We have a lot to be thankful for as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday with the necessary precautions during a pandemic. And boxing promoters, the networks, and streaming services are responsible and get a big thank you for delivering shows during the global pandemic.
However, as is always with the sport, there is controversy. Heck, during a normal time when isn’t there some type of boxing controversy in or out of the ring?
So, to begin, let me take you back to last week. “Instant Replay….Instant Replay… You Know I need.” You know the lyrics of the Dan Hartman hit. I bring this up because instant replay and close calls in sports are accustomed to be under review. And it’s not a lyric they are playing.
And there are always those instances of a replay system in sports that are subject to further review. We see the flaws during a MLB season and the officials at a NASA like room of monitors get it right most of the time at Chelsea headquarters in New York City.
In the end, though, a long or brief review is usually correct. The decision is rendered and leaves no room to overturn a call. Was there enough conclusive evidence to overturn the call?
I can relay time-after-time the past few years covering MLB games. From our vantage point up in the press box the call was wrong. On the monitors we see officials got it right. Was there enough conclusive evidence in the field of play?
The officials in charge become the jury. So when you hear, “Upon further review” it’s about a replay.
Boxing? That’s another situation and relativity a new concept that has those obvious flaws. Last Saturday, we witnessed a fiasco of a Nevada State Athletic Commission replay system at ringside.
Andrew Moloney was the victim in his quest to regain the WBA super Flyweight title from Joshua Franco. The ESPN cameras and technology played a significant role at ringside on the Top Rank card from the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas.
The fight was stopped by ringside doctors after the second round. We saw the swelling around Franco’s right eye. Referee Russell Mora said the swelling was caused by an accidental head butt in the first round.
Yet during a lengthy review of the action, the first round in question repeated numerous times, it was obvious the swelling was caused by numerous punches coming from Moloney. It was obvious that Franco was being outpunched.
Replay cleary showed that the first round was not attributed to a head butt. Again, we waited as did the fighters and their respective corners. On-and-on the review continued and a no-decision was rendered.
Almost a half-hour of nonsense. Angle after angle. Slow motion and listening at home that the obvious ruling should be a stoppage due to a severe cut and not attributed to a clash of heads.
Different from other sports replay reviews, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum watched the proceedings as they unfolded and near NSAC executive director Bob Bennett and two other officials.
Okay, the promoter is allowed to observe the review? Arum could be heard screaming obscenities at Bennett and that was out of line. Replay reviews in other sports are done in video rooms at separate locations to not allow interference from those associated in upper management.
So that was the first flaw of the NSAC replay system. The other flaw, an obvious shame that those clear and evident punches was the reason Franco could not continue. Bennett, Mora, and two other officials saw that was obvious.
We saw that was obvious. Yet this was a major title fight, perhaps that was more reasons for the long delay. Regardless, the title would change hands again and that would have set the stage again for another boxing trilogy.
The obvious was not a clash of heads. The obvious were the punches to the eye. Franco has an injured eye socket. Moloney and his team have officially filed a protest with the NSAC.
The final verdict, as if we didn’t know it was coming, a third fight will happen and Moloney can have his redemption.. And the sport of boxing needs to improve a video review system that has a lot of questions before New York and other state commission and governing boards do the same.
Pity shame it took that long to render a decision. But in the end, boxing will try and get this right. If not replay is a farce
Throwing The Punches: The pandemic closed the doors for boxing at the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden since mid March. Also, low level promotions such as Broadway Boxing and Lou diBella have been shut out.
Top Rank, PBC, Matchroom, and Golden Boy have promoted shows with a bubble situation in closed door venues at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Microsoft Theatre and Staples Center in Los Angeles, and overseas in the UK.
The networks have pitched in with the financial means to do so. Top Rank (ESPN), PBC (FOX Sports & Showtime, Matchroom & Golden Boy (DAZN) while others on a smaller level struggle with feeds on Fite TV or Facebook streams.
In the meantime, many undercard and upcoming fighters are on the sideline with no opportunity. Many boxing gyms around the country remain closed or operating with limited capacity due to medical protocols.
But the situation could change in New York, though boxing fans would continue to be shut out from attending at Barclays or the Garden. With the NBA plan to start a new season, and with the Knicks and Nets reportedly using the Garden and Barclays as their home court, could that mean a resumption of boxing cards at the Garden and Barclays?
A source close to the situation said, the cost for promoters to hold events at those venues would be costly with no gate receipts from fans. Basically, and more important with boxing, revenue from gate receipts amounts to good purses for the fighters. But there is some hope all depending on state and medical protocols….
Terence Crawford is the fighter to watch as we go into a new year and to many he’s considered the best pound-for pound. But Crawford, who holds a part of the welterweight title is trapped as his Top Rank contract is keeping him away from fighting the top fighters at 147 who are a part of the PBC banner.
So Crawford is in line to unify the division and determine supremacy when it comes to Errol Spence Jr, Danny Garcia,Manny Pacquiao, Shaw Porter and others.
Last week, Crawford prevailed and defended his WBO title on ESPN that generated the second best television ratings of the year for boxing on ESPN. He wants the opportunity.
Bob Arum, on the other hand, is having a tough time in appeasing his premiere champion under the Top Rank promotion. It’s a guessing game where this is going.
So to stage a mega fight, anticipated, Crawford against Spence, that is the degree of difficulty. Arum and the PBC can’t come to terms as to where, what network to televise on pay-per-view, and the splits for both parties.
Well, this is boxing. Arum and the PBC have worked together in the past after the tough negotiations. Pacquio, then with Top Rank and Floys Mayweather Jr, that is the all-time pay-per-view revenue maker. And two fights staged, co-promoted with heavyweights Tyson Fury and Tyson Fury.
Basically, Crawford and Spence are in a holding pattern. Spence, coming off an almost fatal auto accident a year ago, faces Danny Garcia in a mega fight a week from Saturday on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View.
Arum said, Crawford is costing him a lot of money. So there are complications. But for the sake of boxing, when venues are open to fans, Crawford-Spence needs to happen. The logistics of a Crawford contract will be ironed out. It always does in boxing. If not, Crawford moves on and heads to the PBC and gets his wish to determine his pound-for-pound supremacy…
Get ready for Oldtimers Day in boxing. Saturday night on PPV, the 50 year olds Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr, and fighting for a legendary title belt that is sanctioned. Nonsense even if it’s a nostalgic exhibition and expect disappointment.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter @Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso Like, comment, subscribe, Sports With Rich on YouTube.
Photo By: Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire