Looking back at the Liam Smith Liam Williams controversy this past weekend that ended in a stoppage that had some fans disgruntled.
Despite Terry Flanagan defending his WBO lightweight title against Petr Petrov taking the headline spot on this past Saturday’s card in Manchester it’s fair to say the majority of the advertising, along with the majority of fans in attendance, were instead focused on Liam Smith’s highly disputed contest against Liam Williams.
Many in the media beforehand were calling the Liam Smith Liam Williams fight a genuine 50-50 affair.
The lesser known Williams was the man who came out on top for the majority of the action, dominating the first half of the fight thanks to superior work rate and flashy power shots.
Smith, who found himself badly cut midway into the fight was struggling to counteract the aggressive Welshman.
His fortunes turned, however, at the end of the ninth round as Williams was forced to retire in his corner thanks to a badly swelled and cut eyelid in an ironic role-reversal.
That’s where the controversy began.
Referee Terry O’Connor ruled Smith the victor as he believed the damage was caused by a legitimate punch to the protestation of the Williams corner who argued it was a clash of heads.
It was only upon viewing the video replay clarity began to set in.
The footage showed there might have been a cut prior to the obvious clash of heads and the collision merely exacerbated the already present cut.
Liam Smith Liam Williams Controversy
This is not a definitive conclusion to the story though. 48 hours later fans are still debating whether the decision in favour of Smith was a fair one, as had the stoppage be ruled due to a clash of heads Williams would have been awarded the victory as he was ahead on the cards at the time of the finish.
Whatever your opinion of the end result, it’s all irrelevant now. Smith will stay the victor and is in prime position for a potential clash with Miguel Cotto, should talks of a rematch not get in the way.
The Liam Smith Liam Williams fight does, however, raise the question as to whether video replays should be brought into play in the realm of boxing.
It could be argued that viewing the footage could have swayed O’Connor the other way, despite damage seemingly being apparent beforehand.
It may not offer a definitive answer this time round, as the circumstances under which the fight was stopped remain open to interpretation, but there’s no denying video replays could be the answer to in-ring indecisiveness.
Much like tennis and athletics before it, boxing could (and probably should) embrace modern technology to settle quarrels that would otherwise be left to the official in the ring who, lets face it, can make mistakes from time to time.
Are computers and cameras the answer to all sports’ problems? Absolutely not. But they can offer pinpoint accuracy where the human eye falters.
Cameras fixed to referees’ shirts offering a first person point of view as we have seen in the states are a step forward, but are not yet being used for official rulings, rather to offer a more up close and personal view to further fan immersion.
Cuts or other injuries would not be the only uses for video replays as some may lead you to believe. They may also offer another point of view in ruling on other close-calls such as borderline low blows and other illegalities.
The possibilities of their use could be virtually endless when it comes to in-ring competition and they could serve as the make or break key component when making decision which could end up having massive ramifications on the sport as a whole, which is why I feel they should be a necessity in today’s digital age.
Will we always need to replay fight footage? No. But when it’s needed, you’d be damn glad to have it:
Imagine being on the verge of winning a world title for the first time in your career, your opponent is rocked and on the ropes, when you are suddenly and blatantly caught low.
You drop to your knees in agonizing pain, unable to move. You clamber to your feet as quickly as you can, putting on your bravest fighting face, only to realise the fight is over – the referee reached a ten count believing you to be the victim of a vicious body shot rather than an illegal blow.
This is just one of endless hypothetical scenarios where video replays could literally be a career-saver.
British football is slowly but surely making the transition. It’s time for British (and hopefully World) boxing to follow suit.