Cintron's Post-Williams Critics Go Way Too Far
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Maybe it's the jet lag.
No question, the practice of traipsing from Florida to California and back within a 22-hour time frame is enough to wobble the senses of an already-loopy 41-year-old like myself.
But the more I review snippets of commentary coming off Saturday night's curtailed main event at the Home Depot Center in suburban Los Angeles, the less I think it's me who's nuts.
Rather than the "tough luck" and "give him another shot" sentiment I naturally assumed would follow Kermit Cintron's ill-fated tumble and dubious scorecard loss to multi-division phenom Paul Williams, the responses in some circles have leaned toward harsh at best.
And ridiculous at worst.
Before we begin, however...make no mistake. I'm aware of Kermit's history.
I know some snicker when recalling his emotional in-ring collapse following a loss to Antonio Margarito in 2005. I understand some thought it scorn worthy when he writhed on the floor with hand pain after stopping Jesse Feliciano two years later.
Kermit Cintron had a dubious scorecard loss to multi-division phenom Paul Williams.
And I was there in South Florida last year when he went down from a Sergio Martinez punch that he unsuccessfully tried to reason away as a butt. After the fight, his complaints about what appeared to be a generous draw didn't help matters either.
Like it or not, those events and reactions will follow him forever.
But some things I've heard since Saturday's end have crossed even those modified lines.
One member of the Williams entourage set up camp to the left side of the podium at the post-fight press conference - which occurred while Cintron was in an ambulance - and loudly opined that he had intentionally taken "a dive" in order to avoid the final eight-plus rounds with his foe.
Another set of post-fight views - courtesy of Buffalo-based "professional boxing businessman" Rick Glaser on Facebook - have tagged Kermit as both a "jumping frog" and "gutless" based on TV footage, while separately adding "hopefully, we've seen the last of Cintron on HBO!!"
Even George Peterson got in on the act Sunday when he was quoted by Rick Reeno, saying "Even before this, I knew something was going to happen with this guy. When he fought Jesse Feliciano, he won the fight and then realized that he had to fight Paul Williams and you saw what happened. He's a nice guy and I think he's going to come back from this, but he didn't want to fight Paul."
I could still use a little sleep...but I'm coherent enough to know stupidity.
And all these comments, folks, are nothing but.
I'd expect it from an apologist wannabe in the first instance. It's loathsome from a 2,500-mile removed spectator in the second. But when it comes from a guy who was just feet away from the action - and someone who, quite frankly, really ought to know better - it stumbles into offensive.
Predictably, I'm not the only one who thinks so.
"Everyone around him thought he was winning the fight. He was the one landing the powerful blows, not Williams," promoter Lou DiBella said via phone Monday. "It's a horrible thing to say. The last person who wanted that to happen was Kermit Cintron. It's the most absurd thing I've ever heard."
Asked what he thinks of those offering such opinions, DiBella pulled no punches.
"I think they're (expletive)-holes," he said. "They're ignorant people who don't know what they're talking about. He was saying he wanted to continue and the doctor wouldn't let him up. It's remarkable to me that people would say those sorts of things. It's shameful."
As is often the case when the feisty New Yorker fires with both barrels, I couldn't agree more.
Not only is it a stretch of athletic proportion to claim - as two judges did - that Williams won either three or four rounds in the aborted match, but such reasoning picks up a despicable scent when coupled with an attack on an admittedly emotional, but always brave, competitor.
Past or no past, it defies sensibility to think - in a split-second's time - Cintron devised a plan to land a solid punch on Williams, spin him to the ground and fly over him to the ring floor to escape continuation of a fight he'd controlled from start to finish in the eyes of a third judge.
Or that he was merely acting while insisting to a naysaying doctor he could continue.
Though not as offensive, Williams promoter Dan Goossen also resisted reason by saying there was "nothing that went on in that ring for three rounds that makes me think we have to have a rematch. Their corner will tell you that he could've gone on. Whatever the doctor and Kermit spoke about when he was on the ground, I wasn't privy to."
To his credit, Williams said he thought Cintron wanted to fight.
He also indicated that if such a direction were chosen by his team, he'd be "all in" for a return bout.
"We all understand that if a bout with Pacquiao or Mayweather is available, they'd take it," DiBella said, "but in the absence of that we'll certainly pursue a rematch. We're in the business of pursuing major fights for Kermit and (a rematch) is the fight we'd want the most."
If there is no agreement with Williams, DiBella said Cintron could take on the winner of next month's Yuri Foreman-Miguel Cotto title bout at 154 pounds or perhaps make a deal with Shane Mosley, who still holds the WBA welterweight title in spite of his loss to Mayweather on May 1.
"It shouldn't hurt his stature and it won't have any long-term effect on his career," DiBella said, "but there should not be a loss on his record because of a bull-(expletive) rule."
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This week's title-fight schedule:
WBO junior middleweight title - Santa Ynez, Calif.
Sergiy Dzinziruk (champion) vs. Daniel Dawson (No. 13 contender)
Dzinziruk (36-0, 22 KO): Sixth title defense; First fight in United States
Dawson (34-1, 24 KO): Second title fight (0-1, 0 KO); Unbeaten since 2007 (5-0, 4 KO)
Fitzbitz says: The Ukrainian is stepping up the PR game. A big effort here will help. Dzinziruk in 10.
WBO junior bantamweight title - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Evert Briceno (No. 1 contender) vs. Omar Narvaez (unranked)
Briceno (32-5-1, 26 KO): Second title fight (0-1, 0 KO); Lost only fight outside Nicaragua (0-1, 0 KO)
Narvaez (31-0-2, 19 KO): Eighteenth title fight (16-0-1, 7 KO); Reigning WBO champion at 112 pounds
Fitzbitz says: An established flyweight adds a second weight class to the resume. Narvaez by decision.
IBF featherweight title - Ciudad Obregon, Mexico
Cristobal Cruz (champion) vs. Orlando Salido (No. 6 contender)
Cruz (39-11-2, 23 KO): Fourth title defense; Beat Salido (SD 12) to win vacant title in 2008
Salido (33-10-2, 22 KO): Fourth title fight (0-2, 1 ND, 0 KO); Failed drug test after IBF title win in 2006
Fitzbitz says:A rare title-fight matchup of guys with double-digit losses. Cruz?s 11 must go. Salido by decision.
WBA super lightweight title - New York, NY
Amir Khan (champion) vs. Paul Malignaggi (No. 3 contender)
Khan (22-1, 16 KO): Second title defense; Unbeaten above 135 pounds (13-0, 9 KO)
Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KO): Sixth title fight (3-2, 0 KO); Held IBF title at 140 pounds (2007-08)
Fitzbitz says: UPSET! A hometown return to prominence for a former champ who's never gone away. Malignaggi by decision.
Vacant WBC cruiserweight title - Lodz, Poland
Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (No. 1 contender) vs. Giacobbe Fragomeni (No. 2 contender)
Wlodarczyk (42-2-1, 31 KO): Fourth title fight (1-1-1, 0 KO); Held IBF title at 200 pounds (2006-07)
Fragomeni (26-2-1, 10 KO): Fourth title fight (1-1-1, 0 KO); Drew with Wlodarczyk (SD 12) in 2009
Fitzbitz says: After a draw in Fragomeni?s homeland, the Pole gets it done on his own turf. Wlodarczyk by decision.
WBC lightweight title - Los Mochis, Mexico
Humberto Soto (champion) vs. Ricardo Dominguez (No. 3 contender)
Soto (51-7-2, 32 KO): First title defense; Held WBC title at 130 pounds (2008-09)
Dominguez (31-5-2, 19 KO): First title fight; Unbeaten since 2009 (5-0, 4 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Soto's waited too long for a spotlight fight to lose before it arrives. Soto in 9.
WBA super featherweight title - Saitama, Japan
Takashi Uchiyama (champion) vs. Angel Granados (No. 13 contender)
Uchiyama (14-0, 11 KO): First title defense; Four straight wins by stoppage
Granados (18-8, 8 KO): First title fight; Six losses in last 13 fights (7-6, 6 KO)
Fitzbitz says: A walk-through first defense for Japanese slugger. Uchiyama in 7.
Vacant IBO bantamweight title - Parramatta, Australia
Eric Barcelona (No. 29 contender) vs. Vic Darchinyan (unranked)
Barcelona (51-17-4, 19 KO): Fourth title fight (0-3, 0 KO); First fight in Australia
Darchinyan (34-2-1, 27 KO): Reigning WBA/WBC champ at 115 pounds; One loss above 115 (11-1, 9 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Looks like an easy path to a bantam belt for a 115-pound kingpin. Darchinyan in 6.
Last week's picks: 0-0
Overall picks record: 188-68 (73.4 percent)
Lyle Fitzsimmons is an award-winning 21-year sports journalist, a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a frequent contributor to sports radio talk shows throughout the U.S. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him at twitter.com/fitzbitz and read more at fitzbitzonfights.wordpress.com.