"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
~Mike Tyson

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Boxing Rant: Boxing Fandom's Underbelly

The Boxing Fan

Photo: i.ytimg.com
In the traditional sense, a boxing "fan" is an informed person who follows the sport closely and does so with a great deal of zeal. These persons will know who's fighting and when, they will spend a great deal of time on social media engaging other fans as well as members of the media, and their breadth of knowledge far exceeds that which is reported on by the large sports networks and publications. More to the point, boxing fanatics tend to watch fighters of all levels engage in combat rather than tuning in just two or three times a year for special events involving high profile fighters.

Photo: 1.bp.blogspot.com
Trying to determine exactly what makes one a boxing fan is virtually impossible as there are many different levels and types of fandom throughout the sport. Moreover the definition of a fan is going to vary from person to person as well. It's intellectually dishonest for any one person to claim that someone isn't a "true boxing fan" simply because their definition differs from that of the person with whom they are embroiled. The definition yours truly gave at the beginning of this article is meant to serve as a general definition and it does not take into account the many different types of fans that exist within the boxing universe.

Like all sports, boxing has its fair share of super fanatics as well as fans that exist somewhere in the space between the hardcore connoisseurs of the sport and its casual viewers. There is then the type of fan whom:

  • lacks knowledge
  • is fairly new to the sport
  • is willfully ignorant
  • is seemingly incapable of researching the subject matter they're arguing for/against
  • is woefully and needlessly opinionated
  • engages in self reinforcing delusions
  • interjects his/her political and racial agenda into the sport
While boxing fandom spans a very nuanced and wide spectrum, these psychologically vapid parasites are bottom feeders pandering to the lowest common denominator and to those poor souls whom are interested in boxing but don't yet know enough to know better. Furthermore, these hypocritical dullards not only infest social media spaces with their diseased and ill informed takes on the sport but many of them seek to needlessly politicize the sport and will play the race or gender card when they are cornered and have nothing to substantiate their bullshit.

The New Boxing Media

Photo: azquotes.com
Let me preface this next bit by making it clear that I am of the opinion that the internet is a wonderful tool for communication and interaction. Additionally, social media websites like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook allow fans, members of the boxing media, networks, and fighters to interact and engage with one another around the clock. There's never been a better time to be a boxing fan, at least as it pertains to accessing people of importance in the business and interaction with fans all over the planet.

That said, the internet gives idiocy, ignorance, hate, and old fashioned stupidity the tools it needs to not only be pervasive but to thrive and generate revenue as well. Make no mistake about it, there are a great number of superior boxing networks and personalities on the internet but for every Steve Kim, The Boxing Rant, or Michael Montero out there, there's a "Dontae's Boxing Nation", "Thaboxingvoice", or some other misleading and biased media outlet lurking just around the digital corner. Channels such as these not only seem to pop up with an alarming regularity but their incredulous fans help to legitimize them as part of boxing's media.

Photo: http://genderanalysis.net
There's nothing inherently wrong with fan networks mind you, this scribe sees great value in them and they can be a boon the sport. When a fan network masquerades as a media outlet however and is more interested in pushing agendas or participating in "The Oppression Olympics" rather than promoting journalism, honest writing, and interesting ideas that's where the problems begin. Anybody remember the Ward-Kovalev 2 post presser and what happened there? There were seemingly more fans at that media event than there were actual boxing reporters, writers, and journalists. Rather than behaving professionally many in attendance vocalized their fandom and opinions when they heckled Main Events' Kathy Duva. These vocal and crude dolts are the very people running the types of networks mentioned previously. In this writers opinion, if one can not conduct themselves professionally, one does not belong at an event for professionals.

These types of outlets are the progenitors of dishonesty and give some of the sports biggest cretins a voice. Like it or not these types of channels are here to stay though their fallacies, agendas, and misinformation can be routed with some simple and quick research. Computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. all make fact checking a very a simple task, at least for those with a mind for such things. Those who desperately want to be a part of boxing's media have no excuse for behaving the way they do and should be held to higher standards. What's that old adage say? "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?"

The "Adopt A Fighter" Program

Photo: boxrec.com
In keeping with the theme of this piece, we're going to take a look at a phenomenon that's prevalent among boxing's worst fans, aka "The Dummygraph". I call this phenomenon the "Adopt A Fighter" program. The vast majority of participants in this program almost always favor fighters whose skin is some shade of brown and tend to discredit any fighter who might be in line to face one of these fighters, especially if the opposition is fair skinned. They will erroneously and for no good reason assert that the opposition:

  • is devoid of skill
  • is no more than a crude puncher
  • hasn't faced anyone
  • avoids tough or dangerous fights
  • is receiving special treatment
  • only fights bums
Making matters worse for themselves, these racially charged simpletons will often assert these things ad nauseam despite these often being the very traits of the pugilists they favor or admire. Could this not be considered the epitome of verbal diarrhea?

Now that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is, for the most part, retired and Andre Ward fights once a year if these fans are lucky, they have for whatever reason, begun gravitating to other fighters, regardless of their skin color. To digress for a moment, wouldn't it be nice if racists were at least consistent in their hate and bias? At any rate, in lieu of Floyd or Andre, these fans have recently adopted Canelo Alvarez as their new go-to-guy. The moment that Alvarez vs Golovkin was announced my Twitter timeline became littered with absurd and agenda driven comments. After his adoption by this group of fans, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Saul Alvarez isn't the beneficiary of very careful match making, a couple of gift decisions, and being a ginger Mexican. Look, Canelo is a fine fighter and he won't be an easy out for the Middleweight Champion but Canelo isn't on the level that this group of people have temporarily put him on. Conversely Golovkin isn't the simple puncher these people so desperately want and need him to be either.

All things considered, the question of why they adopted Alvarez in this instance isn't clear. Did they adopt him simply because he's not Caucasian and they erroneously believe Golovkin is? Are their identities and ego's so wrapped up in and defined by the color of their skin that they are unable to recognize fighters for what they really are or root for a fighter whose skin color differs from their own? Regardless it's a shameful level of ignorance these people put on display.

In case you're wondering what inspired me to write this article take a look at this piece titled THE UNPOPULAR OPINION: "ADRIEN BRONER IS ALREADY A FIRST BALLOT HALL OF FAMER". After reading this Pulitzer Prize worthy article during breakfast...how could I not get right to work on a piece of my own?

Until next time....

Scott Jarvis is a boxing writer for Split D Boxing. He can be reached on TwitterFacebook, or by email at splitdecisionbox@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mikey Garcia vs Adrien Broner - Fight Breakdown And Prediction

Un-Promoted By The PBC

Photo: thesweetscience.com
Though the buzz surrounding it hasn't been quite what this scribe believed it would be (thanks PBC), there's a fight happening on July 29th, 2017 that should be, at the very least, interesting if not entertaining. That fight being the hard hitting tactician Mikey Garcia vs the entertaining but fatuous Adrien Broner. Not only has there been very little buzz around this fight but Broner has been uncharacteristically quiet and well behaved...by his standards anyway. Despite the seemingly tepid promotion and response from fans, this fight is likely to provide moments of humor, violence, and a knock down or two. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone picking the cockeyed Broner but yours truly is a bit surprised to find so many pundits whom believe this fight will be highly competitive or that Adrien Broner will give the vastly more talented and skilled Garcia fits throughout the fight.

Sure, one can argue that the inactivity of the Moreno Valley native might keep him from being as sharp as he could be but keep in mind that Broner too is essentially a part time fighter having fought just 7 times since his somewhat shocking and hilarious loss to Marcos Maidana in the back end of 2013. Fighting just twice a year has unfortunately become the norm in the sport but be that as it may, this type of activity or lack thereof doesn't ever do any professional boxer any favors in terms of keeping the tools greased and the blades sharpened. Some may also argue that Garcia is untested at Light Welterweight (140 lbs) and that he had just one fight at Super Lightweight (135 lbs) before signing for this bout. This argument is washed by the fact that Broner has not only struggled and looked flat at Welterweight (147 lbs) but that Broner did his best work before moving up to 140 lbs. Let no one forget that in addition to the aforementioned, Broner has had trouble making weight though in this fight the $500K penalty for tipping the scales will likely keep Broner motivated, at least enough to avoid losing a significant portion of his purse.

Tale of the tape
Photo: premierboxingchampions.com
Activity and weight issues aside, both men have had their dedication to the sport questioned in the past. Whether it be Garcia's lackadaisical and cavalier attitude towards boxing or Broner's indolence, personal irresponsibility, and lack of dedication, both men have given boxing-heads plenty of variables to mull over before making their pick. That said and with all things considered this fight will be decided not on who's more dedicated to their job but rather sheer talent, skill, craft, and power. Garcia has an advantage in nearly every conceivable category, save for reach and he's only giving up one inch there. Mikey Garcia is the much better fighter in this match-up and and brings the greater and deeper skill set to the ring. Broner is a solid fighter with a name but he has struggled against a lower level of competition at times.

Broner Keys To Victory

The "Can Man"
Photo: boxrec.com
If boxing was more than a job to Mikey Garcia and he fought 3 or 4 times a year I would brazenly tell you that Broner has no chance in this fight. Mikey's inactivity, weight jumping, and inexperience above 135 lbs might be things Broner can exploit. I don't think they'll play as big a part in the fight as some, though it'd be foolhardy to dismiss these facts. Broner has to find a way to capitalize on his greater experience at heavier weight classes. Broner must be aggressive from the opening bell, employ a solid jab or double jab, and hit the supremely talented Garcia anywhere he can. Admittedly it's a stretch but Broner must not be himself come July 29th. His work rate must be unusually high and he can not afford to wait for the right punch before throwing. Instead he must hit Garcia often and everywhere. The Broner we have become accustomed to watching simply can not defeat Garcia. Adrien has to push the action, be the busier fighter, get off first, and be consistent in those things if he wants to have any chance at emerging victorious. The economical Garcia is there to be outworked though Broner will have to survive his heavy hands first.

Garcia Keys To Victory

Mikey Garcia
Photo: boxrec.com
In sharp contrast to how Broner must behave in this fight, Garcia needn't do anything but be himself. It's very unlikely that Broner has the conditioning nor the talent to win this fight. Knowing that, Garcia has only to bide his time and figure out how to properly time Broner, whose offense often leaves him open for big counters. Against Maidana we learned that Broner can be hurt and dropped. Garcia is a much more skilled and heavier hitting fighter than the Argentinian was so he need only to apply his craft competently on July 29th. Moreover, Garcia can drastically shorten the fight by working the body of Broner and taking his legs away early on.

How The Fight Plays Out

Expect Garcia and Broner to be themselves in this fight. From the opening bell throughout round 4 Garcia will stalk his opponent with a measured poise while he analyzes his foe. Conversely, expect to see Broner use his jab tentatively on the outside and keep his legs moving throughout these rounds. Though there's always a chance of Garcia catching Broner with something big early on, expect a rather quiet opening to this fight.

As the fight progresses Garcia should begin both timing Broner and finding the holes in his offense and defense. Once Garcia starts this process it's only a matter of time for the garrulous and limited Broner. Mikey Garcia drops Broner in the 5th which causes Broner to begin moving backwards rather than forwards. Following that sequence of events Broner's offense slows and Mikey gets his man out of there in round 7.

Winner: Garcia by KO in round 7

Scott Jarvis is a boxing writer for Split D Boxing. He can be reached on TwitterFacebook, or by email at splitdecisionbox@gmail.com.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Manny Pacquiao - Robbed By Father Time And The Judges

Photo: cbshot937.files.wordpress.com
There are very few happy endings in boxing yet this well known fact never dissuades any great champion from trying to end his career favorably and with some semblance of dignity. This past Saturday, July 1st 2017, the opening bout of Manny Pacquiao's retirement tour was curtailed by unassuming Australian Jeff Horn. Of course the argument could be made that it was judges Waleska RoldanChris Flores, and Ramon Cerdan and not the tenacious Horn whom were responsible for derailing Pacquiao's 401(k) tour but more on that later.

Photo: forbes.com
Heading into the fight it was believed by most that Horn was a carefully selected opponent for the aging Pacquiao, i.e. someone to make the Filipino Senator look good. As it turns out Jeff Horn had his own plans and wasn't content in simply collecting a paycheck. From the opening bell the Aussie was aggressive and forced Pacquiao onto his back foot. Horn was rough on the inside as well. Horn landed elbows, forearms, and the occasional headbutt; the latter of which opened up big cuts on Pacquiao's head. The large amounts of activity from Horn as well as the blood running down Pacquiao's face made for a dramatic fight. In the 9th round however Pacquiao hurt and nearly stopped his unyielding and persistent opponent. During the rest period between rounds 9 and 10, Horn's corner desperately begged the referee to give them one more round. A reluctant Mark Nelson responded with "you better show me something" and allowed the fight to continue. Following this stern warning Horn recovered in the 10th and ultimately battled Pacquiao to the 12th and final bell.

Photo: cdn.vox-cdn.com
Boxing judges are supposed to award achievement rather than activity but on this night the blood, the high work rate of Horn, and the pro-Horn crowd that "oo'd and awe'd" anytime he took a breath, clearly had an impact on the judges. Pacquiao may have been the more economical of the two fighters but he was also the more accurate with his offense and his punches did far more damage than did Horn's. Pacquiao was the ring general and was in control of the fight from the opening to the closing bell. As is often the case in boxing, when an underdog performs better than expected, judges will award that fighter rounds simply because they weren't dominated. Doing better than expected in any round or even an entire fight however doesn't mean you won the bout nor any specific round but unfortunately this was the case Saturday night. My score card read 116-112 for Manny Pacquiao but the judges awarded Jeff Horn a unanimous decision and scores were as follows:

Chris Flores: 113-115
Waleska Roldan: 111-117
Ramon Cerdan: 113-115

Photo: psycholawlogy.com
No one with two functional eyeballs nor any honest persons can make the case for Horn winning this fight. While it was a competitive and dramatic fight, judges be damned, it was a clear victory for Pacquiao. All 3 scores are more than questionable and suspicious but it is judge Roldan's score of 111-117 that takes incompetence to an absurd level. How this judge saw fit to award Jeff Horn 9 rounds of the fight is beyond this writer, most boxing media, and fans. There are those crying corruption but to those doing so I ask you this; where's the money in a Jeff Horn win? He's not a star and he's certainly not a draw outside of Brisbane. The scoring in this fight doesn't have corruption written on it. Instead it has incompetence scribbled all over it. The aforementioned three judges should be suspended, investigated, asked to justify their scoring, and even be re-trained by the WBO. Top Rank too should be pushing for some type of disciplinary action. Boxing judges are rarely held accountable for their work and as a result of their inability to properly score a fight and a complete lack of culpability, we get decisions like the one we got in this fight.

The Real Take Away

One may talk at great length about the scoring in this fight or even Jeff Horn's perspicaciousness as both are worthy talking points. What everyone should be addressing first however is just how faded and dull Manny looked on Saturday night in Argentina...oops, Australia. In this fight Manny Pacquiao looked and fought like an old fighter that could no longer pull the trigger. Ok sure, he stopped taking risks after the vicious knockout he suffered against Marquez but against Jeff Horn, Manny Pacquiao looked like he had lost more than just a step. He appeared sluggish at times and flat. It appeared to this scribe as though Manny could see what needed to be done both offensively and defensively but could no long get his body and his brain to sync up. Even in winning the fight Pacquiao looked bad. Watching the fight yours truly felt as though Horn was just one big punch away from retiring Pacquiao permanently...even though Manny was in control. That's how fragile Pacquiao looked on Saturday night. If he continues his career as a professional prize fighter he's one....maybe two fights away from having his "McBride moment". It's not always about whether you win or lose in boxing but rather how you look in both victory and defeat.

Photo: pinterest.com
Pacquiao's career is likely to limp forward with a rematch against Horn later in the year and whether he wins that fight or not the smart money says he'll continue for at least a fight or two more as he closes in on his 40th birthday. It also says that Manny Pacquiao is finished at the highest levels of the sport as Horn wouldn't have lasted 4 rounds against a prime Pacquiao. There's talk of trainer Freddie Roach having a very serious discussion with his long time charge about retiring but how many times have boxing aficionados seen this scenario play out? In four months time Freddie Roach will be telling the media that Pacquiao looks ferocious in preparation for the Horn rematch and that it's Manny's best camp in years.

The last time the boxing world saw a peak Pacquiao he was concussing and knocking Ricky Hatton silly but 2009 is a long time removed from 2017...as is Pacquiao from his best. Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest and most memorable fighters of all time but his time and era have unofficially come to a close. I've never enjoyed or taken any pleasure in watching powerhouses of the sport slowly fade and eventually fall off the cliff. That said, his mind hasn't been in the game for years and now Pacquiao's body is following suit. We saw on Saturday why Pacquiao is fighting the Jeff Horn's of the world rather than the Spence's or Crawford's. It's time to go Manny.

Scott Jarvis is a boxing writer for Split D Boxing. He can be reached on TwitterFacebook, or by email at splitdecisionbox@gmail.com.