Buzzer Beater: Montiel KOs Hasegawa

What a great fight between Fernando Montiel of Mexico and Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan! The Japanese crowd was solidly behind their guy who was defending his title for the 11th straight time. They went wild every time Hasegawa threw a punch, not minding if these landed or not.

Towards the end of the fourth round, Montiel caught Hasegawa with two short lefts that stunned the Japanese. Hasegawa’s legs wobbled and Montiel went in for the kill. Hasegawa’s bravado got the better of him as he hooked his left glove to the middle rope, not wanting to be knocked down. But this enabled Montiel to get off about 15 straight shots without a reply so referee Laurence Cole (we all remember him as the one who declared that Pacquiao was knocked down against Barrera when he clearly slipped) to call a halt to the bout with one second left in the fourth round.

This was a heartbreaking loss for Hasegawa and Japan. He isn’t the only Japanese champion but he was definitely their favorite fighter. The pain of losing by knockout in front of your hometown crowd will take a while to heal. If only Hasegawa took a knee instead of trying to tough it out, he would have survived that fight.

This fight kind of reminded me about the legendary fight between Meldrick Taylor and Julio Caesar Chavez where the referee stopped the bout with two seconds left in the fight. A fight that Taylor was clearly winning.

The difference is that Montiel was all over Hasegawa in this fight while Chavez was about 10 steps away from Taylor in that fight, as Taylor was given a mandatory eight count.

At  first glance, I thought that Cole stopped the fight too early, but when I watched it again, it was clear to me that he could have stopped it after Montiel’s fifth punch when Hasegawa was already on the ropes as the champion was not intelligently defending himself.

I hope Hasegawa has a rematch clause because I definitely want to watch this fight again. Hopefully, fights like these get shown on Philippine TV because these would definitely attract more fans for the sweet science.

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