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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Fool Me Once .... 

    Immediately after Saturday's rematch between Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins, I was called at home by a friend who is a huge boxing fan and also a national champion freestyle wrestler, Mo Lawal. He, like myself, had just seen the fight live on television. Mo thought that once again as in their first fight Hopkins had done enough to win, but that once again he had been denied the victory by a flawed decision. I agreed, having scored this fight, admittedly from boob tubeside, 115-113 for Hopkins.

    As expected, neither fighter hurt the other significantly. But once again according to the official CompuBox punchstats, Hopkins had outlanded Taylor in the rematch. This time Hopkins landed 130 of 371 total punches for a connect rate of 35%. Taylor landed 124 of 391 for 32%. In power punches, Hopkins had a wider edge, landing 101 of 240 for 42%, while Taylor landed just 60 of 182 for 33%. That meant that Taylor landed more jabs, but did less damage.

    Hopkins controlled the pace of the fight for more rounds than did Taylor, and made Taylor swing wildly and inaccurately numerous times. Meanwhile, Hopkins mauled him on the inside, and forced Taylor to tie him up so much that referee Jay Nady actually warned Taylor, and not Hopkins, several times about holding.

    I had Hopkins winning rounds 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12, with 2, 3, 4, 6, and 11 for Taylor. (I gave the third to Taylor even though my Time Warner Cable digital box went out for the first two minutes of this round. The consensus seemed to be for Taylor, and from what I saw of the last minute this was probably right.)

    Of note is that not once did the Time Warner-HBO announcers mention the name of the alphabet organizations whose belts were at stake in this fight. They were just as silent in the co-feature between WBC 122-pound champ Oscar Larios and IBF champ Israel Vazquez, a brief but entertaining brawl won by third-round TKO by Vazquez because of a huge gash over Larios's left eye caused by punches. Vazquez unified these two titles, but our corporate mainstream media "reporters" left out the "what" of the 5 W's of journalism. This is reminiscent of those bought-and-paid-for embedded sheep repeating government propaganda about WMD, etc.

    Also interestingly, not listed in the credits as one of HBO's corporate sponsors was The Ring, another bunch who hands out belts and who used to work with HBO. The HBO announcers also all trashed this fight as not entertaining. In other words, even if Hopkins really won, it didn't matter much, so let's shut up and move on.

    Thus what Taylor really retained tonight was the HBO championship of the world. Now that the bill to establish a national boxing commission has been killed in the House, they will face no regulation for being the unregulated promoters that they really are. They sign fighters and do everything else an old-fashioned promoter does but sell tickets at the arena box office; instead they sell them at their Home Box Office.

    This was not a hideous decision as it was a close fight and far from a blowout. There usually are far worse verdicts a few times each week. But it was bad enough to turn off at least some fans.

    "I'm done with boxing for a while," stated Mo. While he did say he would again watch "a good fight in a neutral place," he made his preference clear: "I lean to ultimate fighting."

    REPLAY NOTE: For those who missed it because they didn't want to spend 50 bucks (or who don't like to steal the signal), HBO will rebroadcast this fight next Saturday, Dec. 10, along with the live telecast of the Winky Wright-Sam Soliman middleweight fight, at 10:00 PM ET/ 7:00 PM PT and 9:00 PM CT. This two-fight telecast will also air on HBO2 on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 11:00 AM and 5:30 PM, and Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 11:45 PM. All those times are ET/PT.

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    Comments:
    Eddie, Good piece. It's important to note that by withdrawing the mention of all titles--not in and of itself a bad thing--HBO has positioned itself to become the imprimatur for determining who the champions are. And, as you mention, they are now unabashedly promoters. It's a slick business move. It'll be interesting to see if they get away with something this disingenuous.
     
    HBO has been extremely vulnerable to competition for quite a while. Unfortunately, Showtime hasn't completely taken advantage of the situation. It's as though the elephant has been shot, but the hunter refuses to move in or doesn't have the resources necessary to procure the carcass.

    Greg Smith
     
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    2 Comments:

    Eddie, Good piece. It's important to note that by withdrawing the mention of all titles--not in and of itself a bad thing--HBO has positioned itself to become the imprimatur for determining who the champions are. And, as you mention, they are now unabashedly promoters. It's a slick business move. It'll be interesting to see if they get away with something this disingenuous.

    By Anonymous Charles Farrell, at 7:47 AM  

    HBO has been extremely vulnerable to competition for quite a while. Unfortunately, Showtime hasn't completely taken advantage of the situation. It's as though the elephant has been shot, but the hunter refuses to move in or doesn't have the resources necessary to procure the carcass.

    Greg Smith

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:15 AM  

    Post a Comment

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