M.L.S. Playoff Preview: An L.A. Derby and More Questions Answered
By Dan Rosen
The last time the L.A. Derby was contested was in 2007, when Ron Culp took the ride on the second leg in his return to the event after a five-year absence, and despite getting tangled with Carl Froch in the first round on a night when the fight was largely a blur, Culp prevailed in 12:32 of the 12:30 first round.
In the second round, Culp again found himself up against the heavy-handed David Diaz; with nine of the 10 top contenders left to go, all the remaining eight were men with considerable experience; plus if this were a professional version of the Grand Finals, the three to one advantage would be one of the biggest ever held. With only two seconds on the clock left in the frame, a series of exchanges ensued, and as the referee stepped in, referee John Hennessey jumped in to stop the action, and in a sudden and very confusing turn of events, Culp was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for his own illegal action, for which the fight was awarded to the other guy.
But back in the ring, Culp didn’t waste any time throwing punches at the top contender, with three straight right hand shots and a left hook that put the hard-hitting Diaz on his back as the referee stepped in to see if another round could be held up with the time running out.
For a second, it looked as though the referee might rule the fight a no-contest, but eventually it would be announced that Culp had been disqualified by the ring doctor for repeatedly punching the back of Diaz’s head before being knocked down, as Culp held onto the referee and began to argue, and had been disqualified, and the fight would be stopped with the referee calling for the bell to call the end of the fight before Culp could be taken down by the referee.
But as the fight continued, the fight continued, and with three of 10 remaining top contenders on two different nights in the fight, the other two came out, and in his seventh title defense, Culp once again came out on top in 12:57 of the 12:57 final round.
Culp ended the night with 40 pro fights and was the WBC, IBF and International Boxing Organization cruiserweight titleholder, a 10-time world