• Steve Bunce

Fix in for Del Boy? Do me a favour

Steve Bunce July 23, 2013
Nobody had a better view of Malik Scott than the referee, who decided that he could not beat the count © PA Photos

If anybody has the film of Malik Scott on his feet, gloves up and nodding his head, before the referee finished the count at Wembley, please send it to me - because I haven't seen it.

What I saw was Malik Scott dropped by a big right hand to the head from Dereck Chisora. And then I saw what the referee saw: that Malik Scott was not in a position to defend himself before the end of the count.

Could Scott have got up earlier? Absolutely. But he got up too late.

There's several confusing things about the way the fight ended - but none of them are controversial. Note that: confusing, not controversial. That's the key word, as Barry Jones points out on this week's podcast.

Let's get one thing clear: the referee does not have to count to 10. Nine and out, that's it - the 10 is the 'out'. Equally, the referee could wave his hands at four if he sees something is wrong. That is the bottom line, and that's what it says in the British Boxing Board of Control's rules, which read as follows:

Rule 3.32.1: A boxer shall be considered to be down until he regains his feet within the boxing ring and is in a position and condition to defend himself.

So don't tell me the fight was a fix. The concept, the idea, the theory - the ridiculous accusation - that this is all part of some giant scandal is beyond me. The last people to go to prison for fixing a fight were a couple of New York and Philadelphia gangsters in 1959! They went to Alcatraz!

Boxing doesn't need fixed fights, crooked referees or bent officials because it has match-makers working with powerful TV companies that want one fight but not another.

And consider this: there are thousands of judges, referees and boxers around the world. A handful make the type of money that Floyd Mayweather makes. Very few of them ever get near the type of money that Malik Scott and Del Boy Chisora shared at Wembley.

If some of the thousands of fighters and officials around the world were being handed brown envelopes filled with cash, do you not think that just one of them, in desperation, would not step forward and say, "I've just been given $5,000 to lose my next fight" or "I've just been handed ¥10,000 to stop this fight early"?

Anyone weak enough to take a few quid, pesos or dollars to fix a fight will have a weakness. They'll have a drug addiction or a sex addiction or a tax problem. He or she - because it could be a woman, of course - will inevitably find themselves up against the wall, they'll hit rock bottom, and they'll try and sell their story to land another few quid.

People step forward for cash to sell stories of corruption in every other walk of life. If boxing is so corrupt, why hasn't anyone stepped forward? Simple - because it doesn't happen, at least outside of the creative minds of nutcase boxing fans who see a conspiracy in every single decision.

Judges in Las Vegas get decisions woefully wrong. Referees make bad calls. Fighters turn up in dreadful shape and fall on the floor -and not because they are corrupt, but because it's human nature. These things happen!

I've been working in this business for nearly 30 years - I started writing about boxing in 1984 - and I've known fights that should never have happened. I've known some fights where the referee has got it wrong, or the judges have got it wrong, or the fighter has shown up in dreadful shape.

But have I ever known a fixed fight - a proper fix? Never. Ask Frank Warren. Never. Ask Mickey Duff. Never. Even Don King and Bob Arum - never! It doesn't happen, no matter what people say on different websites or Twitter. If it happened there would be evidence. I can put my hand on my heart and say I have never known a fixed fight.

And the real pain here is that Dereck Chisora had started to break Malik Scott's heart. He may have lost a few rounds but the Chisora stoppage looked inevitable. It was a brilliant performance on paper. Nobody wanted to fight Malik Scott - not because he's dangerous, fearsome and nasty, but because he's hard to beat. And Del Boy made mincemeat of him. It was brilliant.

I'd like to think that I'll never have to talk about that knockdown and that count again, but somehow I don't think that will be the case...

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.