Let's Give KO'd Fighters a Pass on Postfight Interviews

Joseph SantoliquitoContributor IIMarch 26, 2012

Juan Manuel Lopez didn't know if he was coming or going after the Salido fight.
Juan Manuel Lopez didn't know if he was coming or going after the Salido fight.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Juan Manuel Lopez was in charge and rambling, and no one was going to stop him. Not his trainer. Not his manager. Not his promoter. Not even boxing gotcha interviewer Jim Gray. Just minutes ago, Orlando Salido delivered a knockout blow that stopped Lopez in the 10th round of their March 10th rematch in defense of Salido’s WBO featherweight title.

An incoherent, babbling Lopez blamed referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. for the loss, telling Gray that Ramirez, and his son, Roberto Ramirez Jr. who officiated the Salido’s first TKO victory over Lopez in April 2011, had somehow delivered the telling blows that sent him crashing to the canvas.

Actually, “JuanMa” was not in charge of anything. Lopez accusations that Ramirez Sr. had gambling issues, and that was the real reason why he lost, could be attributed more to the dazed, hazy mind of a concussed fighter than anything else.

But the Lopez postfight interview is another glaring example that a concussed fighter, especially someone that suffered the kind of punishment Salido meted out against Lopez, should not be interviewed at all after a fight.

“I was dominating the fight, it was a tough fight,” a foggy Lopez told Gray through an interpreter. “The referee stopped the fight because had gambling problems. I was very conscious about the referee was
saying, and I was still able to continue. He hit me hard, but I was able to still continue. I was conscious and still able to fight.”

Gray, to his credit, gave Lopez a chance to rescind his comments.

Orlando Salido hit Lopez so hard, JuanMa thought the ref knocked him out.
Orlando Salido hit Lopez so hard, JuanMa thought the ref knocked him out.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

He didn’t.

“I’m sorry for the fans the way this ended, but I still think the referee had other issues,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s reaction to the loss was reminiscent of Andre Dirrell’s response after his fight with Arthur Abraham during Showtime’s super middleweight “Super Six World Boxing Classic” tournament. And Dirrell won—getting the nod by disqualification over Abraham. But a sulking, disoriented Dirrell—during the postfight interview—didn’t realize he won. Abraham had nailed him with a shot to the chin while Dirrell was down on one knee, getting up from a slip.

So here is a simple unsolicited solution to the major networks that deal with fighters who suffer terrible knockout losses-Don’t interview them! Let them leave the ring and receive proper medical attention. It really is that simple.

Lopez was already in a netherworld by the time Gray climbed through the ropes and reached him.

What purpose does it serve to get that stupefied soundbite? You, the fight fan, will you miss it? Do you care that the concusses Lopez had to embarrass himself with the flimsy allegation the Ramirez family held ulterior motives for his loss? He made no sense and with damning allegations like that, which only created a possible bigger problem for himself with legal ramifications aimed back at him. Who needs that? Not the fighters.

The bottom line is these fighters need to be saved from themselves. Why not erase the issue with some homespun commonsense and the let kayoed fighter leave with his dignity intact?

It’s just a thought.

Joseph Santoliquito is a Contributor for Bleacher Report.