Photos by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
FT. WASHINGTON, Md.—Boxing is a sport, but it isn’t game.
Those in attendance at Rosecroft Raceway on Friday for the latest show from Keystone Boxing were reminded of that fact at the end of the night, when Regino Canales of Puerto Rico was carried out of the ring on a stretcher following his stoppage loss to headliner Mike “Yes Indeed” Reed.
It was a frightening end to another formidable performance from the unbeaten junior welterweight. Reed started the fight stalking his opponent from the southpaw stance as usual. Canales would occasionally halt Reed’s advance with a combinations, but Reed’s body attack and jab were the main story. Caneles fought gamely for the first two rounds, but Reed had him on his heels by the third round. He hammered the visitor around the ring, delivering crunching blows to the body.
The body attack continued in the fourth, and my liver hurt just watching it from the mat. Canales was trapped in the corner and eventually went down after a particularly ferocious combination. Somehow he rose, but Reed kept up the non-stop attack for most of the round. Canales held on desperately to survive until the bell, but he was clearly in bad shape. The referee or his corner could have easily stopped the fight in the 4th.
After the round, I noticed Reed celebrating in his corner and assumed correctly the fight had been stopped. As I stood on the mat to photograph the victor, I noticed Caneles tumbling off his stool from the corner of my eye. Medical personnel rushed over as Canales appeared to convulse once, then lay motionless on the canvas. After a long, tense period he eventually sat up to applause, then was placed back on his back and carried out via stretcher.
Keystone Boxing posted on Facebook today that Canales has been treated and released from a local hospital; we are hoping to get an update as soon as possible. Our thoughts and prayers are with Canales, and all the other fighters who put their lives on the line far from home and their loved ones. Bearing witness to these scenes is the most unpleasant part of running a site such as this, but also the primary reason we keep it going, despite the time and resources it requires. If professional fighting is something we are going to tolerate as a society, someone should be watching and holding the officials in charge accountable.