Painful title defeat for Cardle in Glasgow
Scott Cardle is being forced to reflect on the pain of missing out on his boxing dream.
He had set his heart on winning the Lonsdale Belt outright - but was left only with the heartbreak and physical suffering of defeat at the hands of the new champion Robbie Barrett.Cardle was nowhere near his best in the gruelling, engrossing, eventful 12-rounder, but he still went out on his shield.For more than half of the fight he had to box with a badly cut left eye and his right cheek was swollen suggesting a serious jaw injury.Lytham lightweight Cardle had gone into the ring as an overwhelming favourite, while Barrett had been written off by the bookmakers and by many in the fight trade as a rank outsider.However, the reality proved to be totally different.Barrett belied the bookies' gloomy predictions and produced the fight of his life at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.Cardle had his man down twice for a count of eight, but Barrett showing tremendous resolution to battle back from these setbacks.One judge Michael Alexander called it a draw at 114-114, but Victor Loughlin gave it to Barrett by 114-112 and Steve Gray, of Fleetwood, 115-113.The punishing defeat meant that Cardle's hopes of keeping hold of the Lonsdale Belt after three winning defences were dashed.It was crystal-clear from the outset that Cardle would have a battle on his hands.Southpaw Barrett proved tricky and troublesome, but Cardle caught up with him in round two and put his rival down for a count of eight with a stiff right-hand.Barrett may have been caught off-balance going backwards, but there was little doubt it was a genuine knockdown.But Barrett was impervious to this jolt and kept giving Cardle plenty to ponder.However, the Lytham boxer, boasting an hitherto unbeaten record as a professional, decked Barrett again in round five with an accurate, punitive body shot.That might have marked the end for a lesser man, but Barrett, who went into the ring as the English champion, sbowed he was made of stern stuff.Some of the rounds at this stage were starting to be hard to score, though Barrett was probably nicking the bulk of them, thus negating the likely 10-8 scores in Cardle's favour in rounds two and five.There were signs of mounting concern in the Cardle corner, though the champion had an excellent round in the 10th session, peppering Barrett with an array of body shots, most of which got home and must have been felt.They seemed to take a toll, but not a bit as Barrett came back in resilient fashion in the 11th.Barrett was nearly out on his feet in the 12th, while Cardle too was heavily fatigued.This enthralling contest went to the cards and it was Barrett whose hand was raised.Not surprisingly, given how close the bout was, there have been calls for a re-match and it would be a must-see spectacle as the two boxers gave their all in Glasgow, making it a candidate already for one of the domestic fights of 2017.Barrett had a tattoo of Manny Pacquaio and Juan Manuel Marquez inked across his chest and even those two warriors would have relished this contest in which no quarter was given.As for Cardle, his near two-year reign as British leader of the 9st 9lb division is over and he will need plenty of time to recover from the wounds he suffered in this epic.Barrett was understandably elated at achieving a win that has thrust him out of comparative obscurity and questioned the validity of the two eight-counts Cardle inflicted upon him.The 25-year-old newly-crowned British champion said: "It means so much I have worked for this since I was 10-years-old."I have had nothing but setbacks. I have just worked and grafted and it just shows what you can do."I don't think they were knockdowns, but I am not moaning, but if they hadn't have counted I would have won by a lot bigger margin."