Although most people forget, boxing is supposed to be, at least in a historical context, a gentlemen's sport. In the old days it was referred to as "The manly art of self defense."
In the modern context, boxing is legalized assault. It's legal because it isn't some bar fight or back alley scuffle. Boxing has rules that are meant to protect fighters from serious injury or accidental death. Tonight, Arthur Abraham lost my respect by violating one of the most sacred and time-honored of Boxing's rules: Never hit a man when he's down.
The act of striking a defenseless fighter on the ground is not only dangerous, as Dirrel's condition right after the blow demonstrates, and unnecessary, it's also cowardly and cruel.
Last night, Andre Dirrell came out boxing in a must win bout against Arthur Abraham. Within four rounds, the pride of Flint, Michigan had put the teutonic titan in a deep hole on the score-cards, even Knocking "King Arthur" down in the fourth.
Abraham rallied and, although he was losing rounds, he was doing damage and still in the fight. In the ninth Abraham knocked Dirrell down, even though it was ruled a slip, and then dominated the remainder of the round.
Dirrell came out for the 10th, and despite Abraham bombs, took the round. The 11th is when it turned.
Going into the final rounds I figured that Abraham needed a knockout to win. He got one, but in the wrong way. Midway through the stanza, Arthur cornered Dirrell and threw a set up jab. Dirrell ducked the shot, but in doing so spread his stance and slipped onto both knees.
Then came the end.
Abraham looked at the defenseless, grounded Dirrell for a moment and then unleashed a vicious right uppercut that immediately crumbled Andre, who then shook in convulsions for a minute before the ring doctor was able to restore his consciousness.
Thankfully, "The Matrix," as Dirrell is known, recuperated and was able to leave the ring under his own power. Meanwhile, Abraham was disqualified for intentionally committing such a heinous foul.
Some people say that boxing is a blood sport and the more danger the better. These people miss the point of boxing. Boxing is an agreement to combat in which both fighters have expectations of conduct to protect each other from unnecessary or cruel risk.
This is not war, nor is it a fight to the death. It is combat, but boxers are expected to adhere to certain rules not just as a courtesy, but as an understanding that proper conduct could prevent death.
One of the cardinal rules of boxing since the 1830s has been "never hit a man who is down." Why? Because he is defenseless and you would expect the same protection.
The referee did the right thing disqualifying Abraham. His attack on Dirrell was cowardly, unnecessary, and very, very, intentional. He was frustrated and desperate, but that is no excuse for what he did. Abraham could have killed Andre Dirrell tonight.
So for that, I'll be rooting against him for the remainder of the tournament, and so should you.