The California State Athletic Commission overturned Timothy Bradley's victory over Nate Campbell on Monday, ruling the bout a no-contest due to an injury caused by an accidental clash of heads.
In a meeting attended by both fighters, the commission determined a head-butt led to a deep cut above Campbell's left eye, which forced the 140-pound fight for Bradley's WBO title to be stopped after three rounds Aug. 1 in Rancho Mirage. Bradley initially was awarded a TKO victory by referee David Mendoza, who believed the cut came from a punch.
Spokesman Luis Farias confirmed the CSAC's decision to The Associated Press, saying the commission found grounds in the California Code of Regulations to take the rare step of overturning a fight's results.
The commission apparently reviewed slow-motion replays which showed a significant head-butt at the point where Campbell's cut opened. A fight that must be stopped because of an accidental head-butt before four rounds are completed is a no-contest, according to California's boxing rules.
Campbell promoter Don King hailed the ruling, which removes a sixth loss from Campbell's record and denies the undefeated Bradley his 25th win.
"The fairest outcome of all is the one they chose, where neither fighter's record is blemished from a match that was halted early due to an accidental clash of heads," King said.
Bradley promoter Alex Camponovo wasn't terribly pleased with the ruling, but also wasn't surprised.
"(Campbell) found a loophole, and that's OK, more power to him," Camponovo told the AP in a phone interview from Hungary. "That's why he's a veteran of the game, and he's going to find any possible loophole."
Bradley keeps his belt and his purse, but the champion undoubtedly will be frustrated. The Palm Springs-area native dominated the fight just outside his hometown at the Agua Caliente Resort and Casino, battering Campbell while winning each round on every judge's scorecard.
The 37-year-old Campbell claimed he was robbed after the fight was stopped, saying he couldn't see well enough to fight after the head-butt.
"I don't know about how they'll spin it, but I can't blame them for it," said Camponovo, who is attending the WBO convention in Budapest. "If we had the same situation and it was against us, and Timothy was cut, and it was due to a head butt, I would go after the commission and try to overturn it."
Campbell's camp already has made noise about a rematch with Bradley, but Camponovo suggested Campbell shouldn't wait by the phone after the fighters' largely one-sided first bout.
"I'm sure they're trying to say they want to have a rematch, but I don't see the benefit in giving him another nice payday," Camponovo said. "To me, he quit, and it was pretty obvious. As far as spinning it into a possible rematch, I don't see that at all, but if any network would like to pay for it, we'll sit down and figure it out."
Camponovo said Bradley's next fight is more likely to be a mandatory title defense against Lamont Peterson, the WBO interim champion. Bradley also hopes to become an attractive opponent for Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton or Devon Alexander, who won the WBC title on the undercard in Rancho Mirage.