Rant #1 I guess it doesn’t matter who is plugged into the HBO Boxing broadcast slot, we’re always going to get a pair or trio of guys in suits looking to tell us a story rather than call a prize fight.
Max Kellerman and Bob Papa stepped right into the Lampley/Merchant roles of boxing narration on Saturday night’s Devon Alexander-Andriy Kotelnik bout.
From the early rounds on, the two announcers decided that the story to tell would be of a tough European veteran taking it to the young, American star, forcing the American to overcome the odds and reach a new level of mental toughness to go along with all the talent.
Unfortunately, the story didn’t pan out that way and it left the broadcast team with egg on their faces.
While Alexander clearly won six of the first seven rounds before fading late and losing four of the last five, Papa and Kellerman were raving about Kotelnik taking the early rounds and then, of course, stating the obvious by giving Kotelnik the later rounds as well.
This would’ve meant, if you were to believe Papa and Kellerman, that Kotelnik won just about every round. The early ones, the late ones and the ones in between.
By going so overboard in the first half of the fight, they painted themselves into a corner and it made them sound silly, especially when confronted with the scorecard of Harold Lederman, who had Alexander comfortably ahead going into the later rounds.
The dangers of HBO’s eagerness to tell a story is that sometimes the wrong guy gets lauded for winning a fight he didn’t win and, in this case, a righteous, hard fought win gets cast as a bogus victory.
Kellerman, Papa…Just call the fight. There’s no need to inject drama into a scenario already bursting with it….and stop listening to old tapes of Lampley and Merchant.
Rant #2: To Glen Johnson: Yes, you’ve been cheated a couple of times, but face the truth. You got beat by a younger, fresher fighter. Stop with the now-traditional post-fight incredulous glare into the camera. I like you and respect you, but you looked like a big baby when you were confronting Tavoris Cloud in the post-fight interview.
Rant #3: How much do you want to bet that next week’s Chad Dawson-Jean Pascal fight draws some of the lowest ratings of the year for HBO? If this fight tanks, the Super Six continues to draw low ratings and ESPN’s Friday Night Fights does poorly even when they try to put on good shows, then I’m just about done with trying to show some respect for fight fans.
If you guys don’t start supporting the sport, just go away. It’s about time we started weeding out the true fans from the UFC-influenced freaks who just want to see two dopes bop each other on the head.
Rant #4: Last week’s Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz II pay-per-view is probably going to max out at 200,000 buys.
Sadly, the fans these days don’t deserve the sport.
…More Ranting next week…