Monday, June 19, 2006

12 Round Fight a DRAW!

I hear I missed a good one. The twelve round fight between challenger Winky Wright and Middleweight Champion Jermaine Taylor was ruled a draw. With a busy weekend in sports this fight should've been near the top of my watch list, but I somehow missed it, shame on me.

Here's what ESPN fight analyst had to say about it:

Jermain Taylor D12 Winky Wright
Taylor retains middleweight title.
Scores: 114-114, 115-113 Taylor, 115-113 Wright
Records: Taylor, 25-0-1; Wright, 50-3-1

Rafael's remark: If there was ever a fight that could have gone either way, this was it. If there was ever a fight that illustrated the need for the return to 15-round fights in certain instances, this was it. Those last three rounds probably would have made a huge difference. Alas, we're stuck with this exciting 12-rounder to judge. Let the debate rage. If you like the busier and much heavier puncher, Taylor was your man. Every time he landed, which was often, he moved Wright with the blows. If you like the more accurate fighter with the quicker hands and better defense, Wright was your man. The judges obviously couldn't agree. And on press row, the scores were also all over the place, as much as for any big fight we have ever covered.

Bottom line: It was a close fight, not a robbery as Wright and promoter Gary Shaw cried. Wright's disappointment is understandable, but he showed a lack of professionalism by dissing HBO in the ring after the fight and by dissing the media at the postfight news conference, as if we were the ones who turned in the official scorecards. That's a pretty lame move for a guy who wants a future as a promoter. Perhaps someday there will be a rematch, and there should be. But for the time being, these guys need to go their separate ways. Taylor deserves his Little Rock, Ark., homecoming fight this fall after fighting three massive bouts in a row (two with Bernard Hopkins and then with Wright). For Wright, there are other good fights for him besides another match with Taylor, which would probably be just as close the next time around.

And now a word about the promotion: This fight was one of the biggest and most important of the year, but it sure wasn't treated that way by organizers, as the arena sat almost half empty on fight night. What a disgrace. The reason was not, however, because fans didn't want to come. It's because the tickets were so grossly overpriced that few wanted to spend so much money for such crappy seats. Who is going to pay $1,000 or $750 to have a seat in a corner or not even on the floor, especially when the fight is free on HBO and the undercard is filled with one blatant mismatch after another?

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