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Monday, December 05, 2005
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com was ringside and scored it 116-112 for Taylor. He also added, "But there was no controversy like last time."
Maybe the controversy was not as intense as in their first fight, in large part because people may be sick of this whole affair by now, but it certainly is mistaken to say that there was "no controversy."
Phil Woolever on Thesweetscience.com , who also was at the fight, was one of the few writers to report what the crowd thought of this verdict. "An informal exit poll showed equal support for each side," he wrote.
Ron Borges of the Boston Globe , who polled the ringside writers last time, said of his take, "The Globe card scored the bout a draw."
Ben Cohen of Secondsout.com wrote, "Taylor was deemed the winner by the judges (115-113 on all score cards), but it appeared that Hopkins had in fact landed more punches and probably deserved at least a draw against the less experienced fighter."
Chris Robinson on Bragging Rights Corner wrote, "If I had to be hard pressed to pick a winner I would give a slight edge to Hopkins."
Among a circle of writers with whom I correspond, Frank Lotierzo and Carlo Rotella had it for Hopkins, while Rich O'Brien and Brian Moore had it for Taylor, all by close scores. And I, of course, had it for Hopkins.
Even among the HBO announcers, there was a divergence of opinion. While Harold Lederman so predictably had it for Taylor, Max Kellerman had it for Hopkins. More surprisingly, the cranky company man Larry Merchant had it a draw, five rounds apiece with two even.
There were, of course, many writers who had Taylor winning. George Willis of the New York Post had it 115-114 for Taylor. Norm Frauenheim of the Arizona Republic scored it for Taylor by an even wider margin, 116-112.
That, by the way, is a whole lot of members of the Boxing Writers Association of America on both sides of the fence, and even on the fence, too.
Because this fight was hardly a classic, because it was likely Hopkins's final title fight, because it was a close fight almost any way you look at it and nowhere near a robbery, and because people just want to move on, the verdict will not become too much of a topic for endless debate. But the fight will remain in the same category as the two Larry Holmes-Michael Spinks fights, and likewise be seen as a transitional step in the changing of the guard in a major weight division, however clumsily and however much to meet a corporate agenda that was accomplished.