Anthony Bonsante: “The ref made a ball call, but they will never admit it!”
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr., Doghouse Boxing (Aug 8, 2008)  
Last Friday night, ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights was the stage for a bizarre incident involving The Contender’s Anthony Bonsante 31-10-3 (18) who was stopped by the unbeaten Adonis Stevenson 12-0 (9) in just forty-six seconds of the opening round.

The two squared off against one another, both simultaneously threw punches and Bonsante went down from a grazing left hand. Bonsante would lay there motionless with his eyes closed tight as referee Gerry Bolen administered the mandatory eight count. Around six Bolen began to waive the fight off and at the same time Bonsante jumped up to his feet yelling, “I am up!”

The two began to argue about the situation and regardless of whether Bonsante was actually hurt or not (I think not), Bolen decided to call a halt to the bout giving Stevenson his twelfth consecutive win and sending Bonsante back to the States with a disappointing loss.

In this exclusive interview conducted by Doghouse Boxing, Bonsante speaks out on the bizarre incident and gives his side of the story. Enjoy!

Benny Henderson Jr.: Last Friday night on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights, there was a weird encounter in the fight between you and Stevenson, walk the fans through the events from your perspective.

Anthony Bonsante:
Well, I hit Stevenson with a left hook and simultaneously he caught me with a straight left hand. He did not hit me flush, he just grazed my face, but I went down. I heard the official time keeper, not the referee, but I picked up the time keeper’s count up at two, I heard the referee pick the count up at four and he counted to six and started waiving me off. I get up and I said what are you doing and he said your eyes were closed, I said I am OK, he said you are OK now, I told him that I was supposed to get an eight count, you have to give me a standing eight count. He said no you were hurt, I was like no I am not do I look hurt. I think the referee made a bad call because he should of made me stand up asked me if I was OK, take two steps forward. If I take two steps forward then and only then should he give me the judgment call if I was OK or not, he made a bad call.

BH: Were you hurt anytime during the fight?

No I was not hurt at all, if you see when I fell, if I was knocked out or unconscious I would not of been able to catch myself with my hands behind me. I got up about five and a half seconds, the referee stopped his waive off momentarily, and made the wrong call. He could if called off his own call, he could of reversed his call and let me fight, that is what he should of done. He made a judgment call based on his experience, which I do not know where he got that from. He was a Canadian ref, it was a Canadian boxer, and I do not know if there is anything going on there or not.

BH: The question is, why would you lay there with your eyes closed, what was going through your mind?

OK Benny, that is fine, that is perfectly acceptable question, but, where is the rules that say that I cannot lay there with my eyes closed and deliberate whether to get up at four, six or eight, don’t I get a mandatory eight count? Even if my eyes are closed, I don’t hear the count or get up at eight he counts me out at ten, four seconds is not going to save my life whether he stops it at six or ten, what is the difference if he counts me out? He should of counted me out, if he was that concerned with my safety why did he not call a doctor in?

BH: Let’s just say that you were in referee Bolen’s shoes and was watching a fighter who took a shot laying there with his eyes closed, let’s be brutally honest Anthony, what would you do if you were in his position?

I will put it to you straight, regardless of who the fighter is, a personal relationship with or a personal issue with or not, I would of counted to ten and counted his ass out. Then I would of brought a doctor in and tell them to pay attention to this fighter. Or as a referee, I would have said Tony you have to show me something, that referee did not say one thing but he just kept counting. If he would have said you have to show me something or I am going to call the fight, I would have gotten up right away. You are given the eight count, take it. Collect your thoughts and head, regain your strength and get up. The ref made a snap call which was the wrong call. I thought that I would get the mandatory eight count.

BH: What now?

I am pretty sure that I will get a thirty day suspension out of this but I have a fight in September and I am going to take it. I mean because that fight, I mean yeah I got a lose, but that punch did not hurt me, I was clear as a bell when I got out of that fight. The doctor looked at me in the locker room and he said I do not need to make an evaluation, you are perfectly fine.

BH: Let’s say that you were in that same position again would you do differently this time?

Well I guess I would have to jump up at two.

BH: Keep your eyes open right. (Laughing) Just kidding man.

Yeah, I guess if I had to do it again I would not of closed my eyes and thought about it, when you are in thought sometimes you close your eyes, I guess I cannot think with my eyes closed.

BH: Would you like to rematch with Stevenson or would it not be worth it?

No disrespect to Stevenson, he landed a nice punch, but if you watch the fight I landed a pretty solid left hook. I think that if I would have had the opportunity to continue I would have got to him, I seen some weaknesses in him in just the forty five seconds. He was a sucker for left hook, after that you fake a lead left hook and throw a straight right hand, and I do not know if he has a good chin. I don’t know if I should be fighting at super middleweight, because clearly you could see that Stevenson was much bigger than me.

BH: Anything in closing?

I wish Stevenson the best of luck, he has a future ahead of him, I just wish that I could have had a fair opportunity to show everyone what I was made of. I would like to thank the fans that support me and that keep supporting me because I have another fight coming up, I am not done yet.

BH: I hear that Gerry Bolen will be available to referee your next fight. (Laughing)

Yeah OK, good. I would rather have my daughter referee a fight than him. I had two commissioners tell me after the fight that I could of continued, I am like oh really maybe I should file an appeal.

BH: Have you thought about that?

Yes I have thought about it, but it is a $500 non-refundable appeal and granted I am an US citizen and they are going to stand behind their referee. They are never going to admit that he was wrong.

I would like to thank Anthony Bonsante for his time and thoughts.

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