Weekend Afterthoughts, Featuring Calls For Investigations Of Ali Funeka-Joan Guzman, What’s Next For Lucian Bute, The Japanese Fight Of The Century (Or So I Say) And More

‘Twas an eventful boxing weekend, no? Surprises galore, controversy, big crowds and a fight so bad (the one above) that it actually became eventful by virtue of its badness.

Further rumination awaits after the jump.

  • Next for Lucian Bute. After Bute knocked out Librado Andrade Saturday, early word was that HBO is keen on the super middleweight taking on middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik. I like the fight, if Pavlik can get his act together, something he hasn’t been able to do in a wasted 2009. Personally, I’d like to see Bute get the following options in the following order: 1. Entry into Showtime’s Super Six tournament, replacing Jermain Taylor. Looks unlikely, with Taylor apparently staying in and HBO’s preference for holding on to Bute. 2. Moving up to fight Jean Pascal at light heavyweight. That fight does ridiculous business in Canada. And it’s a good match-up, too. 3. Chad Dawson moving down to 168 to fight Bute or Bute moving up light heavy for that bout. Another good match-up, but Dawson is a better fighter than Pascal, I do believe. 4. Pavlik. Pavlik, though, says he wants the winner of Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez, fighting Dec. 5. I don’t know if either man would want to fight him. Williams’ people are rightly disgusted with Pavlik postponing the fight once then trying to postpone it again.
  • Super Six vs. Bute. There’s a sense out there that HBO sort of stuck it to Showtime and its Super Six tournament with Bute-Andrade II, as expressed by commenter kenttowers here and others. In a way, I agree with them. The Super Six tourney has marketed itself as the tournament that has all the best super middleweights and will at some point crown a true division king. I think that was a misguided marketing strategy from the start. If they’d had Bute in there, maybe they could have claimed as such, and after Bute’s win, that marketing scheme looks all the more foolish. Still, for me, the tourney has never been about whether it will crown a true division king, although it might still — the tourney will last a long time and could take a lot of twists and turns. (Related aside: It’s now looking likely Arthur Abraham-Andre Dirrell will be postponed for a couple months, with Abraham sick.) For me, the tourney has been about most of the division’s best putting their records on the line in a series of intriguing match-ups. It remains that.
  • Boo-tay. Hearing a crowd chant that brings the chuckles out of my inner 7th grader.
  • New iron chin king? With Andrade’s knockout loss, the two most inhuman punch resisters in boxing — Andrade and welterweight Antonio Margarito — have suffered KO losses in 2009. There is no obvious heir to their thrones; there’s nobody out there I can think of who stalked forward like that with such reckless disregard for the safety of their brains. Any nominees for who inherits the iron chin king’s throne? The following come to mind for me, none as compelling as Margarito or Andrade in their heyday: Manny Pacquiao; Shane Mosley: Paul Williams; Celestino Caballero; Vitali Klitschko; Tomasz Adamek; Glen Johnson; Sakio Bika; Alfredo Angulo; Joshua Clottey; Juan Urango; Rocky Juarez; Joseph Agbeko; Nonito Donaire. I might have to do a post on this. Everybody hit me with their picks, please.
  • Calls for investigating Ali Funeka-Joan Guzman draw. Promoter Gary Shaw alleged a potential “fix” immediately after his lightweight, Funeka, was robbed of what most thought was an obvious and wide decision win. In a news release, he called for an investigation by the IBF and Interpol, leading to this nice quip by friend of the site WF. (And a note of caution from friend of the site DPG.) Even Lou DiBella, a promoter who had no stake in the fight but who comes across as one of the most integrity-havin’ of the big promoters, called BoxingScene to bitch about the results and lobby for an investigation of the judges. On his Twitter page, DiBella hinted darkly to WF (who comes across as one of the most integrity-wantin’ boxing fans I know) that it happened “because there r bold,filthy motherfuckers in the business and the corruption is ‘legal’ and institutionalized.” I wish I knew more about what he meant there, but I think the calls for investigation are QUITE appropriate. It may not be the worst decision I’ve ever seen, but it’s way up there. I’ve searched far and wide for people who agree with it, and the best I can come up with is one bulletin board commenter who scored it a draw and Bad Left Hook scoring it 115-113 for Funeka. One thing I will agree with, amongst the least-skeptical-of-the-draw crowd: Funeka didn’t show much urgency to finish the show, and he should have.
  • Golden Boy conspiracy theories. One of the main strings to emerge from the Funeka-Guzman draw is that Golden Boy Promotions was involved in yet another controversial decision. Looking at my bad decisions of 2009, I list six, and in three, GBP fighters came out better off. The other beneficiaries were DiBella, Mick Hennessy and Top Rank. I have no idea if that’s statistically significant enough a sample to tell us anything about any “GBP is involved in a lot of bad decisions” theories, as GBP also happens to have a lot of fights on television and has a ton of fighters — more than anyone else, I do believe — under contract. I’d say it’s premature to jump to that conclusion, in other words. If you endorse the Unified Theory of Boxing Corruption, where GBP has its tendrils in HBO, boxing media and everywhere else, I do wonder how you explain HBO’s commentators condemning the Funeka-Guzman decision in the harshest possible terms; you’d think they would sugarcoat it or something, if they were “in on it,” as the theorists like to say.
  • Lennox Lewis must go. This guy has to be fired. He’s just so useless, inept and ineloquent behind the mic that I can’t imagine why he is retained by HBO. There is not a single soul I’ve ever met who defends the idea of Lewis keeping his job, other than my friends who enjoy doing their impressions of Lewis saying completely banal things. If there is a list detailing what a commentator shouldn’t do, Lewis routinely does them all. Offering observations of absolutely zero value? “Andrade really wants to hit him.” Check. Mauling facts so ruthlessly that you wonder if he’s doing the entire telecast during a waking Ambien dream? “This is his second time to America, and this is the same thing that happened,” Lewis said, while in Quebec. Check. Starting sentences and halting them for no apparent reason, never to return to them as the other commentators wait for him to finish his thought? “I’m sure… [silence]” Check. If Lewis just did some of these things occasionally, I’d forgive him. He does them all, every time. And it’s been going on for years.
  • Funeka interview. I hate to dog people out for trying to speak English when it’s not their native language, but man, that Funeka post-fight interview was the most incomprehensible interview of all time. It sounded like English in spots, but the language I thought it most resembled was Ewok.
  • Koki Kameda-Daisuke Naito. Kameda won what I’m calling The Japanese Fight of the Century, along with friend of the site Chris, who was a sport to play along. Anyway, it was in actuality a huge fight in Japan, and Kameda by all accounts deserved to win the spirited flyweight affair. I hope to catch the full fight on YouTube at some point, but for now, just checking out most of the 12th round, it sure looked spirited.
  • Rafal-Jackiewicz-Delvin Rodriguez. Jackiewicz beat Rodriguez in another close-ish decision described as a spirited affair, and now he’ll get to challenge for the welterweight alphabet title currently held by Isaac Hlatshwayo. No offense to Hlatshwayo, an accomplished fighter, or Jackiewicz, who’s been on a good run, but for those who put any stock in alphabet title belts, I wonder if there’s anyone who looks at what’s happening at welterweight these days and thinks that the winner of Jackiewicz-Hlatshwayo deserves to be called “champion” of anything. There may be no more irrelevant a belt in any division today.
  • Worst fight of the year? I’ve only watched it in spots, as it is unwatchable, but the junior middleweight Anthony Small-Thomas McDonagh “fight” is statistically one of the worst fights I’ve ever heard of. Each man landed exactly 39 punches, good for a connect rate of 3.25 punches per round. Again, based on what I saw, it wasn’t that they weren’t trying to hit one another, at least the sections I watched — they just couldn’t. Small’s connect rate was 12 percent, to McDonagh’s 14. The highlight of the bout was a fall where Small kicked the ring bell, as if out of some slapstick comedy from the dawn of talkies. It’s only a handful of seconds into the clip above, if you want to avoid prolonged misery.
  • DeMarcus Corley loses. Corley, a veteran junior welterweight, had been on a modest comeback from a series of six straight losses that led some (including me) to call for his retirement, but his loss to a 10-1-1 fighter in Russia seriously crimps that, or so it would seem.
  • Bernard Hopkins on Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather. Like I said, I could write something every single day on this thing. Hopkins here discounts the idea that the fight will happen, but I think he’s kinda talking out his ass — he’s been a strong advocate of Shane Mosley getting Mayweather, and I think he’d rather see that fight as a friend to Mosley and as a guy who proclaims that he rights “injustices” where he sees them. Nobody should get too worried about Pacquiao-Mayweather not happening — yet.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.