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When Fighters Can Not Admit Defeat | March
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This past weekend featured some of the best and the worst of boxing. Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido put on one hell of a spectacle over the 9 plus rounds that the fight lasted. The beginning of the fight set the tempo, with only the first round serving as a feeling out. After that Salido came out like a man on a mission. Then in the 5th, out of nowhere, “Juanma” dropped him with a phantom punch type right hook. The sixth and the seventh saw Orlando proving that the previous knockdown was an aberration by beating up the boxer puncher impressionist from Puerto Rico. After realizing that he needed to gain the respect of his Mexican dance partner, Lopez decided to disregard any semblance of a plan and go all out. The 8th round saw the proud Puerto Rican fighter decide to fight forward for the first time in the fight to improved results. Then came the ninth where both fighters seemed to quietly agree that college was not for everyone as both fighters threw everything they had at one another over the 3 minute stanza to produce a violent whirlwind of a fistic masterpiece. By the end of the ninth, after Juanma stumbled back to his corner, I knew he would not last the rest of the fight. Sure enough, a beautiful combo from “Siri” in the beginning of the 10th ended what has been the most exciting fight so far in 2012.

Now I have just summarized this previous weekend’s great fight. The best of boxing was clearly on display as 2 clear warriors emptied their six shooters for the sake of the fans, their future, and their pride as fighters. The worst in boxing came in the form of the scorecards. I’m born and bred in Puerto Rico. I freely admit to being a homer for any Puerto Rican fighter (as long as their last name is not Camacho). Even I had the fight 86-83 in favor for Orlando Salido. It is clearly possible that the loud and boisterous crowd may have influenced the scoring of the 3 judges who were in Hato Rey that evening. Maybe they were sloshed from too many rum and cokes handed out by the event promoter. All I know is that those scorecards were smellier than Steve-O catapulted in the air while sitting in a porta potty. The most memorable part of the fight? To me it was clearly the post fight interview.

During the post fight interview with Jim Gray, “Juanma” decided to express his thoughts with regards to the referee, whom in most people’s eyes, stopped the fight at the right time. Instead of being a sportsman and accepting defeat in any semblance of a classy manner, he decided to let the public know that he was in control of the fight the entire fight and that the referee of the fight was a “gambler” (whether degenerate, occupational, or only when he drinks could not be confirmed) and because of this vice, the referee (and his son whom had officiated the first fight) were both out to get Lopez in order to collect some extra cash. Juanma went further and also proclaimed that he had informed the Puerto Rico boxing commission of these facts and that he had requested another referee to preside over the fight (apparently we can assume that that request was denied).

The sad truth is that several days after the fight, I can really only think of the absurdity of those statements. Let’s just, for shits and giggles, assume the referee was indeed out to make some cold hard cash from betting against Juanma (whom the night of the fight was a 2 to 1 favorite to win). Wouldn’t he have intervened before by maybe calling him on the low blows or the holding behind the head? Had the referee gone out of his way to slow down the action, take points away from the Puerto Rican fighter in his home turf or stopped the action in other moments when he was buzzed, then maybe I would understand his argument. Instead, I am reminded of a hilariously bizarre post fight interview with the losing fighter. It makes me wonder of other recent great moments in post-fight antics.

9/17/2011 Floyd Mayweather vs Victor Ortiz – After somewhat sucker punching and KO’ing his opponent, Floyd Mayweather approached his post fight interview with his signature bravado and arrogance. It took a turn for the strange and surreal when Floyd laid into Larry Merchant and proclaimed that HBO retire him for essentially not respecting Mayweather and not being good at what he does. It got one step better when Merchant proclaimed that “If I were 50 years younger, I’d kick your ass”. This substandard fight was only enhanced and made memorable by this Shakespearean exchange.

 

7/23/2011 Amir Khan vs Zab Judah – Fight prognosticators gave Zab Judah a real chance to win this fight. Too bad that after they stepped into the square circle, Zab decided to focus on defense and forgot that to win a fight means you have to throw a punch. In the fifth round, Amir Khan clearly hit Judah with a clean body punch that seemed to have had a crippling effect on the Brooklyn native. Zab decided to stay on the ground during the 10 count and after he was counted out, he had the looked of someone who had received an unsuspecting enema in front of a room full of strangers upon understanding that he had just lost the fight. When it came time to give the post fight interview, Judah exclaimed that that was a clear low blow and he would be appealing the decision immediately. When he saw the replay of the knockout on the monitor, which once again clearly showed that the punch did not stray low, he still continued to cry foul. Blatant denial is a very powerful mistress.

 

7/7/2007 Nonito Donaire vs Vic Darchinyan – After getting KTKO in round 5 by a devastating left hook that Vic clearly did not see, Mr. Darchinyan decided to proclaim to Jim Gray and anyone whom would listen that he was not hurt, did not know what had happened, and could have continued. WHAT?! Some people may be turned off by Vic’s arrogance when he wins and his complete denial when he loses, but it is always fun to watch this train wreck.

Bernard Hopkins vs everyone – Bernard’s post fight interviews have been the most exciting part of his fights for the better part of the last decade. He is either disrespected by the world, the grand master of the art of boxing, fighting for bribed judges, or even subjected to racism against him. These antics “clearly” make up for the 36 minutes of sleep inducing boredom I experience each and every time he fights.

There are clearly more examples of fantastic post interviews (and we have not even touched on the press conferences after the fight) but these are clearly examples of the fin that exists after the fight is over . Heck sometimes, like in the cases of Lopez-Salido and Mayweather-Ortiz, the post fight antics are almost more memorable that the actual fight. Never a dull moment inside or outside the ring.

Shaun’s Thoughts on boxing and everything else

-          So Rios-Gamboa is no more? I love it when fighters whom do not draw fans to a fight (Cuban fighters, I am looking directly at all of you) make ridiculous demands and expect that this is a good idea. I hope that Top Rank and HBO make an example of Gamboa so that all these other diva types have a second thought before they decide to be assholes. 

-          Juan Manuel Lopez should really take his time coming back. He has been hit a tad too much in his career and I am starting to feel that we have already seen the best of him. As for Orlando Salido, he is a card carrying bad ass. I would love to see him move up to 130 lbs and fight Rocky Martinez (another Puerto Rican fighter).  

-          Sad to say I am watching American Idol for the first time in years because my wife is fascinated with it again. Even sadder is that I am finding myself playing a couch judge and critiquing their performances.  

-          I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is in the mid 70’s today in the middle of March in Chicago. The inconvenient truth is conveniently great.