By Gabriel F. Cordero
Puerto Rican referee Luis Pabon has taken some heat from boxing fans, social media and boxing pundits who feel he made a premature stoppage of the fight between former champions Daniel Ponce de Leon and Juan Manuel Lopez at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico Saturday night.
In a telephone conversation, Pabon said he respects those who are criticizing him for stopping the fight, but he wants to explain what happened earlier in the round and that he had to take all this into consideration.
Luis Pabon: “I know the history of Ponce De Leon and Juan Manuel Lopez, the kind of fight they were having and the power of their punches. Well I’m sorry that I have to say and confirm that it was a good stoppage. I’ve learned to live with this. I’m a sensitive person and I understand that boxing is two rival corners and sometimes it’s not easy to understand these decisions. Also this was a rematch and there were many mixed emotions. Some say that Ponce De Leon could have continued but he didn’t go down in the best way. Ponce was stumbling, woozy and getting hammered. That was what I thought to stop. Before criticizing the performance of a referee in this situation, remember that we are there to protect the life of the boxer, not to get caught up in the emotions of the fight.”