Re: Tyson v Ruddock 1 - a fair stoppage?
Yes it was a bit early. However, since when was refereeing boxing matches an exact science? That situation was particularly tricky and there is trememendous room for error. In fact, you hear much more often about ring deaths and late stoppages than early stoppages - this is because of frequency and not just because the former is a much greater concern than the latter.
Steele was definitely within the bounds of error and for this alone I don't criticize him at all - Ruddock is just one of those weird guys who has a habit of getting his ass kicked real bad and regularly - doesn't have the energy or ability to really fight back and indicate to the ref that he is with his senses - but does have enough energy to bitch about the stoppage as soon as it is over. Are you going to argue against the stoppages of Morrison, Smith, and Lewis? He got up for all 3 - appearing to continue and was even able to immediately bitch about it. Common sense indicates that he was in grave danger with a follow up punch from those opponents if allowed to continue. I say this more to emphasize that Ruddock is a tricky fighter to judge when he's out on his feet. Ruddock had not answered to more than a handful of Tyson's punches at that time. Also, this was NOT a championship fight.
I do think that those punches were doing serious damage - they weren't exactly "grazing" IMO - they were definitely landing with authority and very quickly in combinations - this was very reminiscent of the Pinklon Thomas KO (my favorite Tyson KO although Botha KO is special for its suspense). We were deprived of a spectacular KO of Ruddock with combinations - but I don't hold Steele responsible for it as he was within bounds and it ain't an exact science.
I will say that fans bring this issue too much without acknowledging that Ruddock was indeed getting his ass kicked severely, that to AVOID overrating Tyson or giving him too much credit, people overreact to some of the success that Ruddock experienced with his power. Tyson was no anywhere near getting WOBBLED (stunned at best) let alone losing by KO. Ruddock's chances of winning were the equivalent of lightning hitting you. Now unless your the guy my friend knew who was hit by lightning three times AND his dog was also hit once, you see my drift. Ruddock should be thankful to Steele from saving him from an ass kicking that could have taken even more from him permanently and could have avoided a big payday in the rematch.