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Morales over Espadas
By Joe Bruno, Former vice president of the Boxing Writers Association

"There are three types of lies: Lies, damn lies and statistics" -- Frankie Frisch

Compubox proves The Fordham Flashıs third criteria for a lie.

Make no mistake about it, if you were forced to score last nightıs fight between Erik Morales and Guty Espadas, there is no way Espadas could ever be declared the winner. Morales did just enough to win the World Boxing Council featherweight championship at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vega, but little more.

Morales seemed bored at time, and frankly he didnıt fight a very good fight. But even though Morales landed fewer punches, the ones he did land were harder and more effective than the ones Espadas landed. And after all folks, this is not amateur boxing where the "amount" of blows" determines the winner. In pro boxing, the judges have to measure the "effectiveness" of the blows in awarding a round to a fighter.

Yet all night long, announcer HBO viewers were bombarded round after round by Compuboxıs round punch totals. As if the total punches meant anything anyway. They donıt.

Read the previous two sentences as many times as is needed to make that unalienable truth sink in.

HBOıs resident blowhards Jim Lampley, Larry Merchant, color commentator Emanuel Steward (who, because heıs the trainer of Prince Naseem Hamed, a possible future opponent of Morales, had a vested interest in how Moralesı performance was perceived) and HBO boxing judge Harold Lederman all took turns in telling viewers how because Espadas was landing more punches, he was winning the fight. Merchant had Espadas winning by a point and Lederman scored it a draw. The three judges, the only people whose opinions counted anyway, all gave the fight to Morales. Judges Jerry Roth of Las Vegas and Dave Harris of Dallas had the fight 116-112 for Morales, and judge Dick Flaherty of Boston had Morales in front, 115-113.

After the fight Steward told the HBO audience, "The decision was not a fair decision. I thought it was bad scoring. The last part of the whole fight Morales was doing very little."

The last part of what Steward said was true. But unfortunately for Stewardıs theory, a fight is 12 rounds long and each of those rounds has to be scored for one fighter or the other. Or called an even round, which to my way of thinking is almost impossible. In every round, one fighter has to be doing something better. Itıs up to the judges to "judge" the winner of that round based on the accepted judging criteria. Me thinks thatıs why the call them "judges" in the first place.

I had Espadas winning the last two rounds, giving him five total on my scorecard. My final tally was 7-5 in rounds, or 115-113 in points for Morales. But one of the earlier rounds I gave to Espadas, I probably gave him because Morales was almost pitching a shutout through the first 6 rounds of the fight. It was the old "give the close round to the other guy for just showing up."

"In my heart I know I won the fight," Espadas said after the fight. "He ran all night. He knew I won the fight. But I can take a defeat. I am a champion. The decision was with the judges. There's no beef here."

But Morales disagreed.

"He threw a lot of punches," Morales said. "He landed more and he fought with a lot of heart. He was good. But I landed a lot of the shots. I moved around some. And I outboxed him. He was putting on pressure and it was hard for me to get in there. But I outboxed him."

I hate to beat a dead horse, unless that dead horse is one of the HBO or Showtome fight announcers, but four talking heads commentating on a fight is just too damn much to hear, stomach or endure. The logistics of four announcers doing a fight (three big mouths and a former pro boxing judge named Lederman, who has a voice so annoying it can make an onion cry) make it impossible for fight fans to get a good read on a fight. That is, if those fans have the sound turned on in the first place.

So for all you veteran fight fans, and for those new to viewing the sport, I have an idea. That is, if you havenıt thought of it already.

During the action three minutes of each round on HBO and Showtime, hit the mute button. Between rounds, if you want to hear what the cornermen are saying to the fighters, de-mute the same button, but be careful not to let the voices of the babbling announcers to filter through.

After the fight is over, put the sound back on, and youıll be surprised at how many times what you just saw doesnıt jibe with what those four morons with the mikes are saying in their post-fight comments.

To paraphrase Yogi, "if Don Dunphy were alive heıs be turning over in his grave."
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