Lets start this be being totally honest. This past week was terrible! There was a lack of action, issues with health, bouts cancelled, and some awful garbage going on with a Top Rank show, that has left a bad taste in everyone's mouth. The past 7 days are certainly not going to stand out in the memory of many, at least not for positive reasons. We will, as always, start with the positives, and then go through the bad, and the downright ugly.
1-Dangan announce double header for January
This past week Dangan announced that they would be promoting two Japanese title bouts in January, on the same card, giving us a sensational double header to look forward to. And seriously we are looking forward to this card so much right now! The bouts in question will see the always fun to watch Yusaku Kuga defending the Japanese Super Bantamweight title against Gakuya Furuhashi and the Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka defending his belt against Takuya Watanabe. If these two bouts go off without a hiccup, we will forgive the boxing gods for this crap week.
2-Female lead card in the UK
We don't get to sing Matchroom praises a lot here, but well done to them for having a female dominated show on Saturday night in the UK. It seems Eddie Hearn is going all in on female boxing, signing some major international talent, and putting on a triple header of female fights, headlined by Katie Taylor. Not only did the show get treat like a special event, and promoted hard, but it was also made available for free on YouTube and Facebook, and promoted like it was a major change in how boxing will be done in the UK. We're just hoping that this is the next step towards something bigger and better, and not just a fad during the no-fan era of British boxing. Although the card was great for female boxing, it wasn't perfect and Hearn will need to step up the quality of match ups if he does something similar in the future. It's a good step, but there is a lot of improvement needed for female boxing to catch on with a British audience.
1-Luke Campbell and Nordine Oubaali (among others) testing positive Covid19
Early in the week it was announced that Luke Campbell, Nordine Oubaali and several un-named fighters in Japan had tested positive for Covid 19. This has forced Campbell's bout with Ryan Garcia to be pushed back, if not cancelled, Oubaali's with Nonito Donaire to be put on ice for now, and a trainer in Japan to be isolated in hospital. It's clear that current protocols aren't 100% effective anywhere, and things perhaps do need a major over-haul to try and prevent more spread through out the boxing world.
Thankfully it appears Campbell's result was a few weeks ago, rather than this week, but it's still come to light this week with the delay of his bout. A bout that was supposed to help the global launch of DAZN.
Oubaali on the other hand has been promoted to WBC "champion in recess" whilst Donaire will face Emmanuel Rodriguez for the vacant world title. Well done to the WBC, for once, for making the best of a bad situation, credit where it's due.
2-Top Rank and ESPN's timing
If you're from the UK and you stayed up to watch Terence Crawford's TKO win over Kell Brook, you probably went though have a jar of coffee, and some matchsticks to keep your eyes open thanks to ESPN completely shitting the bed here. There under-card flew by on ESPN+ but instead of going to the co-feature when they could have, they essentially paused the broadcast with Joshua Franco and Andrew Moloney waiting in the rings. The reason for this was to take the broadcast to ESPN. A great idea until you consider that there was almost quarter of an hour of a college football game to get through first. Not just that, but the game was over a competition by then, with a score of 56-28. They were in garbage time, and the boxing was going to wait. Then we got the Franco and Moloney fight and had an issue with replay, more about that later, then we had national anthems, and promotional videos, for the fight we had tuned into watch! By the time the fight started the sun was rising in Brook's homeland, and even the American audiences were complaining about the start time. Come on ESPN you can do better. Much better! Given this was on pay TV in the UK, though Premier Sports, it would have left a really nasty taste in the mouths of fans.
3-ESPN's general lack of professionalism
Yeah we're ragging on ESPN again, and it won't the last time so if you work for the "Global Leader" you may want to just forget about this week. But what the fuck were their team doing? Seriously that was one of the least professional broadcasts we've ever seen, with both Joe Tessitore and Mark Kreigel coming across as despicable, unprofessional arseholes. Tessitore's comments about Brook taking his $2,000,000 came across as crass, underhand and almost as if Brook had spent his isolation in a room having his way with a close relative of Tessitore's. Kreigel on the other hand asked pretty much the same question of Brook several times, trying to get the Englishman to run with his narrative, rather than accepting the answer given by Brook. We've really tired of Kreigel, who might be a fantastic "essayist" but he's a terrible broadcaster, and ESPN really need to think about getting someone else on board, maybe someone less obsessed with fighters parents.
1-Replays cause confusion and a fucking mess of things!
And we go for the tri-fecta on the ESPN card, although in fairness this wasn't all down to them but it was on their show. Let us start by saying that technology in sport is a good thing, or at least it can be. The video replay in NFL is great, Hawkeye in Cricket and Tennis is fantastic. The idea is that a decision can be rendered correctly and quickly, and everyone can see where the decision has been made, and how the officials have reached their conclusion. Sadly however technology isn't the answer for incompetence, as football fans are seeing with VAR and now boxing fans are seeing with ringside replays. The Joshua Franco Vs Andrew Moloney rematch was stopped due to swelling over Franco's eye, that Russell Mora had ruled, in real time, was due to an accidental headclash. In reality had that call stood we wouldn't be complaining, whether it was right or wrong it "looked" right, and was understandable. Instead we had imbeciles sitting around a monitor watching replays over, and over, and over, and over...for more than 20 fucking minutes, before rendering a decision. And with all those replays they concluded the referee was right. As fans watching, we couldn't see a headclash that caused the cut, and from the replays it seemed a clear punch, albeit with an accidental but legal thumb in the eye, caused the issue.
Their was confusion, there was anger, their was a waste of time, and their was, seemingly, an injustice.
We've mentioned this in the past, but if a replay is to be used in boxing it should be used as "live", and give the ringside officials the 1 minute between rounds to make a call based on what they see. That allows the fighters to know where they stand and alter their tactics. For example, if Franco had been told his injury was from a punch it would have given him a chance to go all out, but he was fighting under the assumption it was a clash of heads.
We are for replay in boxing, but it needs to be sorted out. Nihito Arakawa's bout with Daniel Estrada saw it being badly used, and more recently Jose Pedraza's bout with Mikkel LesPierre saw it being fudged. Get it fucking sorted guys, or can it off.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces