First of the month rant — June: Boxing on restriction after Pacquiao-Bradley decision

Posted: 06/10/2012 in boxing, first of the month rant
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I remember watching an unknown German boxer named Axel Schulz whip George Foreman on a Saturday night in 1995 and was appalled at what I heard announced after the fight.

The judges ruled that the 46-year-old Foreman was the winner of the bout by a split-decision and those words ring in my ears to this day. The then tubby, wobbly Foreman didn’t come close to winning the fight and it was a travesty that he retained his championship belt.

A few months later, Foreman refused to fight Schulz in a rematch. Gee, I guess George didn’t want to lose a second time.

Another ridiculous boxing moment occurred Saturday night that reminds us that the sport is dirty and scandalous. Manny Pacquiao got the better of a boxer named Timothy Bradley and there was never a moment during the 12-round bout where I felt I was watching an upset in the making.

Apparently I need to visit the eye doctor soon because the judging decision in the welterweight title bout doesn’t jive with the fight I watched.

Despite Pacquiao carrying the action and winning nearly every round, the decision was split in favor of Bradley.

Making the decision even nuttier is Bradley twice said in the post-fight interview that he needed to watch the tape to see if he had won.

Oh yeah, and he already knew the rematch would be held on Nov. 10.

Why would a rematch date already be set before anybody knows who won a first fight between two boxers? If Pacquiao wins, there obviously isn’t any need for a rematch.

Also of concern is that promoter Bob Arum was quoted as saying the following shortly after the match ended:

“I’m going to make a lot of money on the rematch, but this was outrageous,” Arum said.

So the promoter is already boasting about the money he will make? You’d like to think the person in charge of overseeing an honest event would be more concerned about the travesty involved and the integrity of the sport.

But if integrity is lacking at the promoter level, you can see why the judges would be shady too.

As long as everybody can make money through a rematch, who cares that a man was wronged? Who cares about another black eye for the sport of boxing?

In fact, through 12 rounds of the actual fight, there was no reason for anyone to want to see these two guys in the ring a second time. Now it will be marketed as the opportunity for Pacquiao to regain the crown he lost via controversy.

What a fraud. What a scandal. What a corrupt sport.

The decision reminds us all why boxing is such a little-respected sport in this era. There certainly isn’t any reason to have any confidence in any of the people who run the sport.

The Nevada Athletic Commission has lost its final shred of credibility and there will be drastic repercussions on my part.

I simply will not watch the rematch under any conditions. Don’t care if it is easy to watch boxing for free online in this era (disclaimer: I may or may not have watched the Pacquiao-Bradley bout at no cost).

Another horrible boxing decision that comes to mind is the 1989 bout between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. The fight should have gone into a history as a classic but is instead best known for being a controversial draw.

Hearns knocked down the popular Leonard in both the third and 11th rounds and Leonard staged a magnificent 12th-round rally when everybody felt he needed a knockout to win.

He didn’t get the knockout but retained his title when the bout was stunningly ruled a draw. One judge said Hearns won, one said Leonard won and the other scored it evenly.

Another scandalous decision was when Lennox Lewis thoroughly whipped aging Evander Holyfield in 1999. Lewis landed about 2 1/2 times the number of punches and battered Holyfield’s face but the fight was ruled a draw.

That a paid boxing judge actually felt Holyfield won that fight defies all human logic.

So it’s not a surprise when there is a controversial ruling at the end of the boxing match. But the sport – term being used loosely here – loses what little shreds of credibility it has when millions of people at home pay to watch an event and the ruling announced doesn’t jive with what they witnessed during the course of the fight.

Pacquiao landed nearly twice as many power punches (190-108) as Bradley. He connected on 38.5 percent of his punches to Bradley’s 27.7 percent. He dominated the action throughout the fight.

As I stated previously, there was never one single time during the fight where I felt I was watching a possible huge upset.

Can you imagine watching the St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Texas Rangers in Game 7 of the World Series and then seeing three judges decide a few minutes after the game ended that the Rangers actually won the contest?

I never like to use the word “fixed” to describe a sporting event with competitive athletes doing battle but it certainly applies when there are actually two judges who think Bradley defeated Pacquiao.

With Floyd Mayweather in jail and there appearing to be little or no chance of a big-money fight with Pacquiao, perhaps the Nevada Athletic Commission took it upon their own hands to ensure there would be a buzz-worthy fight later this year by coming up with this controversial decision.

Instead, they may have even topped the ruling in favor of Foreman as the worst boxing decision ever.

So perhaps it is time for me to make the best decision ever – I am placing boxing on restriction for the rest of the year.

I have no interest in watching Pacquiao and Bradley fight again – particularly with the new “champion” immediately saying he’ll be giving Pacquiao a rematch on Nov. 10.

If Pacquiao has any personal scruples, he’ll say no thanks to Bradley’s offer and he’ll tell Arum to go fly a kite (or words much naughtier).

But Pacquiao won’t do that because this ridiculous decision puts him in position to line his pockets with more money.

So these two guys can fight whenever they want. Arum can promote the heck out of the fight all he wants.

I won’t be tuning in. No chance.

This is a decision I should have made one night back in 1995.


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