As a hardcore boxing fan, I’ve seen a lot of bad decisions over the years. In April of 1987, I watched Marvelous Marvin Hagler dominate Sugar Leonard over the final six rounds and felt he won easily; except two corrupt judges were influenced by the pro-Leonard crowd and robbed Hagler of his Middleweight Championship….
In 1985, Larry Holmes was embarrassed by losing his Heavyweight Championship to Light Heavyweight champ Michael Spinks. So for the rematch he got into top shape, dominated the fight and in my opinion won 10 of the 15 rounds. But the decision went to Spinks, prompting this reaction from Holmes in the post-fight interview: “The judges can kiss me where the sun don’t shine, and that’s my big, black behind.”….
How about Ali-Norton III, held in Yankee Stadium in 1976? At worst, Norton won 10 rounds and dominated from start to finish, but it was a unanimous decision for Ali; which led to Norton breaking down and crying in his corner….
I thought Bernard Hopkins clearly won both of his fights against Jermain Taylor, but the HBO house fighter got a couple of gift decisions; courtesy of the network, a biased broadcast team and some incompetent judges….
I could go on and on, but now there’s another injustice to add to the list; Saturday night’s “win” by Juan Diaz over Paulie Malignaggi….
Paulie controlled the action with his jab, moved beautifully, turned Diaz consistently, landed more punches and clearly won the fight. I had it 116-112 for Malignaggi, but smelled something rotten….
After all, Diaz was the HBO house fighter, the fight was held in Juan’s hometown of Houston and all of the pre-fight agreements were rigged in Diaz’s favor….
Here’s a list of what Paulie was up against:
-Team Diaz demanded on an 18-foot ring, which is really small and gave the brawling Diaz an advantage over the slick-boxing Malignaggi.
-Team Diaz also insisted a catch weight of 138.5 lbs, which was also a big advantage for their fighter. Paulie kills himself to get down to 140, his best weight, and the extra pound and a half worked in Diaz’ favor.
-Team Malignaggi told HBO and the Texas commission they did not want Raul Caiz and Gale Van Hoy as judges, because of their history of favoring home-town Texas fighters. Paulie was told it would be taken care of, but when he arrived in Texas learned both of them would be judging.
Despite all this, Malignaggi went on with the fight, because it was a good payday and nothing else this big was on his radar….
Before the fight, however, he told anyone who would listen that the fix was in and he was going to get robbed….
So why did Team Diaz insist on rigging the outcome? “For the same reason a dog licks himself,” said Malignaggi promoter Lou Duva. “Because he can.”
I’ve heard lots of fighters complain about bad decisions after the fact, but I think this was the first time a fighter mapped out exactly was going to happen BEFORE a fight….
Paulie described exactly what was going to happen and predicted he would outbox Diaz and get robbed by the judges…
So give Malignaggi a turban and book him for Vegas, because he was right on the money….
Just call him “The Italian Kreskin.”….
The judge Team Malignaggi was most concerned about, Van Hoy, should be sitting in a jail cell this morning for his absurd scorecard. He actually scored the fight 118-110 for Diaz, 10 rounds to two….
If the Texas commission does not ban him for life, then the state should never be allowed to hold another major boxing event….
Caiz, whom Malignaggi referred to after the fight as “Oscar De La Hoya’s go-fer,” at least had it close, 115-113 for Diaz….
HBO’s Harold Lederman, who usually scores fights in favor of the HBO house fighter, had Malignaggi winning 115-113, which tells you the whole story. Lennox Lewis also had Paulie winning. Annoncer Greg Papa, after hearing Van Hoy’s scorecard, yelled, “What fight was he watching?….”
In the end, this was an embarrassment for Golden Boy Promotions; who had both Diaz and HBO in their hip pocket. I know Oscar is now a power player as a promoter and good for the sport, but if fights under his banner are going to be rigged, then they might as well call Vince McMahon and form a partnership….
De La Hoya himself should have stood up before the fight and demanded the playing field be level. If Malignaggi gave in on the ring size, then Golden Boy should have insisted Caiz and Van Hoy be removed as judges….
He also should have insisted the fight take place at a legitimate weight of 140 lbs; not that bogus 138.5 Diaz insisted on….
But Oscar sat back and became an accomplice to Paulie getting screwed. If this were to be criminally prosecuted, De La Hoya would be headed off to the big house along with Van Hoy….
If De La Hoya wants to “save the sport,” as he claims, then he cannot preside over rigged fights like Saturday night….
Kind of makes me miss Don King….
After the fight, Malignaggi went off and ripped everyone involved during his interview with Max Kellerman. Betweeen F-bombs, s-bombs and “bulls****s,” Paulie went over the list of ways the deck was stacked against him; with boos cascading down from the Diaz crowd….
He was right on the money and it was refreshing to hear a fighter speak the truth and call out boxing’s big boys like HBO, DeLaHoya and the Texas state commission….
It probably won’t do much good for his future, but still needed to be said….
So good luck to Malignaggi and hopefully he gets a rematch; this time on his home turf, Madison Square Garden….
In other boxing action, Roy Jones, Jr. actually looked sharp; stopping former rising star Jeff Lacy in 10 rounds….
Roy dominated the action throughout, showed fast hands and won easily; but I’m not going to get carried away by the performace. Lacy was exposed as overrated in his brutal loss to Joe Calzaghe and never been the same….
So now what’s next for Roy? There’s talk of a rematch with Bernard Hopkins, a fight Roy won back in 1993….
I’d actually like to see that one, because these guys don’t like each other and Roy has been ducking The Executioner for years….
Looking forward to September 26, when East L.A’s Chris Arreola gets a shot at the Heavyweight Championship against Vitali Klitschko at Staples Center….
Chris and his trainer, Henry Ramirez, have become good friends after appearing on my radio show over the years and “The Nightmare” can win the fight if he comes into the ring in top shape and focused….
The problem is Chris leads an undisciplined lifestyle outside the ring and is going to get knocked out if he’s around 250 lbs….
In his last couple of fights, Arreola has been over 250 and still won, but against against B-level competition….
He cannot come into this fight over 235 and have a chance….
Henry tells me Chris is training hard and will be in great shape, but I’ve heard that before….
The interesting thing is Arreola has the style to beat the Klitschkos. While everyone else stays on the end of their jab and absorbes one-sided beatings, Chris has a brawling, agressive style which could make Vitali uncomfortable….
Both Klitschkos fight mechanically and don’t like to back up, and Chris is just the guy to get to Vitali’s body, back him up and make him fight. I’d love to see what happens if Vitali is forced into a brawl, because I don’t think either Klitschko has great heart….
Both of them have quit on their stools in the past and don’t like the rough stuff, which is Arreola’s strength….
So can Chris win? Sure, if he comes in between 230-235, trains hard, quits drinking, stays away from his friends and dedicates himself 100% to winning this fight….
Do I want Chris to win? Yes, because he’s a good guy and so is his trainer….
Prediction? I like Vitali Klitschko to stop Chris in the mid-to-late rounds, because The Nightmare will come in too heavy and run out of gas….
I’ll believe he’s in great shape when I finally see it….