If you follow other sports, as I'm sure most of you do, you may be familiar with such internet phenomena as Fire Joe Morgan or the far inferior and largely dead Shut Up, Tim McCarver!
Hating on commentators is becoming the norm, but it's because it's deserved. We are so often treated to sub-standard TV commentary in sports (McCarver, Morgan, John Madden, Joe Buck, Thom Brennaman and on and on) that it's impossible to not want to voice displeasure. These are the voices we listen to for hours in our free time, and they feed us bags of bulls--t at an alarmingly high rate.
Boxing and mixed martial arts are, I truly feel, the last home in sports where the commentators will actually shoot you straight. ESPN's Teddy Atlas is the best in the business, partially because he truly knows and loves the sport and shares genuinely insightful thoughts and commentary, but also because he will lay it down as it should be. Teddy will call a B.S. matchup a B.S. matchup on live TV, and he also is the man who recently and finally had the balls to not kid us about who was in what trunks saying, "He's also the black guy."
Seriously, who can't handle pointing out that one guy is white and the other guy is black? "Black guy" is not an insult. The two fighters had similar trunks. One of them is a black guy. Tell me he's the black guy! Imagine someone who didn't know Jay-Z or Chris Martin from Coldplay, which is hard to imagine but someone out there knows neither. If you were telling someone which was which, would you point out what color pants Jay-Z had on?
But it goes beyond Teddy, too. The Versus Network's commentators are often hypercritical, I feel, but Wally Matthews will come correct and honest. During Rahman-Sykes last year, Nick Charles (or maybe it was still Bob Papa) asked Wally how he had the fight scored. "How do you have it, Wally?" he asked. "I have it boring," replied Wally.
Manny Steward talks out of his hindquarters a whole lot, but when he feels an injustice has occured, he is fantastic in assaulting the guilty parties. Watching him tremble in righteous anger at the decision cast in Soto-Lorenzo was a fine summary of how I felt personally, and I felt like it was someone sticking up for the boxing fans that were no doubt going to see that call for the tripe that it was. He's also been known to throw his hands up in disgust at the scoring of controversial fights. Here's a furious Jim Lampley and Manny on the Soto DQ:
And who can ever forget the classic moment where the HBO boxing team dumped the heavyweight titles in the trash?
But there are times when boxing commentators make me want to pull my hair out. I'll be honest, it's usually Showtime's Steve Albert and Al Bernstein, who often see things happening that just are not, and lately HBO scorer Harold Lederman has gotten quite off, including the first Williams-Quintana fight, where Harold was scoring for Williams on the basis of an imaginary jab.
The worst, though, is Lennox Lewis. Oh, is he the worst? Absolutely!
I've finally cracked on Lennox. He has to be let go. I get that he's there because he's an ex-heavyweight champ, the greatest of his generation, and he's got TV good looks to balance out Larry Merchant, who has turned into a hobbit, and Lampley, who is one tanning bed away from turning orange.
Lennox is just God awful, though. Remember the terrible Dirrell-Stevens fight? Lennox applauded Dirrell's "performance" that night by comparing it to Muhammad Ali, who apparently never punched anyone and did nothing but scurry around the ring. That was bad enough. And his "analysis" of fights is often so rudimentary and bland that it would warrant his removal just because he's not interesting and doesn't say interesting things.
You could also hold the fact that he's just not very good against him. His English accent gives people the impression that he's well-spoken, but he often stumbles over his words and says the same things over and over. He seems to not have an original thought in his head. I'm not saying Lennox isn't a very bright man, because by all accounts he is. Absolutely! What I am saying is he doesn't seem to get that out verbally very well. If he was from Georgia and said the same things, nobody would give him this job.
But last night he beat himself. He trounced his own records for inanity.
Bob Papa asked Lennox if he really thought that Zab was re-focused, as Zab said he was. First, he replied with the gomer-tastic, "Absolutely!"
And then he went on to say that if anyone says they're re-focused and they come to the mecca of boxing to train (Las Vegas), then they must be for real. Then, topping everything he's ever said, Lennox Lewis said, "There are no nightclubs here."
There are no nightclubs in Las Vegas.
There are no nightclubs in Las Vegas.
There are no NIGHTCLUBS in LAS VEGAS.
...where the hell has Floyd Mayweather been making it rain, then?!
I can never take him seriously again. I was having a hard enough time doing so in the first place, but he's taken the cake, eaten it, and crapped it out.
Lennox Lewis must go. He is the least straight shootin'est man in a business that needs its commentators to be honest, frank, and straightforward. And to top that, he's just plain really bad at his job and says stupid things like "there are no nightclubs in Las Vegas."
Get out of here, Lennox. Really.