Torres denies taking a dive
It was humiliating enough that Juan Torres was sent sprawling face first to the canvas by one of the world’s most promising junior welterweights on Friday night. But then ESPN2 boxing announcers Teddy Atlas and Bob Papa cut up South Lake Tahoe’s prize pugilist with a flurry of postfight accusations questioning his desire to fight the unbeaten Judah.
Judah (20-0) stopped the 30-year-old Torres with a short right hook 1 minute, 20 seconds into their 10-round junior welterweight bout at the Grand Casino in Tunica, Miss. Torres remained face down on the canvas throughout the referee’s 10 count, but quickly rose to his feet once he had been counted out.
His quick recovery from the knockout brought out some harsh criticism from Atlas, the former trainer from Michael Moorer.
“The thing I have a problem with is he’s laying there like he’s completely out of it, and once 10 is counted, all of a sudden he’s recovered. He really didn’t need help getting up and he wasn’t staggering,” Atlas began. “The recovery time at the point it took place is a little suspect. It looked like his intent was to hear the 10 count. It was a clean punch … on the tip of the chin … only he knows for sure. It didn’t look like he made a fighter’s effort.”
Torres denied all of Atlas’ suspicisions on Sunday after returning to his training camp in San Diego.
“I guess I’m the only one who knows how it feels to be knocked out like that. Opinions are just like (butts), everyone has one,” he said. “Some family members have doubts that I really got knocked out. I can reassure them and anybody else that I tried to get up but I couldn’t.
“I’m not the type to take a dive for any amount of money. I think everybody there was thinking I took a dive, but when you’re out, you’re out.”
Torres claims he jumped to his feet because he thought he heard the referee’s count reach nine.
“I remember him saying, ‘Nine’ and jumping up and telling him that I was OK, but he said he already counted to 10. But when I got back to my corner and they were taking off the gloves I wasn’t completely there yet,” Torres said.
In his brief pro career, the 21-year-old Judah of Brooklyn, N.Y., has thrived on early round knockouts, with 15 in 20 fights. Eleven of his KOs have come in the first or second rounds.
“I would have liked to fight a few more rounds to show the fans that Zab Judah is the real deal. But unfortunately God blessed me with this beautiful first-round knockout, and I can’t help that,” Judah told an ESPN2 audience.
When Torres, who has been knocked down in the first round in his past three fights, didn’t quickly rise from Judah’s straight left and follow-up right hook, the winner thought a scheme was under way.
“I looked at him to make sure (he was out). I thought he was playing games or something,” Judah said. “I don’t pick the opponents. I just go in there to fight.”
Before Judah landed his eighth career first-round KO, Torres was effectively trading punches with the top-rated International Boxing Federation junior welterweight contender.
Torres won’t be allowed back into the ring for 45 days because of the knockout. He’s looking to resume his 4-year-old professional career in the lightweight class (135 pounds) in early June.
“You can’t end like that, because I’ll be right back where I started, wondering what would have happened,” Torres said. “If I stop now I’ll feel like a failure. If I would have gotten beaten up by a no-name I would think about retiring. This guy’s record is no fluke. Zab has a lot of talent.”
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