By Lyle Fitzsimmons
New year. New calendar. New hopes and dreams for 2014.
And in keeping with this season of renewal, my aim this week is to rattle off a list of the things I most want to see - or those that I most intend to do - by the time the year ends in 351 days.
Coming off a year in which the after-taste of too many bad scorecards still lingers from December to January, it’s a fleeting hope for ways to address that issue - along with a promise about what I won’t write about this year, and a wish that the speed of ears passing would ebb.
1 + 1 = 10?
Maybe it’s just incompetence. Or maybe it’s just the new math.
Either way, perhaps the thing that has most troubled the CJ Ross and Duane Ford types in two of the most recently dubious scoring cases is simply that the numbers are too damned complex.
Which begs the question I’ve been asking toward TV monitors for years:
Why is the 10-point must system such a must anyway?
I get the idea that scoring a round with points - rather than simply saying Fighter A or Fighter B won it or didn’t - allows for the nuances of giving one fighter a larger margin, 10-8 or 10-7, for instance, in the rounds in which he or she is particularly dominant. And I’m not suggesting that a return to the old days to score by rounds is better way of doing things.
It’s absolutely not.
But what absolutely is better is this… rather than 10 for a round’s winner and 9 or less for its loser, how about 1 for its winner and 0 for its loser? Or, in the case of a round with knockdowns or particularly decisive sequences, how about giving that extra point to the winner - making it a 2-0 or a 3-0 round - rather than subtracting it from the loser for a 10-8 or 10-7?
In the end, a guy who wins seven of 12 rounds in a title fight and scores a knockdown while doing it would then be deemed an 8-5 winner, which is far more indicative - and far less complex - than the garden variety 115-112 result that’s understood by no one outside of the sport.
More accessible, less complex… who knows, maybe even CJ could understand.
Repeat after me: One year without Mayweather-Pacquiao talk
OK, I’ll go ahead and make the promise if at least someone else will join me. I, Lyle Fitzsimmons, pledge to write not a single word this year that will indicating I’m pining for, forecasting or critiquing the idea of a fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
While I concede to still hoping it happens and I admit to having at least a sliver of soul that still believes it will, I shall not add to the steaming pile of journalism whose scent began wafting again the instant the Filipino began punching Brandon Rios in the face without retribution in November.
The predictable nonsense has followed from all conceivable angles since that weekend in Macau, China. You know the drill… Pacquiao is a drug-addled fraud. Mayweather is a cherry-picking coward. All the same storylines that seemed to last from 2007 to 2012.
Either way, it’s made me nostalgic for the days that immediately followed Pac’s loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in late 2012, when the superfight concept seemed to be retired for good. And I’ll not utter another word about the two of them in a ring together this year unless one of them retires, or until they both sign a contract. Whichever comes first.
It’s already been 30 years, WTF?!?!?
My last request for the New Year, in its truest form, is a plea for denial.
If the powers that rule over the passing of childhood to adolescence to adulthood to old age just happen to be among my Tuesday fans, I’d really appreciate some of their divine intervention when it comes to the anniversary I’ll be acknowledging, if not exactly celebrating, this year.
The arrival of this June will precisely signify that it’s been 30 years - yes, that’s 30 friggin’ years - since I attended my first professional fight card, topped by the Ray Mancini-Livingstone Bramble and Johnny Bumphus-Gene Hatcher title fights at Buffalo’s old Memorial Auditorium.
While the fact that I can recall detail from that night makes me happy enough after all these years - my seat was aligned with mid-ring, though it was up in the old building’s blue section; Bumphus’s manager, Lou Duva, went berserk when the fight was waved off by referee Johnny LoBianco; and Bramble entered the ring to Bob Marley’s classic Buffalo Soldier - it’s every bit as troubling to recognize I’m old enough to have attended 15-round title fights.
To be honest, though, were it not for the upsets in the two feature bouts, the rest of the night would have been pretty forgettable. The undercard that included a 10-rounder between lightweights Charlie “White Lightning” Brown and Remo Di Carlo (Brown won by decision and was lit up by IBF champ Harry Arroyo two fights later), a four-round win for comical Buffalo heavyweight Jim “Kool-Aid” Jones over Tony Campbell (Jones was KO’d by a 19-year-old Bert Cooper the following year) and a third-round stoppage for 3-9-5 Ken Willis over another hapless Buffalonian, 1-12-1 Jim Giambelluca.
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This week’s title-fight schedule:
No fights scheduled.
Last week’s picks: None
2014 picks record: 1-0 (100 percent)
Overall picks record: 549-194 (73.9 percent)
NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA “world championships” are only included if no “super champion” exists in the weight class.
Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.