Another “Great Fight”, Another Disappointment
Well, I’m beginning to feel more like Jimmy the Greek than a Pissed Off Prosecutor. But I am a pissed off boxing fan. Particularly as we approach the Mayweather – McGregor fiasco.
As I predicted here some time ago, the blockbuster Pacquiao – Mayweather bout would not only prove to be a farce, but would actually imperiled Pay Per View for the indefinite future. It did.
Then I predicted that, despite all the doubt, all hemming and hawing, the blockbuster Mayweather – McGregor circus would be made. Oh, the shock! And in one of the most dysfunctional places on earth, where money talks. Unreal!
I also predicted (though not here) that in his rematch with Andre Ward, the 34 year old Sergey Kovalev would be exposed as an old man who would run out of gas (again). My only corroborating evidence is the fact that I didn’t buy this one. And boy am I glad.
Their first fight was controversial. Kovalev fans cried larceny regarding the razor thin decision, citing “hometown” judging for the American. But, arguably the rounds were so close that it was analogous to challenging balls and strikes in a baseball game. I have seen far worse.
The rematch…I’ll just sum it up with a quote from sportswriter Gilbert Manzano of the Las Vegas Review Journal. “It was a rough night for the (Nevada Athletic) Commission…”.
Not only was the Main Event sullied, but the “co-main event” – in reality the semi on the card – was also a travesty.
Again the officials, hand picked by the NAC, screwed the pooch.
Back to the big fight, Kovalev-Ward.
This time the fans cried “low blows” and “early stoppage”. I watched a replay of the rematch on HBO. Only Kovalev knows how much the fouls took out of him, but there were clearly fouls.
Incidentally, there was once a heavyweight who lost the title on a foul – Jack Sharkey. My buddy Joe Faz was there. Maybe the rules were taken more seriously in 1930. (I don’t really believe that.)
At the point Weeks stopped the fight, the judges cards were again extrordiarly close. One judge has Kovalev significantly ahead, 68 – 65.
Consequently, the talk that this fight would establish today’s “pound for pound” best was undermined, again. Perhaps, as I suspected, Kovalev would have run out of steam regardless of the low blows. We’ll never know. There won’t be a rematch.
The semi – final was evermore absurd. Cuban standout Guillermo Rigondeaux
nailed his opponent as the bell signaling the end of the first round sounded. Some observers suspected that Moises Flores flopped, attempting to win the fight, and a belt, via disqualification – a la Sharkey.
This time the ref demonstrated his lack of command by halting the proceedings for 5 minutes while he consulted with a fellow official and a Commission suit at ringside. Then he decided that Flores had in fact been knocked out.
Memories of 1969
This brought back memories of the first professional fight I attended, at Madson Square Garden, in 1969. Perennial top heavyweight contender Jerry Quarry was laying a beating on Canadian George Chuvalo. Chuvalo may have been the most durable heavy in the history of boxing. In almost 100 pro fights, he never went down.
Between rounds 6 and 7 ref Zack Clayton could be overheard telling announcer Don Dunphy that Chuvalo’s damaged eyes were threatening an imminent stoppage.
In round 7, he caught Quarry with a glancing hook off the temple. Quarry stumbled backwards, got up immediately, and took a knee (a common practice to catch a breather) and got up – at about 10. Clayton counted him out. As he indicated the fight was over, using the the same gesture as a “safe” call in baseball, Quarry asked ‘What does that mean?” Clayton responded, “it means you’re knocked out”. The time was 2:59 of the round.
If you look at the photo of Quarry going down, he is quite a distance from Chuvalo, whose face looks like it has been through a met grinder, and Quarry’s hair is still combed. Even announcer Dunphy observed that Quarry was unhurt.
The lessons to be learned – I guess – are: 1) don’t hit low, and 2) make sure you beat the count. Especially if you’re fine.
Kovalev’s New Jersey promoter has appealed referee Tony Weeks’ (did next to nothing about Ward’s repeated low blows.) termination of the bout in Round 8 to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Good luck with that. Kathy Duva (daughter of Lou) might as well appeal it to the Nevada Gaming Commission,