by Tim Harrison
Last weekend boxing suffered a severe blow to its already meager credibility when Timothy Bradley was awarded a decision over Manny Pacquiao after winning no more than four rounds on any impartial observer’s scorecard. Boxing was declared dead by many A-through-Z-list celebrities on Twitter.
Josh Duhamel, the actor brave enough to sign up for three of Michael Bay’s horrendous “Transformers” movies, declared “Yet ANOTHER reason why boxing sucks. #RIGGED”. Olivia Munn, the masturbatory favorite of sci-fi nerds across the world, chimed in with “What the fuck is up w/THAT decision?!!! Bradley barely touched Pacquiao! And u wonder why UFC & @DanaWhite r killing boxing. #UFCFTW”. Kim Kardashian, whose highly publicized wedding (from which she reportedly made $15-20 million dollars) and subsequent divorce only 72 days later prompted chatter of a fixed marriage and divorce, ironically weighed in with her unique thoughts a day later. “Just talking about this Pacquiao fight with @KhloeKardashian! How is this even legal???!!! Seems so fixed! Pacquiao deserves that belt!”
Well, that’s a wrap, folks. Pack it in. Josh Duhamel, Olivia Munn, and Kim Kardashian think boxing is fixed. Boxing may as well pack up and slink off into obscurity.
As boxing fans our collective memory is short, to say the least. Social media lights up with talk of “the worst robbery in recent memory” with every bad decision. It seemed like only a few days ago the internet was abuzz when Paul Williams was gifted a decision over Erislandy Lara in New Jersey. While seemingly only yesterday Richard Abril boxed circles around Brandon Rios, only to be denied a hard-earned win over Rios. In the case of Manny Pacquiao’s unjust loss to Bradley, given its vast visibility and mainstream coverage, it may really be one of the worst robberies in recent memory.
But robberies, injustices, and other black marks on boxing’s record come not only in the form of bad decisions, but from inept (or corrupt) commissions and the promoters who constantly seek refuge for their pet projects in said inept (or corrupt) commissions.
Saturday night will feature another fighter of high visibility with a cloud of controversy almost always hanging over his head, when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defends his WBC middleweight title against Ireland’s Andy Lee in the friendly confines of the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
Texas is one of the more dirty boxing commissions, although Nevada is giving it a serious run for its money. Dickie Cole, the head of the Texas Commission, is no stranger to playing loose with the rules as he sees fit. His son Laurence, referee and insurance agent extraordinaire, is granted no-bid contracts to supply fight insurance to fights in Texas, and is often the appointed referee in high-profile title fights. Texas loosely interprets its rules when necessary, and looks the other way at other times. Judges who turn in horrendous scorecards, such as the infamous Gale Van Hoy, are free to continue unabated. Good ol’ boy cronyism in a 10-gallon hat is rampant in the Lone Star State.
Chavez, who in his last outing in Texas came into the ring having gained 22 pounds from the weigh-in, wasn’t asked to take the “required” mandatory post-fight drug test. When a fighter has a recorded history of testing positive for the banned diuretic, Furosemide, one would suspect that a red flag would be waved when he gains 22 pounds after the weigh in. In the case of Chavez, the Texas commission allegedly “forgot” to book the agency to collect the post-fight urine samples. And when challenger Marco Antonio Rubio’s management raised the issue, Cole was seen on video with WBC dictator, Jose Sulaiman having a hearty laugh as they playfully batted the responsibility of the forgotten drug test back and forth.
Just this year alone we’ve seen Nonito Donaire survive a scare when one judge scored his dominant victory over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in favor of his challenger, Gabriel Campillo was robbed of a piece of the light heavyweight crown against Tavoris Cloud, and Carlos Molina was disqualified in a fight he was clearly winning when his corner entered the ring when they thought the round had ended.
With the volatile mix of Bob Arum, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the Texas commission, the WBC, and the loud and boisterous Lou DiBella promoting the B-side, Saturday night has the potential to add a cut over boxing’s black, swollen eye. Boxing is heading into dark territory, with the replay of last weekend’s debacle preceding a controversy waiting to happen, we could be looking at two big controversies in back-to-back weeks. As boxing fans we can only hope we emerge from dark territory without further, unnecessary controversy.