It is not often that I will write about things from outside of the Asian boxing world but today I have not been able to restrain myself. It is rare but it is about something I feel needs to be said.
Today we saw "The moment" the biggest American boxing show of the year and one of the biggest in recent years. It was sold on PPV in America for up to $74.99 and may well have done more to harm boxing than to anything else. In fact if anything it could well turn fans away from the sport.
The first issues arose in the show's first bout, a contest between Marco Antonio Periban and J'Leon Love. The referee for that bout was refereed by Jay Nady who made a serious mistake in allowing Love to take multiple shots when he was out on his feet. In other countries, notably Britain, that fight would have been stopped. He then followed that mistake up by allowing Periban to land several shots on Love when Love did eventually go down. Both of these issues came in round 5.
As well as the mistakes in round 5, by the referee, we then saw some confusing judging with a peculiar score of 95-93 handed in by David Sutherland. This would insinuate that their was either a 10-7 round or two 10-8's. Don't get me wrong neither of those are technically out of the question but both would appear some what peculiar given the action of the fight.
A second peculiar score in the bout was the 97-92 in favour of Love by Lisa Giampa. She effectively gave Love everything but the round he was knocked down in and 1 other.
I have no issues with Love winning, but those cards need close scrutiny. A 96-93, as handed in by Glenn Trowbridge, or a 95-94 card in favour of Love would have been in the "correct" range of scores.
We also saw a cut, on Periban, that changed the fight. Unfortunately it appeared to come from an elbow, an elbow that was missed by Jay Nady. It wouldn't have necessarily changed the bout that much but it could have been very significant had the bout been ended due to the cut.
In the second bout we from bad to worse. This bout saw former 3-weight world champion Adrien Broner put on a less than stellar performance against the limited and light hitting Carlos Molina. Broner was very slow out of the gate and appeared to lose at least 2, if not 3, of the opening rounds. He later threw Molina to the canvas in what seemed a clear foul that deserved a point deduction.
Despite clearly losing a number of the early rounds, and some of the later rounds being swing rounds, Broner managed to win with the ridiculously wide cards or 98-92, 99-91 and 100-90. Those cards, handed in by Patricia Morse Jarman, Richard Ocasio and Levi Martinez, respectively, were terrible. It was as if they didn't even watch the fight. Broner was never in trouble but he was losing rounds based on his lack of activity and that should have been reflected on the cards which at the widest should have been 97-93 for Broner, though I have seem some suggesting a 95-95 draw, which actually is closer to reality than the shut out from Levi Martinez.
Unfortunately I'd have loved the scoring to have been the only gripe I had with the Broner bout but sadly it wasn't. After the fight Broner was his typical brash self and over-stepped the mark by saying that the contest was like "sparring". If you want fans to pay big money to see you, they don't want you to treat it like a sparring bout. If they have paid big money, like they have here, to see you pretty much sparring with a limited opponent this time around it's likely they will avoid the next PPV you're on, and maybe even the next PPV full stop. An issues that should really annoy both your promoted and the network carrying the fight and paying you the inflated purse.
The third show was the most interesting bout on paper as Amir Khan took on Luis Collazo. This bout was one many, including myself, were backing Collazo to come out victorious in. I'll hold my hands up and say well done to Amir for a very good victory and one that showed he belonged in the top 10 or so fighters at Welterweight.
Unfortunately the bout was marred with holding, low blows, elbows and, once again, poor officiating. Referee Vic Drakulich allowed Khan off with an awful lot of holding before taking a point, whilst Khan was in trouble for possibly the only time in the fight. Later Khan was holding, leaning on the head of Collazo and utilising headlocks that all went unpunished in a bout that seemed to suggest Drakulich hadn't managed to keep control of the issues that really thwarted the second half of the contest.
If the holding by Khan was bad then the main event was also blighted by the same issue with Floyd Mayweather Jr holding regularly in his disputed victory over Marcos Maidana. Both men traded low blows and both men bent the rules on a regular basis, though the referee often turned a blind eye the fouls by Mayweather to admonish Maidana.
Thankfully the actual action and fight made up for the questionable tactics of both. In fact the fight was thrilling through out with Maidana starting like a steam train, Mayweather fighting back hard in the middle of the fight then both trying to close the show late. It was close with each men clearly winning some rounds and some rounds being up for debate. Unfortunately for one judge, Burt A. Clements, the bout seemed one sided as he turned in a 117-111 score card. Effectively Clements had suggested Mayweather had won 9 of the 12 rounds, something that seemed almost impossible.
Mayweather managed to take a majority decision over all with Dave Moretti scoring the contest 116-112 to Mayweather and Michael Pernick scoring the bout a draw at 114-114. I'd suggest 113-115 , 114-114 or 115-113 would have been the right "range" of scores.
Whilst we did get a great fight in the Mayweather/Maidana one I know, looking back, the show wasn't worth the $74.99 that US customers were charged for it. We had great bout but we had awful officiating through out, we have a man admit that he was fighting a sparring partner, we had an insanely high price and maybe most tellingly we had several fighters being paid far more than they should have, which in tern caused the price for the PPV to be so much.
Mayweather earned a minimum of $32,000,000, Maidana, Khan and Broner earned between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000. Khan and Maidana certainly earned every penny they got, though Broner really did rip off the paying public and admitted as much. This certainly left a bad taste in my mouth and I didn't pay the ridiculously high price for the fight with it being televised in the UK as part of the subscription based Boxnation.
This actually brings me, nicely, to my next point. World title bouts in Japan are usually televised on free to air TV, the same also applies in Thailand. This coming Wednesday fans in Japan will get the chance to see some world title action with TBS televising two world title fights at peak time with no bumper payment. I'm not saying the Japanese way is right but but many of these fights on this PPV were not worth being on a PPV card, in fact 3 were of a similar level, in terms of match up, to what one would see on ESPN on the under-card of a free card.
For me the PPV model depends on the show being an advert of the sport. A good PPV lures in an audience, lets fans see what professional boxing is about and should be used to make fans come back again. It should be exciting, it should be fun to watch fighters together and feature bouts that will get the heart pumping. Instead this show may well have done more harm than good. Many will question the legitimacy of the judging whilst others will be wondering whether or not they should be paying top dollar for the likes of Broner, Love, Periban, Molina and Collazo.
I'm not going to say stop buying PPV's, that'd be silly, but I do recommend that you, who pay for it, question the quality of what you're getting. For me this show needed a second big bout, not a couple of show case contests.
(Image courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime)
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.