Sometime between dinner and bedtime Andre Ward jumped on twitter to get a few things off his chest about injustices in the boxing world that go unpunished, primarily aimed at the disrespect shown to Devon Alexander after his IBF welterweight title win over Randall Bailey. But did he indirectly tell us something about himself in the process?
Yesterday evening, October 23rd, 2012, Andre Ward used twitter to preach to the world (or anyone who would listen) some truths, some misconceptions, and absolutely nothing that's going to sell him more tickets or turn him into a pay per view attraction. Let's review line by line:
A lot of people are down about my bro Devon Alexander's performance, he did what he had to do. Every fight is not going to look great.
Especially when you are fighting a guy who is just looking for one shot!!
I agree completely. Randall Bailey is not a fighter you worry about entertaining fans with. Why should you? He's certainly not trying to make it a good fight. All he wants to do is lull you to sleep and then put you in a coma with his right hand. Entertaining fans is always nice, but pick and choose your moments to do it. It's not like anyone was going to give much credit to Alexander no matter how he beat Bailey. Bailey was written off as just another fighter pushing 40 in the back of everyone's minds before the contract was even signed.
Sometimes Salvador Sanchez wouldn't throw a punch for a whole round. Howard Cosell still how to keep the viewing audience interested.
I'm about 99.9% sure Ward is reaching here. Salvador Sanchez sometimes would go a while without throwing a punch but never an entire round. As I haven't seen every single televised Sanchez fight I consulted my fellow boxing collector Ray Poplawski on the subject. Ray tweeted, "Having seen & watched every televised fight of Sanchez's I can assure you he didn't," in response to me asking if Sanchez ever went an entire round without throwing a punch. I mean, heck, even Willie Pep always threw a few punches (contrary to the legendary Bert Sugar myth).
But hey, I still get the point Andre is trying to make. You don't always need action for a fight to be intriguing. Unfortunately he seems to indirectly blame the Showtime commentators for not doing the Alexander-Bailey fight justice... To be honest I was never much of a Cosell fan and I doubt he would have made the dreadful fight seem any better to me. But I can't speak for Ward or anyone else...
Cosell was a master commentator who didn't feel he was bigger than the fighters he covered or the sport itself. He was a master!!
At this point I could tell Ward couldn't possibly just be talking about the Showtime announcers. Nor was this anger simply directed to those taking shots at Alexander. Ward is obviously linking his own misadventures with various persons in the media due to the less-than-satisfied perceptions they hold about the way he fights. But maybe this time I'm reaching. Maybe Ward is just the president of the Howard Cosell fan club and I never knew...
Devon is a 3x world champ in 2 different weight classes!! Give credit where credit is due!! Great job bro!!
Ward breaks from his tangent to go back to addressing Alexander directly. And he's mostly right. Devon Alexander is already one of the most accomplished fighters in boxing today. Credit must be given. It's remarkable what he has achieved. Though, technically, when you're already world champion and you pick up another belt it's not the same as becoming champion twice and therefore Alexander is only a "2x world champ." ... Nonetheless, I get the point.
Fighters are entrenched in the sport far more than anyone on the outside. We live it, breathe it, and take all the risk.
Ward is mostly right on the money again here. But I would add that networks, promoters, and managers take financial risks when they overpay you now in hopes of getting a positive return on their investments later. But as far as physical risks go, it's all on the fighter. Well, unless you're one of those trainers that jump in the ring ready to throw down when one of their boxers is being taken advantage of...
See, some think fighters aren't thinkers...we know more than you think.
Anyone that's seen Andre Ward fight knows he's a thinker in the ring, a deep one too. So deep, you might just fall asleep watching him...
Don't have a problem with someone not liking a fighter or a fighters performance, but when your berate the sport or the fighter.
That's not good for boxing. Respect the sport and respect the fighters who are putting it all one the line.
Obvious typos aside, I'm once again inclined to agree with Andre, mostly. But ultimately no human being is above reproach. Everyone must be held accountable for their actions, fighters included. And quite frankly some fighters do some pretty horrible things. Is what Devon did against Randall one of them? Not in my opinion.
If a fighter gives one war after another, then when he is done, his speech is slurred and he is walking on his heels, guess who's around??
His family. Nobody else!!
Ward wraps up his soapbox on a strong point which I honestly couldn't find room to criticize even if I tried (and yes I'm implying that I haven't tried up to this point). Living in Philadelphia (which has produced over 30 world boxing champions) I've seen my fair share of washed up, punchy fighters that no one is looking after. To me, it's the saddest part about boxing. The word "good" in the popular phrase "you're only as good as your last fight" may as well interchange with "relevant." When boxers retire, unless they find other jobs they can do in the sport, they fell by the wayside. And how are they supposed to get another job when their brain is already scrambled?
I'm done y'all. Have a good night✌ Appreciate your feed back.
And I appreciate you giving me something to write about Andre. You very well may be the best fighter in the world today. But I think you have a long, hard road ahead of you to finally be treated that way. It may not be fair, but that's the reality of boxing. Fans will always have unrealistic expectations in what amounts to be the last remnants of the gladiator arena. You're not like athletes in team sports that get paid handsomely just because they're the best in the world at doing their job. Boxing expects more. The only question is: are you willing to give more? But I think you already answered that. So just keep winning and best of luck to you, champ.
Ryan Bivins is a staff writer for BadLeftHook. You can contact him on twitter (@sweetboxing) or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org).