Dakota Linger scored a monumental upset victory by stopping Josue Vargas at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday night.
The 13-5-3 fighter from West Virginia was brought in to help make Vargas look good as he continues to rebuild after a first-round knockout loss to Josh Taylor’s next opponent, Jose Zepeda.
Things didn’t go to plan as Linger stopped the heavily favored Vargas in two rounds on Edgar Berlanga’s undercard against Alexis Angulo.
Ominously, referee Ron Lipton could and should have stepped in to call off the fight much sooner than he actually did.
After 40 seconds of round two, Linger landed a huge forehand that rocked Vargas to his boots. The 24-year-old attempted to stay on his feet before falling to the ground, only to have the referee call it a slip.
Vargas was clearly hurt when he got up and his opponent knew it. Linger came out swinging and after about a minute of unanswered shots, he finally forced Vargas to the ground and through the ropes.
This time the referee decided to give the Puerto Rican a count, but the fight really should have been called off as he looked off as he got back to his feet.
Vargas was wobbly and stumbling in the neutral corner, but was allowed to fight and take more unnecessary punishment.
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Another 20 seconds passed and the referee continued to hesitate causing panic in the arena. New York State Commission inspectors and ringside physicians eventually climbed onto the ring apron and ordered him to end the fight.
This disturbing scene comes just days after the death of South African boxer Simiso Buthelezi after his fight with Siphesihle Mntungwa ended in disturbing circumstances.
On his way to a decision victory, Buthelezi had to be stopped by the referee for throwing punches in the air and apparently fighting an unseen opponent.
The 24-year-old was taken to hospital and placed in an induced coma, but on Wednesday sent shockwaves through the boxing community when it was announced he had died.
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