Brock battered in hometown bout

In his younger days, Brock Stodden might have cried after losing a fight. He might have knocked over some chairs or let loose a few choice curse words.

But not anymore.

Saturday night, Stodden, a Bremerton native, lost an eight-round split-decision boxing match to Jose Medina of Sandpoint, Idaho, a fighter Stodden had beaten a 13 months before — in front of a loud crowd of hometown fans and friends watching the main event of a five-card competition in the “Slugfest” professional boxing series at the Pavilion.

The narrow loss — Stodden came out on top of one judge’s scoring but lost in the eyes of two others — stripped the 30-year-old of the Canadian-American-Mexican super middleweight title that he’d earned just five months before. The defeat, in his first title defense, dropped Stodden’s record to 15-9-1 over an eight-year professional career and his record in Bremerton-area fights to 0-4.

But, buoyed by a Christian faith that no opposing fighter’s fists could shake, Stodden reacted by hugging Medina, posing for pictures with his wife Suzannah and his four daughters, signing a few autographs for supporters and shrugging philosophically.

“I guess God doesn’t mean for me to win in Bremerton, and you know what? That’s all right,” Stodden said. “As long as I know that Jesus Christ is King, nothing else matters. My faith has gotten me through all my trials in boxing.”

Given more time in the ring Saturday night, however, the outcome could have been less trial and more triumph.

Stodden was rocked by Medina in the early going, suffering a bloody nose and a cut under his right eye. In the third round, he was pummeled so viciously by his opponent that he had to go to one knee and take a standing-eight count to avoid having the fight end at that point by technical knockout.

From that point on, however, Stodden — who, in recent years, has traded in a bit of his power and speed for increased endurance — was Medina’s equal. But, despite pinning his foe to the ropes a few times in the later rounds, was never able to deliver the sort of staggering volley he needed to make up the points he lost early with the judges.

The fight, originally slated for 10 rounds, was scaled back to eight by state licensing officials. And Stodden thinks those two extra rounds could have made the difference.

“I think I did my best work in the last couple of rounds,” Stodden said. “If I’d gone 10 rounds, maybe I would have won the fight.

“But I have no excuses — Jose Medina fought a better fight.”

Medina said he won by doing a better job of adapting to Stodden’s paced, measured style than he did in their first bout, when Stodden knocked him out in the third round.

“The first time, I just went balls to wall, trying to take him out,” said the 21-year-old Medina, whose record advanced to 6-3. “But this time, I took my time.

“I wanted this one because I feel I should have gotten him the first time.”

So what’s next for Stodden? At least one close friend, Puyallup promoter Marv Treadwell —who has promoted five Stodden fights through his firm, KO Sports Promotions —said publicly that he thinks the Bremerton Parks and Recreation employee ought to retire.

Stodden didn’t sound ready to consider that, however. Though noncommittal about when — or if — he’ll fight again, he was nonetheless moved to put his career his philosophical perspective.

“It’s an old legacy, losing in Bremerton,” he said. “I know people out there see a tough kid who can take a lot of punches. But that’s not necessarily the legacy I want to leave.

“It doesn’t matter if the whole city of Bremerton says I’m a Joe Palooka. There’s no stopping a Stodden.”

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