Boxing Match That Injured Officer Should Have Been Stopped Sooner, Spectator Says

By Ray Stern

Blair Roberts and his wife rose to their feet in the third round of a charity boxing match on Friday between a Phoenix police officer and a local firefighter.

But it wasn't to cheer.

"I stood up and started waving my hands, saying 'Stop the fight!'" says Roberts, a Queen Creek resident. "Any quality or experienced referee would have stopped that fight earlier."

But the ref didn't stop the fight until the police officer, Barry Scott, [left], was knocked down for a second time in the third round. As New Times reported yesterday, Scott was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Police say the officer was still fighting for his life on Tuesday.

From what Roberts saw, Scott should have never been allowed to fight as long as he did. Roberts placed a written comment on yesterday's blog item and talked to New Times Tuesday about the incident.

The fight was an unsanctioned charity event put on by Felko Promotions, whose owner, Len Hayko, declined to answer any questions from New Times on Tuesday. The "Guns N Hoses" event pit firefighters versus police officers, but was not connected to Guns And Hoses Foundation in Texas, which runs similar boxing matches.

Boxers wore headgear and oversized, 16-ounce gloves as they fought in three one-minute rounds.

Roberts, who was sitting ringside, says Scott seemed competitive in the beginning of the first round, but went downhill from there.

"As the fight went on, it looked like he was just getting bounced around," Roberts says, recalling that Scott was knocked down at least once in the second round.

By the third round, "his head was snapping back" with the punches thrown by the firefighter, who still hasn't been named.

"He was taking a pretty sustained beating," Roberts says. Then Scott was knocked down again. Roberts says that's when he and his wife yelled for an end to the fight. The ref let it continue, Roberts says.

"It was completely unnecessary," Roberts says of the ref's decision to keep the fight going. "[Scott] was overwhelmed. He had no shot at winning."

Scott seemed disoriented after the knockdown, but seconds later took several more powerful punches to the head before falling down again.

Scott left the ring under his own power, but soon collapsed and was rushed to a hospital.

Roberts says he heard that Scott had suffered a concussion while training for the event, though representatives from Felko Promotions nor the 100 Club would comment about that.

Fort McDowell Police Chief Jesse Delmar could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE: Officer Scott Dies of Injuries

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.