Teddy Atlas, the outspoken trainer and analyst who has over the years been highly critical of dubious decisions in boxing, doesn’t think we saw one this past Saturday when Tony Harrison shockingly upset Jermell Charlo to win the WBC junior middleweight title.
Atlas took to ESPN to defend the judges, a rarity for him:
“My reason for the belief that they got it right is that, although the nature of scoring a fight is subjective, it should not be. The criterion is clear. The person landing the cleaner more effective punches should be the victor.
“It is irrelevant what style fighters use to accomplish this, be it moving forward, sideways or backward. As long as they control the action of the bout by outhitting their opponent, they should have their hand raised. That is what I believe, and it is what my eyes told me that Harrison did.”
Atlas urges fight fans and others in the media to watch the fight again — ON MUTE!!!! — and maybe reevaluate their cards.
I scored it for Charlo, 117-111, but they were a couple rounds I scored for Jermell I could have scored the other way. So I could have seen it as close as 115-113 Charlo very easily. And as I said this past weekend, I didn’t think Harrison fought a bad fight, I just didn’t think he quite did enough often enough.
But did Charlo really do enough, either? Did he try to coast, or make himself too one-dimensional in search of a highlight reel KO? Did Harrison, while not doing anything big and eye-catching himself, actually control the fight more often than not?
Can you put it this way: at the very least, does Charlo have himself to blame more than anyone else for giving the judges the opportunity to swing uneventful rounds to Harrison?
Hey, maybe. Teddy Atlas has been around longer and knows more than I do, and more than the most of us, and more than I’d say pretty much anyone in the media. At the very least, his defense of the Harrison win should be enough to make us consider that it might not have been the outrageous robbery that the PBC broadcast and our own, to varying degrees, PR-poisoned minds led many to shout on Saturday.