Welcome to another edition of the Monday Rant, the boxing column that knows champions are lineal (pertaining to lineage) and not linear (pertaining to geometry).
When you write about boxing on any level, you’re forced into making tons of predictions and judgment calls. It’s part of the game and there’s no way around it. For someone called upon to make hundreds of prognostications a year, the chance of screwing up and making a wrong call is great. Even the most knowledgeable of analysts will screw up, often as much as a quarter of the time. Boxing is probably the most unpredictable of sports and even a 75% rate of accuracy should be considered impressive.
However, Monday morning quarterbacks and agenda-humping douche bags abound in this business, and you’re always going to come across idiots who insist on rubbing your nose in any mistake you make.
Personally, I have no problem owning my mistakes and, while I’m not particularly proud of being wrong, I don’t see any shame in making a bold prediction and having it blow up in my face. So, in that spirit, here’s a small list of my biggest blown calls in recent years:
* I characterized Sergio Martinez, at the time he beat Alex Bunema in 2008, as a “Roy Jones wannabe without the skill or athleticism to pull off the style he aspires to. He will be exposed soon.”
This is laughable now, but I based the judgment call on the Martinez who lost to Antonio Margarito eight years earlier and had been in against very limited opposition since. “Maravilla” has proven to be a crafty and scrappy fighter backed up by superb athleticism and conditioning. My bad.
* Yes, I predicted a Shane Mosley TKO victory over Manny Pacquiao. I thought that maybe, possibly Mosley had one more big fight in him and could get fired up about such a high profile contest. I also felt that Mosley’s experience and fundamentals could offset Pacquiao’s game just enough to give Mosley a puncher’s chance. I fully recognized and accepted Pacquiao’s status as the heavy betting favorite, but made the call anyway– a call which has led to my inbox being perpetually stuffed with “Stupid Pacquiao hater” emails from the mentally challenged at Pacland. And, for the record, despite what some self-obsessed part-time bloggers have hinted at, I never said that Mosley-Pacquiao was “fixed.” That’s silly. I don’t think that and never said it. It just goes to show how poorly some people receive and process information.
* Speaking of bloggers…I have made the mistake of equating intelligence with being wise, mature or even hard-working. Boxing scribes don’t live in the real world where integrity and a clear moral compass are good things. This is a snarky world of shills, wannabe shills, and, perhaps just as annoying, know-it-all bloggers with borderline personality disorders.
I’m relatively naive in the world of internet boxing coverage. Four years ago, I didn’t even know people were online talking about boxing. I’ve learned that there are few friends and well-meaning colleagues in this game. My couple of years in this world have often been eye-opening, to say the least. It’s not disappointment on a par with finding out there’s no Santa Claus, but more like finding out that Santa Claus is a jealous twit with the maturity level of a teenage drama queen. Ultimately, I have bigger fish to fry and little time to waste. I just don’t feel like dealing with bitter, jealous bloggers with Cheetoh-stained fingers who live to think up biting, spirit-breaking quips in their once-a-week blog posts.
* Devon Alexander. I guess my mind is still stuck in the 80’s, stuck on fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, but when I see fighters who superficially remind me of those guys, I tend to overestimate their ability. I have to keep remembering that we’re in the new millennium, an era where the amateur scoring system has turned boxing into glorified fencing and where most fans and media don’t have the attention span to appreciate real, skilled prize fighting. While we’re at it, let’s throw Adrien Broner into the mix as a prospect I mistakenly rated highly at one point.
* Color me wrong when it comes to Victor Ortiz. I was among the overwhelming majority who wrote off “Vicious” Victor as a head case following his quit job against Marcos Maidana in 2009. My firm take on Ortiz was that he would be eaten alive as soon as he was forced to face adversity again.
Against Andre Berto, not only did he face adversity, but he barreled right through it en route to an impressive title-winning effort. Truthfully, I’m not completely sold on Ortiz, but I won’t be so quick to doubt him again.
At this time I would also like to point out that I was calling BS on Margarito for years, openly suspecting him of being up to no good….I also predicted Mosley over Margarito and Manny Pacquiao’s run of success at the higher weights…But those are subjects for a future column, tentatively titled, “Ain’t I Clever?”
You can email Paul at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/boxing BTBC or check him out as he works on anonymous, snarky quips about other writers and websites. Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kid’s Club.