Man I watched a lot of boxing on Saturday (after the Yankees clinched the AL East, that is). I’m not going to count the two prelim bouts since they were total crap. I’ll just write about the featured fights, which were mostly crap.
[On a side note, it’s kind of funny what I notice when I watch boxing now. HBO’s production is way better than Showtime’s. HBO has such a polished product. Showtime’s seems minor league in comparison. The mic levels fluctuate throughout the broadcast. The graphics suck. The announce team isn’t nearly as good (they step on each other a lot and accidentally talk over the cornermen).]
Antonio Tarver vs. Roy Jones, Jr. — Jones was pretty amazing. I’ve never seen a fighter expend so much energy dancing around like a clown, trying not to get hit. Sure he was quite elusive, but he did next to nothing offensively. Tarver boxed conservatively, but he clearly did enough to win. It’s a shame Tarver was gassed in the 11th round after he had Jones in trouble. It would have been nice if he laid out Jones cold. He deserved it for fighting like such an ass clown.
In a way, Jones reminded me of GameSpy. He’s old and his best days are behind him. He did absolutely nothing to outgun his opponent nor did he try anything different. And now he’ll fade away into irrelevance.
Chris Byrd vs. DaVarryl Williamson — I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crappier championship fight. Byrd’s defensive style is boring on its own, but when you combine it with a retreating and reluctant Williamson it just sucks royally. It was so awful. You know it’s a snoozefest of legendary proportions when the referee and the director of the state athletic commission are asking the fighters to mix it up more.
The most entertaining part of the bout was the post-fight interview when Byrd totally went off on Don King (his promoter that refuses to let him fight anyone interesting). King is such an evil, crappy man. He’s a big part of what’s wrong with the sport. Sadly, he controls all the heavyweight champions. What’s even sadder is that Byrd might be the best of the four.
James Toney vs. Dominick Guinn — Like Byrd, Toney is a really elusive fighter. Unlike Byrd, Toney actually throws a lot of punches. It was fun watching him use all of his experience (he’s 37) to outclass a younger fighter. Guinn just fell into Toney’s trap of fighting inside.
Guinn is taller and naturally bigger. Toney’s just a blown up (fat) middleweight with outstanding boxing skills. Guinn should of used his height and reach, but Toney lured him into a phonebooth fight. I hope Toney gets a title shot. He’s an excellent boxer with an outrageous personality. It’s amazing watching a relatively out of shape boxer break down opponents that are bigger, stronger, and more athletic than he is while talking trash to his foe and his foe’s trainer. Toney’s handspeed, guile, accuracy, and elusiveness are amazing.
Anyway, there are three major problems with boxing.
1) It’s too damn expensive. You need cable to watch the fights that mean anything. After paying for HBO and Showtime, you have to pay $50 for pay-per-view events. It’s hard to build a strong following and elevate personalities when the sport is so inaccessible.
2) The sanctioning bodies. You have the WBC, the WBA, the IBF, and the WBO. Each are corrupt in their own special way, but there are just way too many belts and organizations. Unfortunately, they were born out of a necessity….
3) Boxing promoters sucks. The biggest problem with the sport are the promoters that control the sport. They manipulate the fighters. They prevent bouts that the fans want to see. They are the ones that made the sport so expensive. They are the reasons champions fight so infrequently. They just suck.