: Fight Decision in Rodriguez v. Caballero Changed by the California State Athletic Commission

In professional boxing the records of a fighter’s bouts, a fighter’s wins and losses, are vital statistics. That record can be just as important a measurement as reach, weight, or age.

“A technical draw, a draw on the record, many people believe it wrecks the record. I believe that’s why we’re here today,” said Mark Relyea, Lead Inspector for the California State Athletic Commission, at the October 2 meeting of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

It took action at that CSAC meeting to set that record right for two young fighters.

On April 10, in Indio California, Eric Rodriguez and Rommell Caballero faced each other in a lightweight bout set to go 4 rounds. But the fight didn’t end how either fighter wanted. An inadvertent headbutt left a deep gash near the left eye of Eric Rodriguez.

“It was an accidental head butt. Nobody disputes that,” testified Robert Diaz, fight promoter.

The fight ended in a technical draw, but a formal request was made to change the decision. The issue in front of the California State Athletic Commission was who ended the fight.

If that decision was made by medical staff or a referee, “technical draw” is the right call.

“The Doctor allowed the fight to continue, but the fighter said, ‘I can’t see.’ The corner even said, ‘it’s nothing it’s nothing, let us work on it,’” Diaz said.

If it was Rodriguez himself, or someone in his corner saying the fight can’t go on, that’s considered a technical knockout and the win goes to Rommel Caballero in his professional debut.

But how can the commissioners know for sure who threw in the towel?

“What you’re saying is, in California the practice is that we don’t require the literal throwing-in of the towel?” Commissioner Mary Lehman asked Relyea.

While he said the practice may have helped in this case, Relyea also said the California rule against literally throwing a towel to signify a forfeit is a good one. He said its often hard to tell where a towel came from if it is throw in the ring.

The commission reviewed tape of the match, the moment the two fighters’ heads collided, the resulting cut, and the call.

For Lehman, an attorney and herself a former professional boxer who once ranked number 9 in the world for her weight class, the issue wasn’t who stopped the fight. She said the issue is how the Rodriguez was injured.

“That the fighter cannot go on because of this unintentional foul. Which is clearly the case,” Lehman said.

Still, inspectors and officials who were in the ring that night told the commission that both Rodriguez and his corner wanted to end the fight because Rodriguez couldn’t see.

After deliberation, in a 6-to-1 vote, the California State Athletic Commission ruled to reverse the original call and score the fight a technical knockout, and a win for Rommel Caballero.

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