When does a boxing match stop being a boxing match?
Josh Wale has a good idea of the answer to such a question following his British super bantamweight title clash with Jazza Dickens.
Wale failed to become only the third British champion from Barnsley in history after being outpointed in Dickens’ home town.
But any glory Dickens can feel at claiming the vacant title should be tempered after some of the tactics he used to achieve it.
There were times when the new champion showed smarts, some class and a decent amount of skill.
But for far too much of the 12 round war, Dickens’ approach was awful and hardly in the spirit of the sweet science.
His fouling with head, shoulder, low blows and measuring lasted from the first round to the last, leading to two deductions of a point and the looming threat of the fight being thrown out.
Ultimately, Dickens will say it worked, delivering him the coveted British title.
But it will certainly leave a sour taste in the mouth of Wale, his dream of being British champion denied for a second time.
Wale knew in all probability that he would not outpoint Dickens at the Echo Arena but was confident of stopping him in the later rounds.
Dickens, backed by a partisan crowd, started the better and showed tremendous accuracy as we worked off a good jab.
Wale struggled to land against the awkward southpaw before his spoiling tactics but certainly had trouble when he began to charge with the heads.
Had Dickens opted to remain at distance, it would likely have been an easy night for him.
But he could not resist getting involved in a close range battle during the middle rounds and that played right into Wale’s hands.
Suddenly Dickens was in range, susceptible to body shots that began to wear the Liverpudlian down.
He wised up later on and retreated, though Wale rattled him in the 11th round and looked capable of getting the stoppage.
Dickens managed to regroup and stayed out of trouble for the during the final round to take the bout 115-112 on two scorecards plus a frankly ludicrous 116-110 on the other.