ESPN Friday Night Fights brought boxing back to the airwaves to kick off 2013, and the main event featured yet another bad scoring decision, as hometown fighter Rances Barthelemy stole a win from Arash Usmanee.
Boxing is back, you guys, and it's the same old crap we've come to expect, as Arash Usmanee traveled to Miami and lost to hometown fighter Rances Barthelemy on scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112, starting the ESPN Friday Night Fights season off with a good fight that was then ruined by incompetent or corrupt judging.
Bad Left Hook scored it 116-112 for Usmanee. ESPN's Teddy Atlas had it 117-111 for the Afghan-Canadian.
Barthelemy (18-0, 11 KO) started the fight well, but badly struggled in the middle rounds, as Usmanee (20-1, 10 KO) took away what had been an effective jab, picking up his own pace and attacking well, banging away on the Cuban. Headbutts opened some small cuts on Usmanee's nose, but by the latter portion of the fight, he was in clear control.
Barthelemy, 26, did make a mild push in the 10th and 11th rounds, but was battered around the ring in the 12th by Usmanee, 30, who seemed to have the fight won after a dominant final frame. When the scores were read, though, it was hard to muster up much outrage. It's nothing new.
Still, the decision should be called out for what it was. Most alarming to me is the increasingly prevalent argument we see after these godawful decisions, that, oh well, there were some close rounds, and the supposedly robbed fighter wasn't dominant and didn't knock the other guy's head off. When the vast majority of viewers watching -- and the Usmanee-Barthelemy crowd isn't exactly filled with casual fans, let's put it that way -- see a fight going one way, and then it goes the other way, something went wrong. Who gives a shit if it was "dominant"? Is the decision right or wrong? What's next, we start acting like guys have to knock out a "champion" to lift a title from him? It's bogus, relentless bullshit that we just have to sit here and swallow, because the part of boxing from the opening bell until the scores are read is something we love. Then it's a wild card, often going straight to hell as soon as the house emcee asks us to please give a round of applause for theeeeese twoooo warrioooors.
And nothing will be done about it, because nothing ever is done about any of this nonsense. The commission will shrug it off if questioned at all, and say that there's no need to review the performance of the judges, or their competence, or whether or not they have any business being in a position to cost professional fighters money and opportunities for the future with their grotesque inability to either do the right thing or just plain do their jobs correctly. Because who cares? Who is Arash Usmanee, anyway? This wasn't his home turf, so he obviously should have had to separate Barthelemy's head from his body to get a majority technical decision win. Back to Canada!
In the co-feature, Jonathan Gonzalez improved to 16-0 (13 KO) with a lackluster decision win over Derek Ennis (23-4-1, 13 KO) over 10 rounds. Scores were 98-92, 97-93, and 95-95. BLH had it 96-94 for Gonzalez. Also featured on the broadcast was 19-year-old super bantamweight prospect Hairon Socarras, who improved to 6-0-1 (5 KO) with a third round knockout of Josh Bowles (6-1, 1 KO).