Michael Dokes vs. Mike Weaver (December 10, 1982)
“They shouldn’t have stopped it. The referee was wrong. Weaver was fine. The fact is he’s just a notoriously slow starter.” — Dr. Donald Romeo, the ringside physician.
…the referee “panicked.” — Sugar Ray Leonard, HBO commentator
When a slow starter meets a fast starter, the potential for an early explosion is high, and that was the case here.
When Dokes entered the ring, he threw six red roses to the crowd as was his weird wont. As soon as the bell rang, Dokes stormed after the popular Weaver, a notoriously slow starter. Then, just twenty seconds into the fight, Dokes staggered Weaver with a left hook and then dropped him with a follow-up hook.
Weaver got up quickly and did not appear to be badly hurt. After taking the mandatory eight count, the Adonis-physiqued Mike covered up on the ropes and Dokes went straight for the kill. He got it at the 1:03 mark as referee Joey Curtis stopped the fight awarding the Don King fighter the World title. The stunned and angry crowd began to boo and then chanted “Bullshit! Bullshit!” and “Fix! Fix!” Meanwhile, a brawl broke out in the ring between supporters of the two fighters.
Dokes had demanded the championship belt that Weaver had worn into the ring, and Weaver’s brother swiped at Dokes, causing the mini-mayhem. The brawling camps and the crowd’s growing disgruntlement persuaded ring announcer Chuck Hall that it would be prudent if he did not announce the TKO, and he quickly left the arena. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01kQU-FMog0
The fight took place four weeks after the fatal Mancini-Kim bout, and referee Curtis was told by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to beware of a fighter’s health during the match.Curtis had been chosen as the referee the morning of the fight at a meeting of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and said they discussed the Deuk Koo Kim tragedy at the meeting. Kim, a South Korean lightweight, died the previous month after a championship fight with Ray Mancini.
“Kim was all they stressed at that meeting,” he said. “And Kim was always in the back of my head.” A day later, Roy Tennison, executive secretary of the commission, said, “I think the ref overreacted because of all the safety talk.”
The WBA ordered a rematch. This one ended in a controversial draw after which the always quotable Dokes exclaimed, “I’ll fight anybody, as long as it isn’t Weaver. They’ll have to strip my title first.”