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Dougie’s Friday Mailbag (more Loma-Lopez feedback, scorecards and narratives)

23
Oct

TOO MUCH TALK ABOUT THE SCORES

Hey Doug,

I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about how they scored the fight (Loma-Lopez). A lot of analysis on a fight that at least to me seemed to have a very clear winner. It’s funny cause nobody is arguing about who won, but people seem to be arguing about which rounds went to who.  It’s weird to me because I don’t remember the last time people were discussing rounds as much as they’ve discussed this in a fight where there was no controversy. Even some talk shows seem to be focusing way too much on the score. Do you think this has to do with how Judy Letterman scored it? Or is it because of how commentators scored it (specifically Andre Ward)?

I don’t want to beat a dead horse but I do still think commentators try to tell us the story of the fight and their scores way too much and in many cases they are wrong and make people find controversy where there isn’t any. I personally would love commentators to stop judging fights and giving their score. They’re not professional judges and shouldn’t do it, I hate them talking and talking saying how one guys is doing this and that when it’s clear those things aren’t happening. Why do you think this is happening? Thanks Doug. – Juan Valverde



It’s called analysis, Juan, and I guess it tends to be subjective. I hope I don’t sound like too much of a smart ass, but what do you expect a veteran general sports broadcaster, an award-winning author and two retired, hall-of-fame-bound former champions to say during a fight? Do you think they’re going to be content with just calling the action, the stuff anybody can plainly see with their own eyes? Do you think their producers are going to be content with that? ESPN treated Lomachenko-Lopez like a big deal, like a legitimate mainstream sporting event. Everybody agreed that this was a good thing going into the fight. Well, here’s the thing about major corporate network coverage of the big sporting events they televise – THEY PROMOTE, OVER-PRODUCE AND ANALYZE THE S__T OUT OF THOSE EVENTS!!!!!!!! You knew they were going to hype up certain storylines (like “the grudge” or the father-son angles) until us hardcore heads were completely sick of hearing about it. And you had to know that they wouldn’t shut up about it once the actual fight finally started.

You also had to know that Timmy and Dre were going to take sides on the outcome of the bout – come on, bro, I don’t even watch general sports and I know that’s the talking-head dynamic of almost every studio show on ESPN – and that neither would budge on their pre-fight analyses no matter what was happening. Both guys are respected former fighters, so they’re going to have their influence (especially among the casual fan viewers), but you and I both know that the diehards came into this bout either being Team Loma or Team Lopez (and there were various reasons that nothing to do with the matchup, which are too silly to get into, why certain fan factions chose their tribe for this lightweight showdown).

I know it’s all frustrating, but this is modern boxing. It’s a fractured, marginalized sport which becomes grossly over-hyped, over-produced and tragically polarizing on the rare occasions it delivers an elite matchup/event, such as Wilder-Fury2 or Loma-Lopez. But ya know what? I’ll still take it. Both events birthed loads of phony ass controversy and seemingly endless, pathetic squabbling between pitiful human beings, but the fights also delivered Fighter-of-the-Year worthy performances from the winners and also produced new stars (or potential stars) for the sport who may well partake in even bigger events next year and going forward.

A lot of analysis on a fight that at least to me seemed to have a very clear winner. Too much analysis. It wasn’t a complicated fight. Loma couldn’t get off for seven rounds because he didn’t want to get clipped. He started a bold rally in Round 8, but unfortunately for Loma, 15-round title bouts don’t exist anymore.

It’s funny cause nobody is arguing about who won, but people seem to be arguing about which rounds went to who. Boxing, like everything else in our social media-run culture, has been geeked-the-f__k-out. People will quibble over anything. I get nutcakes bugging me on Twitter about my scoring a fight 118-110, which they scored 119-109 or 120-108, YEARS after the damn bout took place. (At some point I got wise and muted the f__ker.)

It’s weird to me because I don’t remember the last time people were discussing rounds as much as they’ve discussed this in a fight where there was no controversy. Do you think this has to do with how Judy Letterman scored it? YES!

Or is it because of how commentators scored it (specifically Andre Ward)? Nah, Dre can do no wrong.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse but I do still think commentators try to tell us the story of the fight and their scores way too much and in many cases they are wrong and make people find controversy where there isn’t any. As much as we miss HBO’s involvement in the sport, this is one of the legacies of their now-defunct boxing program. For what it’s worth, I try not to be too attached to pre-bout analysis/storylines and focus on what’s happening during the fight when I commentate.

I personally would love commentators to stop judging fights and giving their score. I think a lot of fans would miss that part of a boxing broadcast. I think more than a few would demand it. Can you imagine HBO Boxing without Harold Lederman’s input?

They’re not professional judges and shouldn’t do it… Hey, the commentators (and I’m not talking about myself) are often better than the official judges.

 

LOMA-LOPEZ, ESPN & NARRATIVES

I guess almost everything there is to say has pretty much been said but I want to give a few thoughts on what I see as the bias of ESPN.

Firstly, Tim Bradley was excellent. Showed passion for the sport, excitement for the event and independent insight. Being from the UK, this was the first time I’ve seen/heard him and I really enjoyed it.

Andre Ward was pretty good. I had the same score that he did (6 rounds apiece) and my only gripe was he didn’t back his scorecard more.

Having said that, how could he? With motormouth Joe Tessitore ignoring two world class boxers to inform us that we should ignore the ridiculous scoring because he believed the right man won (completely ignoring Ward’s scorecard).

I don’t know whether you know Mr. Tessitore but if you do can you tell him to go f__k himself on behalf of boxing. When you are saying to ignore shambolic scoring, just because your station is seeing $ signs, then you are officially part of the problem.

Lederman, in particular, should be forced to sit down with Lomachenko and the commission to try and justify that abysmal night at the office.

I get why ESPN are excited about Lopez but don’t insult your audience and the boxing community. Yes, on the balance of things he was a worthy winner, but we could also be blinded by the surprise element of the first six rounds, and the gutsy effort in the 12th. If there was a rematch, I still believe there is a good argument to favour Lomachenko. And btw whoever failed to put a rematch clause in the contract needs hanging out to dry with Lederman.

Finally, Tessitore’s use of CompuBox, again instead of asking Bradley and Ward, was extremely frustrating. Yes, Lopez threw a lot of punches, but I can do that against a heavy bag, and that doesn’t make me a World Champion. What he should have been doing is asking his cohosts about the tactics used to neutralise Lopez. He then completely ignored the very high connect rate of Lomachenko because that goes against the narrative, to tell us Lopez landed 148 “power punches”. Really? 148 power punches would surely mean Lomachenko’s head would still be rolling down the empty Vegas strip? And we were told Lopez was a bomber. – Christopher

Lopez is a bomber. Lomachenko is not somebody who can be bombed out with ease. The older, smaller man is craftier and tougher than anyone Lopez had fought up until Saturday, and, unless there’s a rematch next year, Loma will likely remain Teofimo’s toughest opponent until the young gun invades the 140-pound division.

Timmy!

Tim Bradley was excellent. He’s one of the best boxers-turned-broadcasters in the business, especially when he’s not overexcited or too concerned with countering Ward.

Showed passion for the sport, excitement for the event and independent insight. Being from the UK, this was the first time I’ve seen/heard him and I really enjoyed it. You should hear Timmy when it’s just him and Bernardo Osuna, they’re the perfect commentating duo for hardcore fans. Check out the Zepeda-Baranchyk shootout on YouTube if you haven’t already done so.

Andre Ward was pretty good. I thought he was also excellent during Loma-Lopez.

I had the same score that he did (6 rounds apiece) and my only gripe was he didn’t back his scorecard more. I don’t think he’s that type of personality. Dre gives his opinion/perspective as clearly and calmly as he can deliver and he leaves it that. He says his peace, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s not going to yell like a carnival barker.

Having said that, how could he? With motormouth Joe Tessitore ignoring two world class boxers to inform us that we should ignore the ridiculous scoring because he believed the right man won (completely ignoring Ward’s scorecard). Well, in Joe’s defense and their defense, nobody in the broadcast booth thought Lomachenko won. Bradley saw the fight like Tessitore. Dre had it a draw, but he’s a rational man and he can see how others would have scored the bout clearly for Lopez. If it were Teddy Atlas (who also scored it a draw) in place of Ward, maybe Tessitore would have received some vocal opposition (or at least a lively debate in regard to the scoring).

I don’t know whether you know Mr. Tessitore but if you do can you tell him to go f__k himself on behalf of boxing. I know (and like) him and will definitely not say this to him.

When you are saying to ignore shambolic scoring, just because your station is seeing $ signs, then you are officially part of the problem. I could be wrong, but I think Tessitore agreed with two of the official scorecards, as did many others.

Lederman, in particular, should be forced to sit down with Lomachenko and the commission to try and justify that abysmal night at the office. That ain’t happenin’ with Loma, but that’s exactly what should happen with the commission. Will it? I doubt it. It didn’t happen with Adalaide Byrd.

I get why ESPN are excited about Lopez but don’t insult your audience and the boxing community. You seem to be insinuating some kind of conspiracy or cover up with ESPN. Look, the judges are the responsibility of the commission. The network had nothing to do with them. And it’s not like the network has ever shown any kind of anti-Lomachenko sentiment. They celebrated him as the pound-for-pound king and paid him very good money per fight.

Yes, on the balance of things he was a worthy winner, but we could also be blinded by the surprise element of the first six rounds, and the gutsy effort in the 12th. Blinded? Lopez deserves credit for “the surprise” of shutting Loma down for the first six rounds.

If there was a rematch, I still believe there is a good argument to favour Lomachenko. OK.

And btw whoever failed to put a rematch clause in the contract needs hanging out to dry with Lederman. That’s on Team Loma ain’t it?

Finally, Tessitore’s use of CompuBox, again instead of asking Bradley and Ward, was extremely frustrating. Tell us how you really feel. Don’t hold back.

Yes, Lopez threw a lot of punches, but I can do that against a heavy bag, and that doesn’t make me a World Champion. What he should have been doing is asking his cohosts about the tactics used to neutralise Lopez. I recall both Bradley and Ward commenting on why Loma was unable to get off during the first half of the fight.

He then completely ignored the very high connect rate of Lomachenko because that goes against the

Vasiliy Lomachenko thought he could take Teofimo Lopez Jr. into deep waters and failed. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

narrative, to tell us Lopez landed 148 “power punches”. I understand your frustration (I personally saw a close fight), but isn’t it possible that Tessitore simply had a REALLY high opinion of Lomachenko – viewed the Ukrainian amateur legend as a untouchable – and was shocked s__tless (as my mother used to say) when he witnessed Lopez put hands on him? Part of Joe’s job as the blow-by-blow announce is also to serve as host and to keep the energy/enthusiasm up during the broadcast. He was excited about Lopez’s performance. Maybe he overdid it a bit, but that doesn’t mean he was biased toward Lomachenko or pushing a corporate agenda.

Really? 148 power punches would surely mean Lomachenko’s head would still be rolling down the empty Vegas strip? For what it’s worth, I thought Lomachenko blocked a lot of Lopez’s punches with his gloves and forearms.

 

#SALTY IN GERMANY

Mr. Fischer,

You may call me #salty and I am for sure not a real expert. But I am a boxing fan having seen some fights live in some arenas around the world and lots live on TV / Stream. I have to say I completely disagree to the most comments about Loma vs. Lopez. Maybe it was interesting for boxing connoisseurs but what am I supposed to like about a fight where neither fighter really throws a punch. Maybe Lopez is the real deal but I didn’t see it. Was it a tactical masterpiece throwing more punches (av. app. 15 / round) than Loma who just didn’t do it at all (av. app. 12 / round)? Did he connect regularly? I saw him miss a lot.

Although the UD for Lopez was ok for me (everything from 8-4 Lopez to 6-6 I wouldn’t argue about) – for me it was a boring night that reminded me a lot on Klitschko vs. Fury (K not throwing and F just doing a little more). But maybe I am spoiled by the numerous fights with high quality and tons of action lately.

Last point: Why was the Berlanga fight stopped? – Matthias, Germany

Edgar Berlanga rips Lanell Bellows (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank)

Lanell Bellows had a “dazed and confused” look (courtesy of some well-aimed rocks that Edgar bounced off his dome while up against the ropes) as he reeled around the ring without punching back. Referee Robert Hoyle, who was watching closely (and imploring Bellows to “show me something”), saw the writing on the wall and opted to spare the outgunned Missouri native unnecessary punishment. Was is it a tad premature? Yeah, I think so. Was is it a bad call? No. Not in my opinion. Top Rank is going to have to step up Berlanga’s competition considerably if they want to give “The Chosen One” quality rounds. Is the Godfather of Gatekeepers, Darnell “Deezol” Boone, still around?

Ooh! I got a sweet future 168-pound matchup for ya – Top Rank vs. Golden Boy – Edgar “The Chosen One” Berlanga vs. Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev.

Loma-Lopez did not live up to its hype but it didn’t totally suck ass like Klitschko-Fury. (Photo by Marianne Mueller/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

I agree that Loma-Lopez was a letdown. It didn’t live up to its high expectations, but I wouldn’t compare it to Klitschko-Fury. It wasn’t that bad. The second half of the fight was compelling. Klitschko-Fury was 12 rounds of doo doo. (And I welcome any fan of either fighter to get mad at that opinion and try to defend that stinker.)

But hey, if you are spoiled by recent action fights, you’re a lucky fan, right? I think the sport is going to get right back to spoiling you tonight with the super fly double header from Mexico City featuring my man Chocolatito and the Estrada-Cuadras rematch, and I know Inoue-Moloney is going to deliver pure fire for however long it lasts on Halloween. Usyk-Chisora and Tank-LSC will probably be decent scraps, too.

I have to say I completely disagree to the most comments about Loma vs. Lopez. Maybe it was interesting for boxing connoisseurs but what am I supposed to like about a fight where neither fighter really throws a punch. That opinion doesn’t make you #salty. I think you’re just keeping it real.

Maybe Lopez is the real deal but I didn’t see it. Really? Well, I disagree with that opinion. After his last two performances, I don’t see anyone realer in the 135-pound division. Now, he may not be as dominant/dangerous when he faces the best 140 pounders in the sport, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Was it a tactical masterpiece throwing more punches (av. app. 15 / round) than Loma who just didn’t do it at all (av. app. 12 / round)? Yes, I think so, because it was Lopez’s “tactics” that lowered Lomachenko’s punch output. Of course, that doesn’t mean it was entertaining.

Did he connect regularly? No, but he was sharp, fast and powerful enough to get his message across to Lomachenko, who immediately sensed that he could do what he normally does early on in the fight.

I saw him miss a lot. I did too. And, as I mentioned in the previous email response, I noticed that Lomachenko caught a lot of Lopez’s punches on his gloves.

 

JUDGES AND REFEREES

Hi Dougie,

Greetings to you and your team from Serbia. I will be brief. Concerning judges and referees… For quite some time, fight after fight, I keep asking myself what is wrong with these people? It’s becoming ridiculous. Someone needs to put things under control. A match misjudged (accidentally or intentionally) or a faulty move unseen and unpunished costs fighters more than just a statistic on their records. Livelihood and health, both physical and mental, of those fighters is affected. Maybe some fresh blood is needed, I don’t know. More responsibility for sure.

Thank you, best wishes. – Vulic

Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and frustration), Vulic. Please write in again soon.

I think fresh blood is definitely needed, but I also think that commissions need to A) do a better job of selecting competent, worthy and neutral officials for high-profile fights, and B) a better job of addressing unprofessional behavior and poor calls/scorecards. Referees and judges need to be held accountable for inexplicable substandard performances. When they f__k up, we shouldn’t see them for a while. They should have to earn their way back to the bigtime just like the fighters are forced to do after a loss.

 

OVERHAUL THE P4P RANKINGS

Hi Douglass,

Hope this email makes it to the mailbag.

It was crazy last weekend with Teofimo beating Lomachenko but I gotta say I didn’t expect such a polarized reaction. Loma haters are taking shots at him and Loma fanatics are moving mountains to defend him. Look it is fair to say that Loma can probably make 126 lbs but he is not a natural 126 lbs fighter. 130 lbs seems to be his natural weight class and 140 lbs seems to be Teofimo’s natural weight class.

The overhaul of P4P rankings is long overdue and I think Loma should be moved down to lower top 10 in the ranking. GGG and Pacquiao should be dropped from the rankings altogether. They have gotta go now to create space for others. One position has to go to Teofimo for sure and the other can be replaced by any of the following – Taylor, Beterbiev, Jermell or Breidis.

Is there a plan to overhaul the P4P rankings? Regards. – Saurabh

If you consider Lopez entering at No. 6, Lomachenko dropping to No. 7 and Pacquiao being pushed out of the top 10 to an “overhaul,” then yes, you can say that we “planned” to overhaul the pound-for-pound rankings (if by “planned” you mean days of back-and-forth debating and ranting via email chain). If not, well, at least Lopez represents some new (and young) blood in the mythical ratings.

You can read what several members of the Ring Ratings Panel had to say on the subject in the latest Ring Ratings Update post

It was crazy last weekend with Teofimo beating Lomachenko but I gotta say I didn’t expect such a polarized reaction. You didn’t expect a polarized reaction in 2020? Come on, man!

Loma haters are taking shots at him and Loma fanatics are moving mountains to defend him. It’s pathetic. This sport is majestic when it is at its best, but it’s followed by a lot of desperate fools that we are unfortunately connected to via social media and online comment sections.

Look it is fair to say that Loma can probably make 126 lbs but he is not a natural 126 lbs fighter. Not anymore, but I think he was in 2013 and 2014.

130 lbs seems to be his natural weight class and 140 lbs seems to be Teofimo’s natural weight class. Agreed, so Loma deserves some props for doing what he did at 135, including the Lopez fight.

The overhaul of P4P rankings is long overdue and I think Loma should be moved down to lower top 10 in the ranking.

GGG and Pacquiao should be dropped from the rankings altogether. They have gotta go now to create space for others. I agree but I’m also OK with them hanging around Nos. 8-10. Golovkin’s only loss is to Canelo, who’s No. 1 or No. 2 on most P4P lists, and most folks say he didn’t really lose to the Mexican star. Pacquiao’s got an all-time great resume and he defeated Keith Thurman, an undefeated former unified titleholder, in his most recent bout. Having said that, GGG didn’t look like an elite fighter vs. Derevyanchenko and PacMan didn’t look like a P4P player when he was struggling with Jeff Horn.

One position has to go to Teofimo for sure and the other can be replaced by any of the following – Taylor, Beterbiev, Jermell or Breidis. Josh Taylor gets my vote.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s Periscope every Sunday.

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