Froch vs Groves: Analysis and Opinion

So by now, I’m sure everyone is aware of the controversy over Carl Froch stopping George Groves on Saturday night.

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I’ve deliberately avoided writing anything too substantive on the subject for a day or two. All too often people immediately reach for their keyboards (a testament to the times we live in) whenever something like this happens and before you know it there’s a thousand voices screaming a thousand things. I wanted a chance to sit back, clear it from my mind (helped out by Pacquiao’s performance the same night) and then rewatch the entire bout a few times before putting my thoughts on paper.

But anyway, let’s focus on the big point straight away.

The stoppage was early. Not quite ridiculously early, but pretty close to it. Early even by Britain notoriously quick standards. It was early and it was wrong and it should never have happened. Let’s keep that in mind throughout.

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Paulie Malignaggi, boxing media and what we should be looking for…

I’m a little late to post this, but it is certainly still worth mentioning.

A little while back Paulie Malignaggi was doing the usual prefight hype for his upcoming “Battle of Brooklyn” match against Zab Judah. He starts off with a few anecdotes about his time in boxing (including mentioning how Al Haymon’s team called to sign him… one of the reasons he’s the manliest man in boxing) and his relationship with Zab, notably recalling a time when as an amateur Judah was actually helping to corner him during a tournament. It’s very friendly, very light, quite entertaining and fairly standard.

On a side note though, especially in the wake of the crude promotion for Malignaggi vs Broner, it is nice to see Malignaggi not have to go the lowest-common denominator route with his pre-fight hype. Trash talk is all well and good but the stuff prior to Malignaggi/Broner was crude, banal and painted neither of them in a positive light. Malignaggi’s a good enough speaker that he doesn’t need to descend to that level to get people interested in a bout.

But he then goes on to talk about the media reaction to his last bout and notably his post-fight comments about Al Haymon affiliated fighters (as Broner is) getting the nod in narrow contests. He especially objected to the way that some in the media tried to present the fact that one of the judges gave the bout to him in the same context as CJ Ross’s ridiculous card in the Mayweather/Saul Alvarez bout. Personally, I did have Broner winning, albeit somewhat narrowly but I can certainly understand why a judge would favour Paulie; it was very much a bout where Paulie’s higher workrate went against Broner’s more precise punches.

Paulie then used this to launch into a wider attack on the boxing media. He focuses on what he sees as the media’s obsession with the “nerdy” side of boxing writing; working out a pound for pound top ten, “analysing” fantasy fights and establishing who the lineal champions of a division are for example while seemingly refusing to really engage with some of the bigger issues confronting boxing. He uses himself as an example, pointing out how “rants and raves” about things when really, it should be the media driving the crusade on them. He finishes by mentioning that while the media will often criticise a boxer who is ahead in a bout “playing it safe” and coasting the last few rounds to minimise risk at the cost of excitement, the media won’t take the risk of really investigating major stories if the risk is they lose media credentials and press access.

It’s a powerful rant and one Paulie clearly feels strongly about.

And I agree with him.

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Yet more Botha/Sonny Bill Williams tomfoolery…

Even I thought that the “bribe” story would be the end of this… but no, there’s more.

It looks like the tale Botha told about being offered a bribe to lose his controversial bout with Sonny Bill Williams may actually have some legs to it. Newspaper reports are saying that the referee for the bout, Tony Kettlewell, was informed by Philip Holiday (one of Botha’s team and a former 135lbs world champion himself) prior to the fight about the alleged bribe and that Botha had turned it down.

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More Botha/Sonny Bill Williams news and further boxing buffoonery…

If the you thought the farcical stories surrounding the Sonny Bill Williams/Frans Botha bout detailed in a previous post were done then then I’m afraid to say you were wrong. Botha, as bellicose and unrepentant as ever, is now saying that he was offered $150,000 to throw the bout.

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A White Buffalo, an All-Black and the mysterious case of the missing six minutes

sonny-bill-botha

It seemed like one of those mad questions that only arises after a few many drinks or one too many comments on the internet.

Who would win in a fight, controversial yet talented dual code rugby superstar Sonny Bill Williams or erstwhile world title challenger Frans “The White Buffalo” Botha?

And yet here I was, watching the pair stand in opposite corners of the ring, eyeballing each other and preparing to touch gloves.

I hadn’t eaten too much cheese, I hadn’t been given a suspicious brownie, this was really happening.

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A worrying trend in British Boxing…

As a UK boxing fan, I am in a pretty privileged position; between the various different broadcasters I have the ability to watch almost every meaningful card from either the US or Europe as well as our own domestic events, to say nothing for the opportunity the internet has provided for me to watch obscure cards that are not officially televised over here. Partly because of this it is remarkably easy to become self-righteous about the nature of events in different countries, notably regarding the judging and refereeing. It almost goes without saying that when a fighter goes to Germany they’ll hype the fight by mentioning that “I know I have to knock him out to win“, as the perception (fuelled it must be said by a considerable body of evidence) is that the German-based fighter supported by the promoter who organised the show will always win if it goes to the judges. The US has had a number of controversial decisions in recent times (the most notable one in the near-past being Campillo/Cloud) and it’s been all to easy to sit on a high-horse as a British boxing fan and say that yes, we do occasionally have poor reffing and poor decisions but on the whole we’re pretty much a fair bunch, certainly better than those we mock.
But I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore.