The sweet science has never been without controversy. As long as there’s a human element involved in determining the outcome of fights, decisions are going to continue coming under fire.
The May Day bout between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero could be the next in a long line of controversial finishes that have marred the sport all too often. Already shrouded in drama as a result of back-and-forth exchanges between the two fighters (like this tweet from Guerrero), the stars are aligning for a surprise finish that will leave us talking long after the ring is empty.
We’ve already seen some controversial decisions this year, even as recent as the WBC Junior Middleweight championship fight between Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout on April 20. Despite a fairly even fight that didn’t leave much room for interpretation in the scoring, a panel of supposedly neutral judges turned in marks as inconsistent as they were unfounded.
Alvarez won the fight and clearly deserved the victory, but the scoring of that fight only serves to highlight a major problem with boxing in its modern form.
No one wants to call out the powers that be for some of the questionable things that mar the sport right now, but that tune may change following one of the biggest fights of the year May 4.
The stage is set. The fighters are already fighting (albeit with words instead of fists) and the publicity for Mayweather’s return to the ring is through the roof. The undefeated pound-for-pound champ is back in the spotlight, and the result will be entirely unpredictable—save for the resulting major money being thrown around for the fight.
|Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr.||Full Name||Robert Joseph Guerrero|
|145-147 pounds||Weight||145-147 pounds|
One has to wonder how long the recent trend of controversy will live on. Instead of pushing agendas and keeping the money flowing in all the right directions, boxing has to start paying attention to the fact that we’re paying attention. And we’ll all be paying attention May 4.
The idea that all publicity is good publicity is one of the biggest problems the sport faces right now, and there’s a good chance we see something at May Day that keeps boxing in the public eye. It wasn’t enough that Mayweather is returning to the ring after a year. And with all due respect to Guerrero, it won’t be enough to expect Money to finally add a blemish to his spotless record. It just isn’t going to happen.
I’m not suggesting boxing is fixed or outcomes are predetermined, but there’s certainly some evidence that things aren’t always as they seem. Look no further than the recent fight between Sonny Bill Williams and Francois Botha that inexplicably ended two rounds earlier than the scheduled 12 rounds.
These situations are going to continue to arise as long as the sport draws in big money from its biggest stars. There’s just an inherent lack of integrity from the top down. Something has to change.
May Day could come and pass without much more controversy (as it should), but all signs are pointing to a fight that just has too much appeal to go smoothly. As if to suggest a good, clean bout isn’t enough for boxing fans, we continue to see lopsided scoring and just enough controversy to keep the ball rolling.
And Then There’s This
We’ve already seen the kind of scoring controversies that leave fans scratching their head. We’ve seen lopsided judging and strange decisions.
We’ve also seen Mayweather involved in his own controversy, like this infamous sucker punch that put Victor Ortiz on the mat while Joe Cortez was looking away in their 2011 bout:
Money’s 42nd victory was legal. Was it sportsmanlike? Absolutely not, but it created the kind of controversy the WBA loves. It still has people talking years after the fact.
In fairness to Mayweather, he probably learned from the backlash that resulted in that blatant sucker punch (and we probably won’t see that again), but there’s certainly a possibility Money’s head gets in the way against Guerrero. We’ve seen it before.
Numbers Do Lie
There are plenty of examples of controversial decisions in big fights, including the hotly debated split decision that gave Timothy Bradley the win over Manny Pacquiao last June. In that fight, Duane Ford and C.J. Ross scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Bradley and Jerry Roth scored it 115-113 for Pacquiao. Despite plenty of opinions to the contrary, Pacquiao walked away with a loss and fans were left to wonder why.
And of course, Roth and Ford will be back for May Day (per BoxingScene.com), along with Julie Lederman.
If history is any indication, there’s a precedent for controversy when Roth and Ford are doing the scoring. Even more reason to expect a big shake-up on May 4.
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