A few weeks ago in this series we covered a foul fest that saw the right guy winning a clear decision. That was a bout where the man committing the fouls managed to rile everyone up, and whilst he had fouled through out the bout it was really a final round melt down that highlighted the contest. Today we look at a different type of foul fest. One where the fans are well and truly behind the man breaking the rules, and where the man breaking the rules, is getting away with it.
Amazingly this isn't just a foul fest, but also a bout where the judges seem to be in on things as well, with some questionable score cards, a referee that seems scared to take points and a local favourite who seems to know he can get away with anything.
Amnat Ruenroeng (13-0, 5) vs McWilliams Arroyo (15-1, 13)
Before we get to this bout we need to get to the back story of this one and go back to 2013. That was the year that Moruti Mthalane twice saw bouts with Silvio Olteanu fall through. After those bouts collapsed Mthalane was ordered to take on the then unknown Thai Amnat Ruenroeng, who had been a good amateur but done nothing as a professional. The purse bid for Mthalane Vs Ruenroeng was pathetic, but their was no money in the bout. As a result Mthalane gave up the belt, rather than travel to Thailand for pittance.
In December 2013 McWilliams arroyo was also having problems. He had seen his scheduled bout with Rocky Fuentes be delayed, then was cancelled all together in January 2014 when Fuentes failed to get a visa. That was supposed to be a world title eliminator.
With those bouts falling through we ended up getting a make shift bout in January 2014 that saw Amnat defeat Fuentes for the IBF Flyweight title, in a bout that was put together on very short notice. It wasn't a great bout, but was a big win for the Thai who was now the new world champion. Amnat followed that up by travelling to Japan and beating Kazuto Ioka, in a massive win.
Having seen his bout with Fuentes fall through Arroyo would fight in June 2014, in an IBF Flyweight world title eliminator, where he beat Froilan Saludar to set up a clash with Amnat for the title.
So overall it took us around 10 months to get to this bout but we got there in the end....and the wasn't worth it. At all.
The bout started slowly, both men trying to figure out what the other hand and eased their way into the contest. There was nothing spectacular to begin with, as both men pumped out their jabs. It looked like Arroyo was the stronger fighter whilst Amnat was the slightly quicker, but there wasn't much in it at all early on. Amnat probably did enough to the take first round but did better in rounds 2 and 3 as he established an early lead.
Then the bout started to fall apart. Arroyo had a very good round 4, as Amnat began to try and protect his lead, rather than extend it. He began holding, excessively. Every few seconds in round 4 the Thai smothered, held and did his best cuddly octopus impression. The holding didn't really help slow down Arroyo's pressure and the challenger's success grew, dropping Amnat in round 6 to completely get rid of Amnat's early lead.
It was following the knockdown that the bout totally fell apart.
The clinching became more and more regular, with Amnat trying to sap the ambition and fire out out of Arroyo. Referee, Pat Russell, repeatedly told Amnat to stop, but didn't take any points from the Thai. In fact not only did he refuse to take points but it wasn't until round 10 that he even gave a firm warning. Even after the warning the messy tactics, holding, spoiling and wrestling continued from Amnat, who was warned but never saw a point being taken.
After 12 rounds the bout could have gone either way. Arroyo defintely tried to make the fight, and had real success in the middle of the bout, but the good start by Amnat and the ugly frustrating end of the bout saw him neutralise Arroyo well. But it had been completely ruined by the holding, poor refereeing of Pat Russell and the refusal to take points, in an effort to clean things up.
When we went to the judges the they all turned in scores of 114-113, twice, to Amnat and once to Arroyo to give Amnat the decision. It wasn't a terrible score, but certainly seemed to be influenced by the judges and location of the fight. A single point deduction, which is the least we would have expected, would have seen the turn in a split draw but in reality Amnat could have had 2 or 3 points taken for the repeated holding.
Annoying had we managed to avoid all the clinching, and the very messy portions of the fight, this would have been a brilliant fight. There was a lot of exciting back and forth to talk about, but that was massively over shadowed by the negativity of Amnat between the exciting bursts of action.
Rather notably this wasn't the only controversial bout featuring Amnat, and we will certainly be discussing a much more controversial bout in the future. Though that's for the next future Controversial Clashes!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features