Video: Gross PBC mismatch ends with KO’d fighter leaving on a stretcher

One of the biggest criticisms/reasons for concern regarding Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions series* was that he has a history of his fighters regularly…

By: Mookie Alexander | 8 years ago
Video: Gross PBC mismatch ends with KO’d fighter leaving on a stretcher
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One of the biggest criticisms/reasons for concern regarding Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions series* was that he has a history of his fighters regularly getting ridiculously soft, no-name opponents as a means of building up their brand on television. Danny Garcia vs. Rod Salka was such an egregious mismatch that the WBC literally wouldn’t sanction it as a title defense for Garcia. Salka was viciously decapitated (not literally) in just 2 rounds. PBC on its various networks has had its fair share of legitimately good matchmaking, but far more instances of Haymon fighters being gifted absolute lay-ups on national TV.

* – Per PBC’s own website: “The PBC Series is created for television by Haymon Boxing. Bouts featured within the PBC Series will be promoted by various licensed promoters, with each bout in accordance with applicable regulatory rules and regulations.” Translation: This is how they don’t directly violate the Ali Act by acting as both manager and promoter

So it is on that note that I present to you Saturday afternoon’s actual PBC on NBC main event between middleweight contender Peter Quillin and Australia’s Michael Zerafa. Quillin was pretty damn close to becoming a world champion in April when he fought WBO beltholder Andy Lee, but he missed weight and then wound up drawing vs. the Irishman despite a two-knockdown head start. He actually had the WBO belt before Lee did but was stripped of it when he wouldn’t take a mandatory title defense vs. Matt Korobov, even with a $1.4 million payday awaiting him. His decision-making aside, he’s a consensus top 5-10 middleweight in the world.

Michael Zerafa? He’s a guy. From Australia. His 17-1 record heading into the contest looked nice and shiny, but 11 of his 17 wins had come against opposition who weren’t above the .500 mark, including his bout immediately preceding Quillin. The only time he’d fought outside of his home country was a loss to Arif Magomedov. A good chunk of his fights took place in the 154 lbs division, whereas Quillin is a 160 lbs guy and has been basically forever.

After both men made the 163 lbs catchweight on Friday, Quillin shot up to 182 on Saturday whereas Zerafa was 168 (!). That’s a weight-class difference of two, giving away the fact that this was as big a physical mismatch as it was a skill mismatch. Quillin was a five-digit favorite on some gambling sites, to the surprise of no one.

To Zerafa’s credit, he didn’t come all the way to Connecticut to lie down and let Quillin beat him up. He may have even stolen a round from the underperforming “Kid Chocolate”. But in round 5, well … this was the actual commentary over on Bad Left Hook:

Round 5: LOOK AT ZERAFA FIGHT! Zerafa should not have fought that much, he just got knocked out. Quillin TKO-5

No count was needed. Video of just the KO can be seen at the top of the page, while official highlights of the fight are right above this text you’re reading right now.

Zerafa left the ring on a stretcher and was immediately sent to the hospital for concussion tests and CAT scans. Thankfully, at least according to his manager, he’s okay and didn’t suffer any serious head injuries.

There’s nothing acceptable about this matchmaking, but nothing will change for as long as Al Haymon fighters continue to feature prominently in these “fights”. And yes, to be melodramatic, mismatches like this at the highest level hurt the sport and it shouldn’t be encouraged (go look up Arturo Gatti vs. Joey Gamache). All PBC is doing right now is making HBO’s already great fall lineup look even stronger.

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About the author
Mookie Alexander
Mookie Alexander

Mookie is a former Associate Editor for Bloody Elbow, leaving in August 2022 after ten years as a member of the staff. He's still lurking behind the scenes.

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