I must give due credit to Golden Boy for putting on a bold show featuring four televised bouts on Showtime this past Saturday night. I have taken a dump on them many times in the past, but I now must take my hat off to them for trying to put together an excellent card for the Barclays Center's debut into the anarchy of professional sports known as boxing.
The card itself was a very mixed-bag, but truthfully, if half of the fights are great and half are boring or one-sided I would consider it to be a success in general. I couldn't begin to count how many shows are entirely boring or only have one good bout to be its saving grace. Here, we received two good fights and that's more than what could be said for the overwehlming majority of premium cable's boxing cards.
What I am going to do now is give a bullet point-style rundown of things I observed from Saturday night. Some things certainly caught my eye, good, bad, and ugly.
- I loved the 8:00 Eastern start time. I have always hoped that the televised portion of boxing cards would begin earlier, and I enjoyed it here. They kind of had to because of the four fight bill, but I wish they would make it more of a common practice for two and three fight cards as well. HBO, please take note of this.
- The Devon Alexander-Randall Bailey waltz went exactly the way most predicted. It was largely dreadful, even the live crowd started booing around the halfway mark of the first round. I always love it when crowds completely take a dump on a crap fight. If only they had chanted "Change the channel" and "Same old shit" like an ECW crowd. If only.
- I have absolutely zero interest in watching Bailey fight. None. If he scores an awesome knockout then great. That's why God invented YouTube. And the fast forward button.
- Can we please see more of Hassan N'dam in the future? The guy got bounced up and down off the canvas like a basketball, but he never stayed down. I hope he doesn't become the guy that nobody fights because he is really good, but simply isn't any kind of a name. He deserves to be back on premium cable. Of course, as we all know, deserve's got nothin' to do with it.
- I like Peter Quillin. He isn't amazing by any means, but I think he could have a bright future.
- When did the middleweight division suddenly get so awesome?
- And why was there no bonus for fight of the night? With four televised fights, it would seem like a perfect opportunity to add an incentive for putting on a show in front of a Brooklyn crowd at a brand-new arena. Quillin and N'dam deserved a few more dollars after the show they put on.
- I went with my gut and predicted Pablo Cano to decision Paulie Malignaggi. In its never-ending wisdom, I feel that my gut was right. Cano outfought Paulie for much of the fight, and at times was even able to outjab him. I scored it 116-111 for Cano (8-4 in rounds).
- If Ricky Hatton is successful in his return to the ring then I have no real problem with a rematch with Malignaggi. Both are faded, but it would still be a fun show. However, the thought of Malignaggi squaring off against Devon Alexander for a unification bout makes me feel like Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo when he looks down a flight of stairs. I'll pass.
- Even though he did the unforgivable sin of missing weight, Cano is not as bad as some people act like he is. He is not great by any strecth, but he comes to fight and the two times he has been on premium cable he has proven to be a capable boxer. I would rather watch him than Alexander. Sorry, Devon.
- The guy that scored it 118-109 for Cano is hilarious. That said, it's funny that after Malignaggi receives a decison in a close fight he doesn't bring up Golden Boy's gophers anymore. I never felt like he so clearly won that first fight with Juan Diaz anyways. Oh well.
- I tried really really really hard to get all upset about Erik Morales using a diuretic to lose weight, but I just can't muster the strength. It's stupid because it's against the rules (like Chavez smoking marijuana), but it's not like the guy was shooting horse steroids into his buttocks and transformed like the aliens in Space Jam. And if you haven't seen Space Jam then you just haven't lived.
- As for the fight itself, it was very sad. Morales is one of my all-time favorites, and it was sad to see him get decimated like that. I can only pray he is finished fighting contenders, and he doesn't become a steppingstone for the next generation.
- Danny Garcia has some wonderful power. But it's hard to say if he's actually improved any since the first Morales fight. And no, matching him up with Zab Judah won't really do the trick either. I don't care if that's a big east coast fight or whatever. I'm sure matching Morales up with Brandon Rios would be a big fight down by the border, but you don't see people clamoring for that do you? I have no interest in watching Judah hunt and peck his way to another loss against a top fighter.
- For all of the hubub about Joe Cortez being added to the broadcast team, I think I heard his voice twice. I mean that literally. I heard his voice. Couldn't exactly make out what he was saying, but I heard it.
- Austin Trout didn't really add anything to the broadcast, though he shouldn't have been expected to. Nevertheless, he did throw in the little gem about how the challenger has to "really" beat the champion to win the belt. I never understand this. Like does the challenger have to basically kill the champion and stand over his carcass with bloody hands? If the challengers wins seven rounds then he gets the belt. Period.
- Showtime still misses Antonio Tarver the way the Ravens will miss Ray Lewis. Tarver was the best broacaster on the team, and gave outstanding analysis from a boxer's point of view. He also clearly felt comfortable behind a microphone, and never seemed to push himself over anyone or try to pull rank because he had been in the ring while others hadn't.
- Kevin Iole noted this on Twitter, and it's true, Showtime fires Tarver for testing postive for a banned substance after a fight, but they allow Morales to fight on the network despite testing positive. As Oscar de la Hoya would say on Twitter: I LOVE BOXING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!