Convicted Artist Magazine

Sep 26th
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chavez-vs-taylor-1Corruption in boxing is there for one basic reason.. it works.  It is actually deeper than that in the ego-driven business world.  Control, greed, money, etc.  The shark-like atmosphere, and types of people drawn into such a tough business, etc. are all factors.. but lousy decisions and/or quick stoppages are often forgotten, while the result is remembered.  There are exceptions, such as Lewis-Holyfield 1, Chavez-Taylor 1, and Froch Groves 1.  In those cases, the controversy is more famous than the result, so the bad and/or corrupt decisions made by officials backfired.  However, in every case, a rematch was called for, meaning the true guilty (or suspected) parties made a lot of money on the controversy.

 In either sense, corruption works.  It does not drive away as many fans as it ultimately attracts, because controversy creates passion, and drama, which gets normally elitist print and media outlets to write about a sport they love to hate.  It actually creates attention.  Was Bradley-Pacquiao a match that needed to be fought a second time, even given what has happened to each man since?  Not likely.  There are, however, a few fights where controversy did not exist as a result of officials or promoters.  namely, the losing fighter and/or a few writers decided there was a controversy, and eventually we all bought it.  Here are 3 fights that actually were quite simple, yet were made complex by complaining, and marketing spin techniques.

Pacquiao-Marquez 1-3.
These were all close, legit wins for Pacquiao.  In the moment, few, if anyone outside of the Marquez camp thought these were lousy decisions, but Marquez has made this part of his modus operandi.  He also lost close decisions (still legit) to Chris John and Freddie Norwood.  He, however, was able to complain his way into fight fans' hearts.  he finally won via brutal KO in their fourth match, but let's get one thing straight.. he was never outright robbed in any match.  We finally got wise to this game after his clear cut loss to Bradley.  It was a SD, but no one wanted to hear how he was robbed.  He lost, and we were over it.

Because Calzaghe retired unbeaten, and Hopkins has gone on to make even more history, people often point to this fight as the only one he may have lost.  actually, the only controversy in most people's eyes in the moment was the scorecard that found a way to have Hopkins ahead.  Hopkins was hit in that fight, more than any other, and was looking for a way out by round 10.  However, ever the showman, and public speaker, Hopkins had some people believing he won.  Like Marquez, we finally got wise when he tried this indignance after the Dawson match.

The standard bearer for close controversial decisions was only referred to as such, as years went on.  In the moment, only Hagler's outrage was heard complaining about the decision.  JoJo Guerra's 118-110 was indeed wide, and many complained about it, but the most common scorecard from fans and experts alike was 116-112 or 115-113 Leonard.  Hagler missed badly, followed Leonard around, showed no ring generalship, and failed to truly win any exchanges except when Leonard let him.  In the ensuing years, this fight has even been referred to as an outright lousy decision.  Impressive spin, but not reality.

Chris Strait

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