Ringside Riddles: Usyk vs Dubois - The Controversy Continues
The heavyweight division witnessed another round of intense discussions and debate following this weekend’s fight. Daniel Dubois, despite being perceived as the underdog, stepped into the ring against Oleksandr Usyk with the ambition to upset expectations. The backdrop to this fight was Dubois’ 2020 loss to Joe Joyce, where many believed he “quit,” overlooking his fractured eye socket and subsequent torn ACL.
The match might have ended in Usyk’s favor, but the focal point remains the fifth-round event, where Dubois seemed to have scored a knockdown which was not officially recognized.
The specific sequence saw Dubois capitalizing on a moment, slipping past an Usyk hook, delivering a powerful punch which landed on Usyk’s waistband, resulting in Usyk going down. The referee, Luis Pabon, immediately ruled it a low blow. This decision has become a central point of contention.
Post the punch, Usyk took significant time on the canvas, partly voluntarily to recover, and partly because Pabon was insistent. When action finally resumed, it culminated in a ninth-round stoppage in favor of Usyk.
Reactions post-fight were divisive. Some commentators and fans argue that Dubois was unfairly deprived of a knockdown. However, suggesting that Dubois was denied a title win might be a stretch. While it’s evident that Usyk was on the ground for a duration longer than ten seconds, it’s challenging to determine if the decision to stay down was influenced by the referee’s call.
Former junior middleweight titleholder, Liam Smith, shared his perspective on Twitter, indicating that while Usyk did utilize his recovery time, it remains uncertain if he would have continued if the punch was counted as a legal knockdown.
Dubois has experienced both sides of referee decisions. His knockout victory against Kevin Lerena was considered debatable due to the perceived hasty stoppage by the referee.
The Dubois-Usyk bout will inevitably join the annals of boxing debates. Despite the official outcome, Dubois has emerged with heightened support. A significant number of fans, fighters, and experts now view him as an uncrowned champion or, at the very least, someone who was deprived of a fair chance at the title.
Such disputes, while not conclusive, can amplify a boxer’s appeal and bargaining power, especially in a sport driven by public sentiment.