Rant #1: Both Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson gave us “rant-worthy” performances last Saturday on HBO. I’ll get to Dawson later…
Pascal turned in an extremely cynical performance, directly from the Arthur Abraham school of how to fight in your own back yard.
He did nothing for large chunks of the round and then would rattle off a quick 3-5 second flurry in full knowledge that he’d get the benefit of the doubt on his home turf. It was a textbook example of how foreign fighters have been able to keep their belts against invading opponents.
From my point of view, Pascal wasn’t really working to win the fight; He was looking to steal rounds and, eventually, steal the fight by exploiting his home field advantage. This wasn’t the Jean Pascal who worked his ass off against Carl Froch and Adrian Diaconu; This was a Jean Pascal looking to pull a fast one and backdoor his way to a win.
Sure, it worked, but it didn’t raise his stock at all in my eyes…
Rant #2 And, of course, none of the above would’ve been possible if not for the fact that Chad Dawson allowed it to happen.
Pascal was sloppy, wasn’t landing as much as the crowd seemed to think, and wasn’t taking Dawson’s punches well at all…but Dawson wouldn’t press the action. He followed Pascal around, covered up effectively for Pascal’s occasional flurries, but never gave his opponent anything to think about until the very end of the bout.
Like I said during the Live Discussion Thread on the BTBC forum, sometimes the best fighter doesn’t win…Dawson had every advantage over Pascal and even during Pascal’s best moments, the bout always seemed winnable for Dawson. He just wouldn’t step on the gas.
Now, all kinds of stories regarding Dawson’s messed up managerial situation are starting to emerge, but save that stuff for the tabloids. A real professional goes out there to do his best, regardless of what’s happening outside the ropes.
Rant #3: If there was ever an HBO fight that needed a solid televised opener, it was this one. Neither fighter carries much of a fan base and to make them headline a one-fight card is almost a guarantee of a low rating.
I know HBO, unlike the major networks, doesn’t live or die on ratings alone, but spending $1.75 million to acquire a fight they may have ultimately buried, makes you further doubt HBO Sports’ Ross Greenburg’s acumen and dedication to the sport.
Rant #4: Speaking of Greenburg… Remember a few weeks ago when he confirmed that negotiations between Mayweather and Pacquiao were indeed taking place and that he was acting as a mediator?
Well, there was one factor that wasn’t ever talked about.
Bob Arum, by bringing Greenburg’s name into this fiasco, basically backed the HBO exec into a corner.
After all the publicity, what was Greenburg supposed to do…say that he was never trying to make the biggest fight of the 21st century? How would that look to his HBO superiors?
Notice how he delivered his statement via late-afternoon email and has since chosen not to comment on key factors such as the real extent of any talks and the issues being discussed.
Arum knew that Greenburg would look like a complete buffoon if he were downplay his role in any talks, preliminary and perfunctory, or not.