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Negotiations and Professional Boxing:
The Ringside Physician
Habib Chamoun-Nicolas, Randy D. Hazlett,
Joe Estwanik MD, Russell Mora, & Gilberto Mendoza
Editors’ Note: The authors, who include unimpeachable experts on boxing, review what actually happens in the ring and in the frequently unspoken dialogue between the boxers, the referee, and the fight doctor. They find negotiation behavior routinely taking place in this most unlikely of environments. They explain why, and also show the price that is paid in injury, and sometimes a life, when the referee or the doctor gets the subtle signals wrong.
It is round 10 in what Ring Magazine dubs as the 2005 Fight of the Year. Both fighters are battered, wearing the evidence, especially around the eyes. Diego “Chico” Corrales exits his corner with one eye virtually shut and a small cut under the other. Jose Luis Castillo enters the round more intact, but sporting clear evidence of attempts to control the bleeding from multiple abrasions above his left eye. Twenty-five seconds into the round, Castillo lands a crushing left hook, sending Corrales to the mat. Referee Tony Weeks promptly orders Castillo to a neutral corner and gathers a visual cue from the timekeeper before starting the count at 3. Corrales appears to be ready to rise to his feet, but waits until the count of eight to do so. Referee Weeks urges Corrales twice, “Come to me”. He asks the fighter if he is alright, then if he wants to continue, to which Corrales clearly replies in the affirmative. Referee Weeks promptly calls time before action is allowed to commence, for Corrales is without his mouthpiece. Corrales is clearly clocked again within 10 seconds of resumed action, and following a few more unabated blows, Corrales goes down for the second time. This time Corrales labors to a ready position but is to his feet at the count of nine. Referee Weeks again beckons the fighter and asks twice if he is alright while physically wiping the gloves checking for signs of weakness. He promptly calls timeout again, since the mouthpiece is not in place. Referee Weeks invokes a one point penalty for intentionally spitting out the mouthpiece, sometimes used by fighters as a delaying tactic.
The deduction and time required to secure another mouthpiece from his corner gives Corrales some much needed clarity. Corrales’ corner tells him, using graphic language, that he had better get inside now. The fighters stand toe-to-toe exchanging blows in what seems to be a test of how much punishment Corrales can endure before the fight is stopped. Corrales is hurt again but fails to go down. Castillo steps back after a right hand attempt by Corrales. Corrales takes this as a positive sign and follows with a series of blows that backs Castillo to the ropes. Referee Weeks repositions himself to get a good look at the action. His eyes are locked onto Castillo’s. Castillo fights his way back off the ropes only to return. While against the ropes, Castillo appears helpless to defend himself. Castillo’s head pops backward after a series of hits. Referee Weeks promptly steps in to cover Castillo with his body and ends the fight. In a fight seemingly ripe for prior intervention, Corrales is astoundingly declared WBC World Champion.
Professional boxing is a combative sport in which contestants operate by a set of rules with a referee to ensure safety of the fighters and fair play during the competition. A full set of rules and responsibilities is available from the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC). The ABC requires referees to attend clinics and know all the rules. The referee is the sole arbitrator of the fight; however, at any time he may consult with the ringside physician. The ringside physician and the referee arrive with two completely different backgrounds. The referee must be expert in the combat sport and must understand the rules of boxing, while the doctor is an expert in the medical field and understands the human body. Working together as a team they complement each other as they care for....
For full contents please purchase The Negotiator’s Desk Reference.
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