Venezuelan fighter Cristian Baez paid a heavy price for failing to remember one of the most important rules in boxing: protect yourself at all times.
In an incident that has divided the fight world, Baez was brutally knocked out by Ruben Torres a split second after the pair touched gloves during the seventh round.
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Both fighters scored knockdowns during what was a brutal lightweight showdown in California on Sunday morning (AEST).
However, controversy erupted in round seven after Torres landed a knockdown with a vicious straight right hand.
A stunned Baez got up from the canvas after being given the all-clear to continue from the referee, before making the mistake of trying to touch gloves with his opponent.
Torres barely made contact with his opponent's glove before capitalising on Baez's lapse in concentration by immediately clocking him with a left hook to the face.
Baez dropped to the canvas like a sack of potatoes, leaving commentators in shock and viewers debating the legitimacy of the knockout.
Despite criticism from boxing fans that it was an unsporting tactic, Torres defending his actions by insisting his opponent should have been ready for anything.
“They always say protect yourself at all times,” Torres said.
“This is boxing and fighters like myself are always on the attack. The referee gave the signal to start fighting again and I came out guns blazing, especially after I knocked him down.
"I hit him with a left hook and that was it, the fight was over. I’m ready to move on to bigger and better fights as I march up the rankings.”
Boxing world divided over Ruben Torres KO
PBC on Fox producer Mark Ortega said that assessment from Torres was a "lie" because he did touch gloves - albeit extremely briefly - with Baez.
“He went to touch gloves and then immediately uncorked the KO blow. Guns blazing would’ve been not touching gloves. Legal, but dirty,” Ortega tweeted.
The controversial incident certainly left its mark in the boxing world, with fans debating whether or not it was a fair move by Torres.
You’re in a 1-1 war.
It’s kill or be killed.
The sports says keep your guard up at all times, Ruben Torres caught him lacking. https://t.co/xCB5DXMnj1
— - (@philoqynist) August 24, 2022
"Legal, but dirty": Watch Ruben Torres KO Cristian Baez with an out-of-nowhere punch immediately after they touch gloves https://t.co/NHZMppt62E
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) August 24, 2022
“The referee gave the signal to start fighting again and I came out guns blazing.” This is a lie from Ruben Torres. He went to touch gloves and then immediately uncorked the KO blow. Guns blazing would’ve been not touching gloves.
Legal, but dirty.https://t.co/4P6gKCIivf https://t.co/alQyZttcCW
— Mark Ortega (@MarkEOrtega) August 23, 2022
— Michael rueda (@wolf2988) August 21, 2022
A little dirty by Ruben Torres. But what a KO
— Ruben (@Ruben83016295) August 21, 2022
— TRU Boxing Headz (@TRUBoxingHeadz) August 21, 2022
Don't know much about boxing but this was definitely dirty https://t.co/SfG1cb18yv
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) August 24, 2022
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