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GorDoom
09-21-2006, 01:03 PM
Shame, Shame on You (and You Know Who You Are)
by Michael Katz from Sweet Science

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 20 – You call yourself a fight fan, but all you want to see are blood and guts.

Someone else’s.

That’s what you pay for, and when you don’t get your pound of flesh, or pint of blood, you think you’ve been robbed of your hard-earned money, as if the price of a ticket entitles you to a seat at the guillotine.

Hopefully, you’re not in the majority. If I thought that you were, I doubt if I could continue aiding and abetting your vicarious thrills. But I truly believe that you are outnumbered by those of us who like to see a good brawl, when accompanied by skill, to see the flip side of the coin, the great courage and determination of the competitors. Yes, Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo gave us a classic fight, but what is remarkable is how they each battled back from adversity. Their courage is enhanced by danger.

But you can’t call yourself a fight fan if all you want is to put the competitors in that danger. You’re nothing more than a ghoul who can’t appreciate the subtleties of boxing. You call yourself a fight fan, but it’s not the fighting that interests you, it’s the blood.

Damn the torpedoes, it’s full speed ahead. Forget defense, forget setting up punches. You want what you surmise is action. If they could erect bleachers by the spot where the most accidents happen on the New Jersey Turnpike, you’d pay $500 for a ringside seat to the next crash. Back in the Fifties at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of France’s great auto races, a couple of cars locked wheels and flew into the stands. Officials gave a death toll in the fifties, though about 150 died. The French didn’t count all those who succumbed in hospitals after the race. The point is, you don’t have to guess which part of the stands was the first to fill the following year. Auto racing’s version of fight fans were out in full force. They weren’t there to see how clever the drivers were shifting gears.

You call yourself a fight fan, but you were heading out the door starting in the tenth round as Marco Antonio Barrera, who spent so much of his great career giving you his own blood and guts, decided instead to give Rocky Juarez a boxing lesson. You spent much of the match booing and calling Barrera a dog, chanting “Beso,” or kiss, because boxing wasn’t why you were sitting in the MGM Grand Arena.

It was one year, minus a day, from the night Leavander Johnson suffered fatal injuries in a Vegas ring, and you probably expressed your condolences when the warrior died. You call yourself a fight fan, but you tell yourself you’re not barbaric. You don’t see yourself the way director Robert Wise did in his 1947 film noir classic, “The Set-Up,” still the best boxing film in my opinion. Wise showed close-ups of the fight fans in all their Roman Coliseum gory. Old women with hatred etched on their faces, screaming their lungs out; men choking on blood lust.

You call yourself a fight fan and when one of the competitors gets in serious trouble, you rise out of your seat in gleeful anticipation of the kill. You might as well point your thumbs downward. Tell me what part of “sport” is a knockout, the rendering of a fighter unconscious.

It’s not like Diego Corrales, showing the flip side of the brutal game, somehow hanging in during all the adversity with courage and guts. That’s the kind of stuff that makes boxing so compelling, but the fight fan who roots for the KO is not looking for drama, any more than a gawker at a ten-car pileup is looking to give someone CPR.

You call yourself a fight fan, but you regard Barrera as useless and never mind all those great rounds with Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao, Kennedy McKinney, Junior Jones, Naseem Hamed. You have no use for a smart boxer who reminds us that “this is a sport where you’re supposed to hit and not get hit.” Thank goodness Barrera turned into a great boxer; otherwise the world may have had another useless lawyer. But that same intellect that had taken him to law school, when applied in the ring, enabled him to shatter the stereotypical “Mexican fighter” that he resembled early in his career.

He proved over and over again that, when necessary, he can “go to war.” But you wish that some of the world leaders would learn from him that sometimes it’s healthier to use diplomacy and tact. He had a tough time with the aggressive young Juarez in May, then demanded a rematch to prove that he was the superior fighter.

“I beat him with one hand,” he would say winning 10 of 12 rounds on my ringside card (when two veteran Vegas judges, Chuck Giampa and Dave Moretti, each scored it seven rounds to five, I asked the best of them all, Duane Ford, how he saw it from his seat in the expensive section, and he also gave Juarez only two rounds, the same two I did – the third and fourth).

He was a 4-1 favorite in May and escaped with a split decision. This time, he was a much more attractive 3-2 choice and left no doubt as to who won.

At the post-fight news conference, we almost had the fight of the night, with apologies to Israel Vasquez’s comeback stoppage of Jhonny Gonzalez. With the Juarez claque berating Barrera for “running,” Rocky’s girlfriend and Marco’s wife almost got into it. I liked Senora Barrera on points because, if Juarez’s lady didn’t know more about boxing than did her man, a jab and a move to the left would suffice.

One of my colleagues, Doug Fischer, wisely pointed out that perhaps all the booing was not for Barrera. I believe it was, but Juarez certainly deserved his share. It was his inability to solve the simplest puzzles that turned round after round into what ace publicist Bill Caplan said was a Roy Jones Jr. “safety-first” demonstration. Not quite, because even when boxing defensively, His Royness could juice up the show with some cheap frills.

Barrera failed to engage. His “partner,” Oscar de la Hoya, pointed out “we all know he can fight and stand in there, but Barrera used his skill, his intelligence.” He won with one hand, why waste the other? His left hand had Juarez’s right eye nearly closed by the end. Juarez may be lucky Barrera used only one hand. But you who call yourself a fight fan did not want to see a boxing match, especially a one-sided one. Barrera had no sympathy for you.

“Instead of coming into ‘I’m Still the King’ I should’ve used (as his entrance music) ‘I’m Nobody’s Fool,’” he said.

Instead of giving Juarez a chance in a shootout, he saved himself for the fight he really wants, a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, which already has been penciled in by HBO for next March. And if Pacquiao doesn’t win his rubber match Nov. 18 with Erik Morales, the ghouls will have to be satisfied with Barrera-Morales IV.

OUTHOUSE: Joe Souza is one of the great cut men in the world. The Texan was in Rocky Juarez’s corner when Barrera landed an uppercut to the right eye (the challenger’s description) in the fifth round. But Souza was kept on the floor by the challenger’s amateurish trainer, Ray Oliveros, who instead had his son up in the ring working on the injury. Finally, Souza was invited up after the tenth round but all the doctors at Johns Hopkins couldn’t have done any good by then. It is certainly no surprise that Juarez was not given a Plan B, or could not figure out one for himself, during amateur hour….Leave a little room for the scoring of that four-round pay-per-view opener that went by majority decision to Jorge Paez Jr. Derrick Campos, the opponent from Topeka, deserved at least a draw and, if it had been a five-round fight, probably would have scored a knockout. Paez’s kid better look for work in the circus.

PENTHOUSE: Vazquez deserves much credit for getting up twice, though the first knockdown was more a case of being caught off-balance, and eventually breaking down the frail-looking Gonzalez. Vazquez, a minus $1.55 favorite (what you needed to bet to win $1 and why do I have to keep explaining this?), has been considered the king at 122. He showed true grit in stopping Gonzalez in the tenth – and no, the bantamweight titlist’s trainer, Oscar Suarez, was not premature in waving the towel – but he should also be thankful that Joan Guzman moved out of the weight class.

Guzman moved two divisions higher and outboxed and outslugged the tough Argentine, Jorge Barrios, in what was somehow scored a split decision. I think the fight was closer than most of my colleagues had it – 115-112 for Guzman – but there should have been no doubts that the undefeated Dominican speedster won. He’s got wonderful moves, terrific hand speed and I’ve got to find a spot for him on my pound-for-pound list….I wish to hereby acknowledge the assistance of former junior middleweight champion Raul Marquez, at ringside for HBO Latino, in translating what was raining down from the MGM Grand stands. The personable Marquez, now fighting at middleweight and hoping for another shot, is on Telefutura this Friday against Elio Garcia, who went into the tenth round on one of Vernon Forrest’s comeback fights. I’m afraid, though Marquez was always an exciting fighter, he might be a tough sell to HBO or Showtime, the only networks who can pay him what he wants unless he gets on one of Bob Arum’s pay-per-view undercards.

B-HOP SERIOUS: Guys, and gals, don’t take Bernard Hopkins too seriously when he says he wants to challenge Oleg Maskaev. He’ll stay retired. You know why? Because there’s no way he can get to Maskaev, unless Dennis Rappaport is smart enough to scrap Paul Okhello, the Japan-based Ugandan, as the opponent for a proposed December voluntary defense and switch to the longtime middleweight king before Samuel Peter gets his mandatory shot. Once Peter fights Maskaev, there won’t be any other voluntary defenses for Oleg – and Bernard won’t be looking to face the Nigerian Nightmare.

Happy New Year, even to the goyim.

Nixon
09-23-2006, 04:54 PM
George Benton was probably smiling while watching this fight.

PeteLeo
09-23-2006, 05:03 PM
I'm sure Katz sat sedately and never broke a smile while Foreman and Lyle were on the verge of double homicide. I just love being lectured by newspaper writers, since they're all so virtuous and omniscient. PeteLeo.

kikibalt
09-25-2006, 05:48 AM
The last one I want to be lectured by is michael katz.

Frank

TKO Tom
09-25-2006, 09:31 AM
I understand Katz' point.

Here was Marco Antonio Barrera who has provided us with thrill after thrill over the years winning a fight the manner that he felt he needed to in order to assure victory. I don't have a problem with the way Barrera fought that fight. If you really watch it, he did a masterful job on Juarez and his victory was more emphatic and more complete than a knockout would have been. It was a beautiful display of boxing and skill.

I prefer the knockdown, drag-out wars. I prefer blood and guts. I prefer knockouts. However, this was one of the rare instances where I was content to watch a master at work.

I agree with Katz in this case - shame on those fans that booed Barrera and walked out on him.

hawk5ins
09-25-2006, 09:44 AM
I agree whole heartedlyt with your point and with Katz's article.

Now this certainly doesn't give the Wolfman a pass the next time he writes a piece that I don't agree with. Usually it's 1: "What the F..?" for every 5: "Nice Jobs".

Plus, he made my boy Ron Borges look silly when Ron tried to beat him up. Katz will always have a place in my heart for that!

Note: I know both guys fairly well and feel comfortable talking about both Katz and Borges. MIke and I have had mutltiple conversations and have corresponded inumerable times over the years. And Ron and I are so close that he once told me to kiss his a** in front of the Boston Globe.

Oh Ron you big lug you!

Hawk

TKO Tom
09-25-2006, 12:11 PM
Why did Borges tell you to kiss his ass?

hawk5ins
09-25-2006, 12:32 PM
And his invlovement re DOuglas Tyson.

When discussing this with him (Ron had just written an article on the subject, I think shortly after the Eugenia WIlliams-Lewis Holy I flap), I pointed out something obvious to Ron, who everytime he is either criticized or corrected on something, he blows a gasket.

Next thing you know, I recieved Ron's, ahem, open invitation.

He usually calls me pr*ck, everytime I mention that whenever I run into him.

Playful banter between the two of us with a decidedly hard, underlying edge to it.

Hawk

Sharkey
09-25-2006, 04:02 PM
Shame on those who didn't like the fight? Because it's MAB and those who found the fight boring (aka booworthy) should forget the fight is boring and remember MAB's more exciting fights?

I suppose if it were another boring bout, but the fighter (or fighters) had not built up the necessary equity, then it would be ok to boo.

Or perhaps, when someone boos a bout containing a 'legend' they are besmirching that legend...rather than commenting on the action (or lack thereof).

Or is it personally offensive to boo in the first place..let alone MAB or some other guy who has "given" us so much.. the booing the refuge of ignorance and those who are slugs, jerks and have never fought and thus don't respect the courage yadda ding dong dang..

I'll join Pete and Frank and ask that Katz save the CSN ("Teach your children well...")-style preaching and educating for articles explaining his scorecards.

Sharkey
09-25-2006, 04:06 PM
As an aside.. I like violent fights, and boxing clinics.. I don't MERELY like blood and guts.

And I thought this fight stunk..and I would not have booed so much as fallen asleep. THAT may have irked Katz too. When I explained I loved watching Pea fight..but not ALL his fights were to me interesting, I hope he would give me a pass.

hawk5ins
09-25-2006, 04:09 PM
And maybe Katz should have listened to DOug Fischer's point about fans booing the lack of action, not necessarily Barrera.

If that is indeed the case, I really have no issue with the disappointment in the bout. I guess I was taking more exception with those booing Barrera, given all that he has given of himself to the fans.

It appears that was where Katz was coming from as well.

If folks were dissappointed in the lack of action, I have no issues with that at all.

Hawk

Sharkey
09-25-2006, 04:26 PM
They can boo MAB all they want and still be fight fans. Who decides these things anyway? Katz?

Man these sports journalists are getting carried away with the public-service crap.

Todd
09-25-2006, 08:58 PM
I wonder if Katz shelled out $100+ for Barrera's last three PPV turds. Or $750+ for ringside seats last weekend (plus hotel rooms, plus a flight to Vegas...). People tend to boo and get disappointed if they don't think they're getting their money's worth. It's got nothing to do with bloodlust or desire to see someone get killed.

doomeddisciple
09-26-2006, 03:33 AM
I wonder if Katz shelled out $100+ for Barrera's last three PPV turds. Or $750+ for ringside seats last weekend (plus hotel rooms, plus a flight to Vegas...). People tend to boo and get disappointed if they don't think they're getting their money's worth. It's got nothing to do with bloodlust or desire to see someone get killed.

With that undercard, it would be a hard sell to say it wasn't worth the $40 I paid to watch it over here in Oz.

I guess to twist the classic Hagler saying, "It's hard to get up and write prose of the people when you're going to bed on free sheets..."

Fat Abbot
09-26-2006, 03:44 AM
The fans have the right too boo all they want, they are the ones that are making Barrera a milionare atfterall.

gregbeyer
09-27-2006, 12:29 AM
you know i just watched this fight again and have a few thoughts on katz's article. the first is that you don't codemn the paying public...period. they paid for their right of opinion.

on behalf of MAB. he won! the first fight showed that he was at risk against a rematch with rocky juarez. it was his job to win the fight and he found the way to do it.

the great willie pep once told a fighter not to worry about the fans because "they don't pay your doctor bills"

if MAB could last the 12 by out foxing rocky then rocky is the one to be blamed here for the fight not being a slugfest. it is called boxing. barerra did a great job at it this time. any lamenting by the fans should be aimed at rocky.

i always get a kick out of fighters slapping their gloves together in the 12th asking for their opponent to please give them the chance to land a lucky shot after they have been befudled. the hell with that. juarez got slapped out of that opportunity. what in us says marco need give him that chance?
greg

DscribeDC
09-27-2006, 09:37 AM
This Katz piece kind of made me giggle.

I mean, when was the last time you saw a really good, tactical Sweet Pea or Willy Pep fight replayed on ESPN Classic? Or rhapsodised over in an article by an old sage reprinted from boxing's "golden years." Or immortalized on canvas in a museum of American art? Or the subject of a best-selling book?

The fights that enter folklore are Dempsey-Willard, Dempsey-Firpo, Wolgast-Nelson, Marciano-Wolcott, Graziano-Zale. Brutal KOs. And who puts them there? Broadcasters and newspaper columnists, the keepers of the collective memory.

Blaming fans for the mythologizing of the brutal ring war is absurd.

Juan C Ayllon
09-27-2006, 12:33 PM
http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/news/archives/StagSharkey.jpg

Stag at Sharkey's. Painting by George Bellows.

Good point, DScribeDC!

--jca

http://www.1artclub.com/uploads/22-0026.jpg

And, of course, Bellow's rendition of Dempsey-Firpo!

Good point, DScribeDC!

--jca

DscribeDC
09-27-2006, 12:52 PM
Juan, that was precisely what I had in mind. The National Museum of American Art, before it underwent its renovation, also had a great painting by James Montgomery Flagg (creator of Uncle Sam) of Dempsey-Willard. I hope it's still on display.

Trust me, you will never see "Willy Pep Lands A Jab" reproduced in an art textbook.

thumper3852
09-27-2006, 01:41 PM
Journalists get paid to write, so they write something.


They never write something like:

PLANE LANDS SAFELY, ALL ON BOARD ALIVE!

Newspapers and other media profit off of gore, death, sadness, sex crimes, etc.

Kats' article is the epitome of the pot calling the kettle black.

Juan C Ayllon
09-27-2006, 08:54 PM
http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/news/archives/pernellwhitacker.jpg

Pernell Whitaker (right) jabbing

Hey DScribeDC,

Cool stuff! I just had to have a little fun with the image of Whitaker.

Have a good one,


Juan

Juan C Ayllon
09-27-2006, 09:06 PM
http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~cwren/VismodBarfBags/VBBC_Tans_2000.jpg



You call yourself a fight fan and when one of the competitors gets in serious trouble, you rise out of your seat in gleeful anticipation of the kill. You might as well point your thumbs downward. Tell me what part of “sport” is a knockout, the rendering of a fighter unconscious.


Gaaaaaag! Help me now! I'm getting the dry heeeeeeaves!

DscribeDC
09-28-2006, 09:53 AM
Juan, who did that Whitaker painting? It ain't half bad.

Mexal
09-28-2006, 12:20 PM
It's called Photoshop, lol

Juan C Ayllon
09-28-2006, 12:26 PM
Hey Guys,

Actually, I haven't tinkered with Adobe Photoshop, yet. That's something I'd like to explore. I actually played with the photo in Microsoft Photo Editor, clicked on "Effects" on the toolbar, and selected "Watercolor" on the drop down menu.

Cheers,


Juan

Todd
09-28-2006, 12:29 PM
Gotta love the Photoshop filters.

Another classic that'll go next to Dempsey-Firpo in an art textbook someday:

http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/images2/barrera.jpg
Barrera on Defense, 2006

DscribeDC
09-28-2006, 12:58 PM
I think you guys might have second careers.

I would love to get my hands on the masterpiece: Bruce Seldon Goes Down For the Count Against Tyson. Now, THAT is a dramatic painting!

Juan C Ayllon
09-28-2006, 07:05 PM
By the way, not to toot my own horn too much, but you really might enjoy some of the pics in my latest report:

Boxing Report from Hammond, Indiana (http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/news/archives/00002485.htm)

There's some good boxing shots and, um, others worth checking out.

Cheers,


Juan

kikibalt
09-28-2006, 07:10 PM
By the way, not to toot my own horn too much, but you really might enjoy some of the pics in my latest report:

Boxing Report from Hammond, Indiana (http://www.cyberboxingzone.com/news/archives/00002485.htm)

There's some good boxing shots and, um, others worth checking out.

Cheers,


Juan

Great pics. Juan, you out did your self again.

Frank

Juan C Ayllon
09-28-2006, 07:19 PM
Thanks, Frank!

And, thanks, too, for those wonderful links you always send me to those Robert Morales stories--for which I have permission to post up links at the CBZ Newswire page.

Cheers,


Juan