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10 Worst Calls in Sports History


8
Two Seconds From Championship
Meldrick Taylor (R) looked so dazed and bloody in the 12th round that the referee ended the fight early, which meant a win for opponent Julio Cesar Chavez. Unfortunately just two seconds remained and Taylor had been ahead on points. The Ring Magazine/Getty Images
Meldrick Taylor (R) looked so dazed and bloody in the 12th round that the referee ended the fight early, which meant a win for opponent Julio Cesar Chavez. Unfortunately just two seconds remained and Taylor had been ahead on points. The Ring Magazine/Getty Images

This 1990 fight was the light welterweight championship bout between the undefeated Mexican titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez and the young American Olympic gold medalist Meldrick Taylor. Both men hammered each other mercilessly for 11 rounds, with Taylor landing more clean punches but absorbing punishing blows to the head and kidneys from Chavez [source: Mulvaney].

In the 12th and final round, the scorecards had Taylor ahead on points, but Chavez landed a series of jabs that dropped Taylor to his knees, and then, stumbling for the ropes, onto his back. Veteran referee Richard Steele counted to eight before Taylor regained his footing, still bleeding heavily from an open cut over his eye.

Steele asked Taylor if he was OK, but Taylor didn't answer, looking instead to his trainer [source: Mulvaney]. Steele went with his gut and called the fight immediately. But would he have chosen differently if he'd known that there were only two seconds on the clock?

Two seconds until the end of the fight.

Boxing fans were outraged, arguing that Chavez couldn't have inflicted any further damage in those final two seconds. Taylor, they screamed, was robbed. Steele — who was booed at every remaining fight he officiated — might have had good reason to make the bad call. Taylor was hospitalized after the fight with broken orbital bones around his left eye, serious blood loss and internal bleeding around his kidneys [source: Mulvaney].