Bob Arum said Julio Cesar Chavez could fight Brian Vera next, and eventually, Andre Ward.
Smoger to let fists decide Golovkin-Rosado
Does the presence of referee Steve Smoger favor the power of Gennady Golovkin or the potential for improvisational creativity from the rugged Gabriel Rosado?
"My proclivity is to allow the fight to go to its natural conclusion, and to let them solve it and to let them resolve it...Sometimes, there comes a time when I have to make the call. But if I can prolong it and give them every opportunity, so be it," Referee Steve Smoger.
"Smoger is a gutty guy. He has balls. He's a balsy referee, and I think that that's what people want to see," Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
It's fair to say that referee Steve Smoger almost never stops fights on his own.
Smoger's track record is one of allowing bouts to be contested to their violent conclusion, meaning that the fighters' fists or their corners usually stop bouts that do not last through to the decision.
Smoger will be back in the ring for Saturday night's HBO-televised co-main event at the Theatre of Madison Square Garden, which features rising former junior middleweight challenger Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 knockouts), of Philadelphia, pursuing his eighth straight victory and his sixth knockout during that run against Kazakhstan-born WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOS), who is after his 12th consecutive stoppge win.
Smoger declined to discuss Golovkin-Rosado in advance of the fight, but the prevailing thoughts about his presence as the third man in the ring appear to be one of the following:
A) Either Golovkin's power will deliver a tremendous beating upon the rugged Rosado, or B) Rosado -- who has received some mentoring from the cagey Bernard Hopkins -- will be given leeway for some improvisational creativity.
Below are some of the more notable fights that Smoger has worked, followed by a brief Q&A with perhaps boxing's most recognized official.
Calling Saturday night's fight from ringside as part of the HBO staff will be RING WBA and WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), who floored RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson once each in the third, fourth and final rounds before Dawson indicated to Smoger that he had had enough in September.
Two weeks after Ward-Dawson, Smoger was back in action as unbeaten super middleweight contender Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez faced previously unbeatten Jason Escalera. Smoger stepped in to protect a bloody and battered Escalera for an eighth-round stoppage when Rodriguez was still pummeling him along the ropes.
In October of last year, Smoger deducted five points for low blows from but did not disqualify journeyman middleweight Tony Jeter (15-3-1, 10 KOs), of Columbia, Md., who rose from a second round knockdown to upset former "Contender" series competitor Jimmy Lange (38-5-2, 25 KOs), of Great Falls, Va., for a 10-round, split-decision loss before Lange's disgruntled hometown fans at The Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.
In April of 2012: Brooklyn native Paulie Malignaggi completely dominated the physically bigger, taller, harder-punching and previously unbeaten Vyacheslav Senchenko for the WBA's welterweight belt in front of Senchenko's hometown fans at Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, and scored a ninth-round technical knockout when Smoger stepped in to stop it.
In July of 2011, although the area around the right eye of junior middleweight Pawel Wolak became swollen to the size of a softball during his 10-round, majority draw with Delvin Rodriguez at New York City's Roseland Ballroom in July, Smoger -- apparently recognizing Wolak's bravery -- allowed the fight to continue to its conclusion.
In December of 2011, Smoger officiated junior middleweight Miguel Cotto's stoppage of Antonio Margarito in the 10th round for a successful defense of his WBC belt at Madison Square Garden. Cotto-Margarito ended somewhat controversially, with ringside doctors advising Smoger, against his desires, to wave an end to the bout as a result of Margarito's swollen and badly closed right eye.
Many were skittish about the eye even before the fight began, as an encounter with Manny Pacquiao some 13 months earlier had fractured Margarito's right orbital bone to the point that the area required three surgeries to repair. As a result of the injury against Pacquiao, Margarito was not cleared by the New York State Athletic Commission to fight Cotto until Nov. 23.
Margarito, nevertheless, argued that the fight was stopped prematurely, claiming that he was coming on and was on his way toward repeating his initial conquest of Cotto.
Hopkins had landed a tremendous right to the head that sent Trinidad reeling backward and to the canvas, after which Trinidad struggled up at the count of 9 before Trinidad's father and trainer, Don Felix, climbed into the ring and stopped the fight.
In January of 2002, Smoger allowed Shane Mosley to rise from two knockdowns and being slammed to the cavans on a third occasion all in the first round of a ferocious beating absored during his unanimous decision loss to Vernon Forrest that dethroned Mosley as WBC welterweight titleholder.
Taylor was slumped in the corner on his butt and declared "out cold" on the ropes by Smoger after having been nailed by several, hard left hooks from Pavlik, who trailed on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
In May of 2011, Smoger fell under some criticism for his delayed reaction to stop the fight between cruiserweights Denis Lebedev and Roy Jones Jr., who lay unconcious on the canvas for several seconds after the end.
Jones already was badly hurt and doubled over in a corner of the ring with his hands down near his waist when Smoger -- standing back from the action -- allowed Lebev to uncork a vicious left hook that caused Jones to pitch forward, face-first.
RingTV.com: Can you recall the verbal exchange with Dawson which led you to stop that fight?
But he got up, and before I had begun to issue the mandatory eight-count, he says, "Steve, I'm done." I said, "You want me to stop it?" He said, "Yeah." That was it. He just realized, I think, that he had reached his peak.
Later on, back in the dressing room, his corner people had told me that he was too drained and that he couldn't carry his strength into the later rounds as he normally does. Going from 175 to 168 was too difficult for him.
RingTV.com: Were there any signs earlier that Dawson was weakening?
RingTV.com: What was the rationale for stopping that Rodriguez fight?
So discretion then becomes the better part of valor. And when I brought him back to the doctor, immediately, it was a confluence of opinion.
RingTV.com: Was that hyperbole when you called Tony Jeter the dirtiest fighter you have ever seen?
I was shocked that he would treat me that way. Let him know that, because I think a lot of the kid.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photos by Ed Mullholland, Fightwireimages.com
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com