Trainer Ben Davison threw in the towel for his fighter, Leigh Wood, when he was dropped heavily by Mauricio Lara. Two men left unimpressed by the stoppage were Tony Bellew and Carl Froch.
It was a sharp left hook from one of the division’s biggest punchers that sent Wood to the canvas, and, although he returned to his feet, he was visibly hurt and unsteady. Davison’s call to stop the fight saw Lara take the WBA Featherweight title back to Mexico.
Alongside some protest from Wood, many in the boxing world felt that the action should’ve been allowed to continue given there was less than ten seconds remaining in the round.
Bellew and Froch were on broadcast duties for DAZN on the night, and both firmly in the camp that it was the wrong decision from the trainer. Bellew pointed to Wood protesting in the ring as a sign that the fight should’ve carried on.
“I’m usually very rewarding to trainers for stopping fights like that. Listen, Ben Davison knew what he was getting into tonight. You’ve got to let him carry on, in my opinion. You know you are going to get hurt in a fight. He’s not completely gone because look at his reaction as soon as he sees that towel.”
And Froch highlighted the little time left in the round to make his point, as per Pro Boxing Fans.
“He was all over the shop. But there was such a small amount of time left in that round, just let the f***ing bell go. Let him hold on and just have a minute with him in the corner. Give him a chance to recover. But it’s split second decisions in top level sport.”
The two fighters turned pundits have now changed their minds after Froch himself spoke to Wood. He released a video to say as much.
“After speaking to Leigh Wood earlier today, he said ‘look, I was gone, my legs were gone.’ Ben Davison knows Leigh Wood better than any of us, he’s in training camp with him. It was a compassionate move by him. I thought initially it was hasty. Looking back on it, listening to Leigh, actually it was the right thing to do. Leigh Wood lives to fight another day.”
Bellew, a former cruiserweight world champion, then used Froch’s video to announce his own opinion change and apologise to Davison.
“Well after seeing this I can only say Ben Davison was right to throw the towel! The one who truly knew was Leigh Wood and he’s told Carl here for all to see! I’m always open and I can only apologise to Ben Davison! You saved your man for another day.”
Well after seeing this I can only say @BenDavison_was right to throw the towel! The one who truly knew was @itsLeighWood and he’s told Carl here for all to see! I’m always open and I can only apologise to Ben Davison! You saved your man for another day 👏pic.twitter.com/CGB1lmZt14
— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) February 20, 2023
As for Wood – the one man whose opinion matters to Davison – he has released a statement to say that he is firmly on the side of his trainer and that he needed ‘saving from himself.’
He has a rematch clause with Lara that’s there to activate should he want another crack at his old belt.