Rules of the Game: Jack Reiss Exclusive on Bryant Perrella Stoppage
By Caryn A. Tate on February 19, 2020
“So why would I not stop it now if he’s in that condition?” (Stephanie Trapp/TrappFotos)
Last Saturday, February 15, a Premier Boxing Champions card took place in Nashville, Tennessee. Headlined by Caleb Plant vs. Vincent Feigenbutz, the event was televised on FOX in the United States. The co-feature was a 10-round welterweight bout between Bryant Perrella (17-3, 14 KOs) and Abel Ramos (26-3-2, 20 KOs). Veteran referee Jack Reiss officiated the contest.
For most of the fight, Perrella soundly outboxed Ramos. In the later rounds, though, Ramos began to apply more effective pressure and Perrella had a harder time keeping his opponent off of him.
In the tenth and final round, Ramos dropped Perrella with a sneaky left uppercut. Perrella rose immediately despite clearly being hurt, while referee Reiss finished the Mandatory Eight Count. Shortly after action resumed, a shaky Perrella was knocked down again, this time by Ramos’ right hand. Perrella stood immediately again.
Reiss again issued Perrella a count, but when he ordered the fighter walk to the side and return back to Reiss (to check that the fighter has full motor control), Perrella kept walking away. Reiss repeated the command to come back to him. Perrella continued walking away, then stumbled. Reiss waved off the fight.
In the aftermath, there has been some controversy surrounding the stoppage because there was one second left in the round (and the fight) when Reiss stopped it. Some have cried foul and insisted Reiss should have allowed the fight to continue considering there was only a second remaining. Others have said Reiss did the right thing because Perrella didn’t obey his instruction.
Either way, most people are either overlooking or unaware of the real reason.
“I knew [there was only one second remaining] because I heard the 10 second warning and I knew we were coming down to the end,” Jack Reiss explained. “So if I would have said, ‘OK, you ready to go? Box,’ and the bell rang, he wouldn’t have taken another punch.
“People are criticizing me for the clock. The clock’s not the issue. The reason I stopped the fight is because a long time before it happened, I thought about what I would do in that situation. The bottom line is: if there was no clock involved and that guy could no longer intelligently defend himself, I would stop the fight, right? Which means the other fighter earned a TKO victory.
So why would I not stop it now if he’s in that condition? The other fighter earned the TKO victory. I can’t cheat and say, ‘Let’s let the clock run out. Let’s go to the scorecards.’ I would be cheating the other fighter (Ramos, in this case).
“That situation was the exact demonstration of why the rule is in place that says: You cannot be saved by the bell in any round.”
Reiss is referring to the tenth rule in the unified rules of boxing, which are in place for any fights that fans see on television. It reads: “A boxer who has been knocked down cannot be saved by the bell in any round.”
Reiss continued, “The public doesn’t understand that if he was on the ground and I was counting, the bell wouldn’t ring and I would count him out. He was on his feet but still unable to intelligently defend himself.
“If [Perrella] would’ve shown me anything that I could have worked with, to say, ‘OK give me your gloves, let’s go,” I would have. I said, ‘walk that way and come back to me,’ and he just kept going and stumbled—how could I have turned around and said, ‘OK, box’?
“Ramos earned the TKO victory. I don’t want to steal from him. If I did just stall and let the clock run out, his camp would have had a beautiful argument (to file a protest). So no matter what I did, I was gonna be wrong according to somebody.
“But I can live with myself because I know I did the right thing.”