Larry Merchant calls boxing “The Theatre of the Unexpected,” but even he would’ve been bewildered by how the Giovanni Santillan-Dodzi Kemeh bout ended.
After a tentative first two rounds, Kemeh found his footing in the third and fourth against the WBO’s seventh-ranked contender. That didn’t stop the ringside physician from entering the ring after the fourth, inspecting Kemeh and determining that he was unfit to continue.
Kemeh, (19-2, 17 KO’s), wasn’t dropped or hurt. And if there was a cut anywhere on his face, a magnifying glass would’ve been needed to find it. Even Santillan was confused by the stoppage, as was the pro-Santillan crowd at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California. They lustily booed the decision.
Southpaw Santillan, (23-0, 13 KO’s), was aggressive from the opening bell, working behind a long jab and firing combinations in close quarters. Santillan landed his best punch of the fight with 30 seconds left in the second, a long left that briefly staggered Kemeh.
Kemeh began letting his hands go in third, snapping Santillan’s head back with a straight right. The two-way action continued in the fourth—Santillan remained in control but Kemeh wasn’t outclassed. Then the unexplainable occurred. Referee Raul Caiz Sr. motioned to the ringside physician. They had a brief conversation before the physician walked to the Kemeh’s corner and ended the fight that was just beginning to heat up.
Stay tuned to BoxingAfrica.com as we continue to investigate this controversial outcome.