The draw bet looked good jumping all over the map from an opening 35:1 all the way down to 4:1 in Vegas and 28:1 in Reno the day of the fight.
“What the f*ck?” mouthed Floyd Mayweather Jr. like Michelangelo just completing the Sistine Chapel only to be told, “You know, I got this all wrong. Let’s go with floor-to-ceiling Naugahyde.”
Nonetheless, the boxing world collectively let out a sigh of relief when Lennon read off Dave Moretti’s 116-112 and Craig Metcalfe’s 117-111 to seal the majority decision for Mayweather. The decision meant boxing writers could be “normal boxing outraged” meaning outraged for a column, maybe a follow-up and then back to next week’s media cycle without a care in the world. Tyson Fury vs. David Haye should be a quote festival and a fun fight and it’s just around the corner.
As the boxing media (along with promoters, managers, commissions, sanctioning bodies and their questionable tentacles) showed last year, they don’t care enough about reforming the sport to fight long enough for it to happen in the Tim Bradley-Manny Pacquiao fight. It’s really that simple. Almost no one believes Bradley won that fight. Top Rank founder Bob Arum called for an investigation. Some news media report claimed one actually happened. But in the end, C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, who both scored the fight for Bradley 115-113, were given a pass.
“I’ve known these judges for 30 years” or some other such nonsense, Arum proclaimed, shooting down any possibility of corruption. Then why the need for an investigation?
The media ran wild with outrage last year. Not only had a robbery taken place but it was against the beloved Manny Pacquiao, winner of titles and creator of jobs, a congressman and a man of God. The columns were endless. HBO’s “The Fight Game” did a show on terrible scoring, highlighting that fight and openly asking when boxing would clean its act up. Scoring, amid what seemed like a record-breaking PED positive test result year for combat sports, was the hot button issue - for about a month.
No movement has sprung up from the outrage. Ray Beltran, an honest and hard-working fighter, went to Scotland two weeks ago and got robbed against WBO lightweight titlist Ricky Burns. The decision was so poor, Beltran says he will never fight for a belt again (as mentioned to me and my co-host of Leave It in the Ring Radio, David Duenez last Thursday: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thenextround/2013/09/13/leave-it-in-the-ring-the-one-finale
). After all, “What’s the point if a decision can be orchestrated for the loser?” was the sentiment. And it’s hard to blame him. As I predicted in my fight report of Burns-Beltran, by the time “The One” media week got to Tuesday, the collective and selective outrage for Beltran had been forgotten and the business of securing traffic using keyword-littered recycled quotes was in full swing.
Then C.J. Ross went all draw on us and Moretti showed that if “Canelo” had acted more aggressive in two more rounds, my pick of the draw would have come true and boxing would have lost the rest of the credibility it had left with the casual viewing public.
No, the question is, “What are you going to do about it, boxing?” Complain for a week and go on about your business or become that guy who won’t let up, the writer or activist who decides to learn the track record of every judge in contention for a major fight? Are you going to risk your access so fighters like Ray Beltran or artists like Floyd Mayweather Jr. don’t have to worry about the Kizers, Rosses or Morettis of the world?
Boxing’s unregulated, possibly corrupt and certainly inept ways were on full display in the biggest main event possibly in history. Centerfold. Some say, “It’s another black eye for boxing.” I say it’s an opportunity for positive change. Making an example of the judges involved and the commission head who supports at least one of them is the proper response. It would show the rest of sports that we actually care about our own.
Getting someone as entrenched as Keith Kizer out of office won’t be easy nor will altering the judges pool. But that’s where you, the incensed boxing public and media, come in. Letters, emails and phone calls to Nevada congressmen and Governor and candidates for all positions of power is a great start. A letter and/or a phone call a week from fans and a column from everyone every single time a commissioner allows this sort of thing to happen in their state is a great start. Consistency will be a key to victory.
We apparently can’t trust the head of a commission to hold anyone accountable for their scores. So who can we trust? Our own actions. Who can we rely on for accountability? Ourselves as we remain consistent in the goal. The sport is dangerous enough as it is without potential corruption and certain incompetence to worry about too. Enough is enough.
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