by David P. Greisman
It might just have helped that this past Saturday’s “Showtime Championship Boxing” was the last major boxing broadcast for more than a month.
That is unfortunately the case, now that the Aug. 4 bout between Rafael Marquez and Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. and the Aug. 11 match between Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal have both been postponed due to injuries, leaving little beyond “Friday Night Fights,” a few Telefutura cards and one episode of “ShoBox” until September starts us back up with significant Sweet Science.
Yet this would prove to be fortunate on this one night, when Robert Guerrero defeated Selcuk Aydin in the main event, Shawn Porter bested Alfonso Gomez in the co-feature, and two bouts from the undercard that in the past would normally have gone unseen instead presented George Groves’ stoppage of Francisco Sierra and Hugo Centeno’s victory over Ayi Bruce.
This would prove to be fortunate because, for whatever reasons, there was little of the usual griping or sniping, little of the complaining or contempt that pervades us pundits of pugilism, us fans of fighting, us observers who just never seem to think that anything, or anyone, is good enough.
This was a night to stop complaining and just enjoy. For all the talk about boxing politics, about promoters preventing big bouts from happening, about one boxer not facing another boxer, about who’s being overexposed on television or who’s eventually going to be exposed in the ring — for all of this talk, sometimes the only thing we really should care about is a good fight.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t care about the other stuff. That other stuff tends to conquer the conversation, however, and serve as a distraction, to the detriment of the action.
We could’ve been overtaken by talk of how Robert Guerrero had somehow ended up in the main event on Showtime, despite this being his first bout at welterweight after rising up two divisions, despite this being his first fight back from an injury and a 15-month layoff, despite his opponent being Selcuk Aydin, a Turkish welterweight contender who had been slated to face Andre Berto on HBO — but whom that network didn’t find a suitable foe for Berto for a main event.
We could’ve been overtaken by the bout being for an interim welterweight title belt despite Guerrero’s lack of accomplishment in that weight class, a belt bestowed by a sanctioning body that has Floyd Mayweather Jr. as its champion. We could’ve recalled how we’d been inundated earlier this year by Guerrero’s PR machine nominating that fighter as a candidate to face Mayweather.
We could’ve been overtaken by the idea of another Al Haymon client — Shawn Porter — getting a prime spot on Showtime in a year that has seen the powerbroker boxing adviser bring a number of his fighters to that network, getting them broadcast slots they might never have been given had they been managed by anyone else.
We could’ve recalled how Porter hadn’t been overly entertaining in his two most recent bouts, and yet here he was in a televised co-feature, facing Alfonso Gomez, the former “Contender” contestant who was coming off a stoppage loss against Canelo Alvarez.
We still will dissect the meaning of their performances — whether Porter’s performance righted his career path, whether Guerrero should step in with any of the name welterweights or drop down to 140 pounds.
That’s fair. And that’s fine. Those discussions come after the fights, after a good show in which a client of the oft-vilified Haymon had a good brawl with a lower-tier, battle-tested opponent, after a main event in which there was both action and drama between the supposedly undeserving former lightweight and the Turkish title challenger who had been deemed not ready for the network spotlight.
There will be none of the talk about whether these fights belonged on a Showtime broadcast, not like we hear debated all too often about HBO cards — people tend to treat that network’s shows as if its airtime is Broadway and only the highest-caliber actors belong on its stage.
But if your audience is entertained, and if it felt it got its money’s worth, than none of the usual gripes or complaints matter — not for that night, at least.
We are boxing fans, first and foremost. And the boxing we saw this past Saturday was good enough to make us stop complaining and just enjoy.
The 10 Count will return soon.
“Fighting Words” appears every Monday on BoxingScene.com. David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]