Dear Jessie: Your stay in the penthouse has been extended

By Dennis Taylor on June 29, 2015
Dear Jessie: Your stay in the penthouse has been extended

Immortality through the back door ... Jessie Vargas has every right to be frustrated that referee Pat Russell deprived him of the final seven seconds of his 12-round fight against Timothy Bradley, thereby robbing him of the chance to score one of the most-dramatic knockouts in boxing history.
Too his credit, Vargas forgave Russell for making “an honest mistake” during the postfight interviews—a classy move—but, secretly, he also should feel thankful.
We’ll never know whether he would have finished Bradley in those final seven seconds, particularly after considering Bradley’s history of surviving similar peril.
But, here’s the thing:
Had the fight lasted to the final bell with Bradley still there, Vargas still would have been outpointed without controversy, thereby losing (at least temporarily) his right to stare eye-to-eye with the top welterweights in the world.
Thanks to Russell’s blunder, he certainly has some right to claim he should still be undefeated.
So, you’re welcome, Jessie. Your stay in the boxing’s penthouse has been extended, and Uncle Pat is paying the tab.
Meanwhile, the haters need to cut Russell some slack. He’s been an excellent referee for a very long time. He owned the mistake immediately, as soon as Max Kellerman asked him about it, and he honestly and effectively explained how and why it happened: The joint was noisy and he thought he heard a bell. Which rhymes with, Oh, well.
The 30-plus-year officiating veteran, now 67, also announced after the fight that this will be his final year in the ring, maybe out of embarassment over what certainly must have felt like the worst moment of his professional career.
A top referee’s reputation took a broadside hit—no doubt. It was a screw-up for the ages. But this shouldn’t be Pat Russell’s legacy. He deserves to be remembered among the best of California’s championship-caliber refs. He’s earned that respect.
And Vargas? Instead of a tumble down the hill, he probably gets a do-over against a guy who whooped on him for almost 12 rounds. Plus, an otherwise-forgettable event becomes immortalized with a spot on that Meldrick Taylor-Julio Cesar Chavez list.

Oscar’s Golden years ... Thanks, Oscar, for announcing that you’re going to stay retired. You are allowing us to remember you as the truly great fighter you were, as opposed to a chubby, bloody novelty act getting bludgeoned by Floyd Mayweather Jr. You’ve done every body a favor, including yourself.

Life in the fast lane ... No doubt, Floyd Mayweather Jr. has earned the nickname he chose for himself. “Money” and Manny rank 1-2 on Forbes Magazine’s list of the highest-paid celebrities of 2015 (Katie Perry iis No. 3), and Floyd celebrated by treating himself to a $6.3-million supercar—a Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita, one of only three in the world.
The car goes zero-to-60 in 3 seconds,with a top speed of 250 mph.

Dennis Taylor, editor/publisher of and host of The Ringside Boxing Show, is the author of two books. “The Miracle Myth” is an award-winning humor novel, and “A Puncher’s Chance” is a non-fiction boxing book. Read sample chapters and order both books at

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