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 11, 2005

Wright-Soliman: HBO Does It Again 

Did you know that Winky Wright had a cold this week coming into his fight Saturday night with Sam Soliman? Not if you watched the HBO live telecast of this bout, where this pertinent fact, which may have at least partially explained Wright's less-than-spectacular if victorious performance, remained unreported.

Did you know that the network which aired in the U.S. some of the best and most important fights of 2005, including Corrales-Castillo 1, Hatton-Tszyu, and Judah-Spinks 2, was Showtime? Not if you watched HBO's recap of 2005, after Wright-Soliman, where clips of these fights appeared without either mention of or graphics about their appearing on HBO's main premium cable rival.

Did you know that Wright's opponent Saturday night, Sam Soliman of Australia, is a highly unorthodox but durable fighter who has great endurance while fighting from wildly strange angles? Well, you may have learned that by watching this fight, but HBO's announcers seemed woefully unfamiliar with Soliman going into this bout, with one even admitting on air that he had never even watched a tape of him before (and how many others were also guilty of this but without such a confession?).

And as for HBO's matchmaking Saturday night, as our colleague Charles Farrell wrote us:

Did anyone from HBO bother to scout Sam Soliman? If the intention was to make Winky Wright look bad, they did a good job. I thought that Mike Hunter threw junk, but he was Lew Jenkins next to Sam.

The unpreparedness of the HBO mob even extended to when they heaped praise on fighters. While repeating ad nauseam that the heavyweight division is weak (maybe they should have had fellow Time Warner cable network CNN issue a breaking news alert about this), Larry Merchant praised the "featherweights" Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Manny Pacquiao, despite the fact that none of them have fought at that weight in over a year, and in Morales's case, since 2003.

But there was one highlight of this dreadful telecast of an entertaining fight. Before the fifth round, in response to an online question from a viewer about why they do not show the ring card girls, HBO finally gave us a full and lengthy shot of the lovely Rosanna of the Roundcardgirlz.com.

Of course, true to form, at no time in this telecast did these Time Warner-HBO journalists either report her name or ask her for any comments, as if the ring girls are inanimate objects who are just part of the scenery.

But then again, remember: It's not TV, it's HBO.

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