To Disqualify Or To Not Disqualify?
Let’s talk a little about referee David Fields disqualifying junior welterweight Montana Love in the sixth round of his DAZN main event with Stevie Spark on Saturday night in Love’s hometown of Cleveland for pushing Spark over the top rope and out of the ring and onto the arena floor as Fields tried to break them apart along the ropes. Fields, who I have long regarded as one of boxing’s top referees, was 100 percent within his right to make the DQ call.
Love blatantly broke the rules and it felt like he was looking for a way out of a fight he was losing after having been knocked down and the bout being on the verge of being stopped and sent to the scorecards for a technical decision due to his being badly cut from an accidental head butt.
Just before the DQ the ringside doctor examined the cut and told Fields to let the fight continue, but to watch the cut for the next minute. The cut wasn’t going to get any better and when the fight resumed, Love immediately pushed Spark to the ropes and began the rough stuff, which ended with Spark being shoved over the top rope WWE style.
Amazing that Spark wasn’t seriously hurt
Fortunately, Spark showed tremendous athleticism to land on his feet on the arena floor and was uninjured. By that time, Field had already waved off the fight. I get the DQ. I can’t argue too strongly against it. That said, in an ideal situation, Fields would have taken a moment before calling the DQ to asses things.
Listen to us debate further whether Love should have been DQ’ed off our “Fight Freaks Unite Recap” podcast off the weekend by clicking below,
He could have seen that Spark was fine, had climbed back in the ring and wanted to go on. He could have taken two points from Love for the flagrant foul. Think back to when legendary referee Mills Lane was in a much tougher spot after the first time Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ear in their heavyweight championship rematch. Remember, Lane wanted to call an immediate DQ and told then-Nevada commission executive director Marc Ratner at ringside. Ratner asked Lane if he was sure he wanted to call a DQ. Lane thought for a minute and instead called a two-point deduction. Only when Tyson bit Holyfield again did he have no choice but to disqualify him.
So, while I get what Fields did and am not overly upset by it, I just think a referee has to consider the situation, the fans and the fouled fighter’s fitness and desire to continue. I believe the best course of action would have been to just take a minute to assess the situation more thoroughly before pulling the plug.