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Oscar fight choices sure beat watching Olympic boxing

Aug 19, 2008 6:52 PM

Pulling No Punches by Michael Katz | Iím blogging because thereís still no immediate action, other than switching off the Olympic boxing from my television.

No, itís not because Teddy Atlas has become boring with his incessant talk of the "geometry" of boxing and his insistence on repeating the same thing over and over. I love Teddy, but Iím not anxious to hear him. But I am certainly not anxious to watch Olympic boxing. Itís more than a joke, itís a sick parody.

The "computerized" scoring system Ė which Teddy has correctly labeled a misnomer Ė has nothing to do with "computers," other than thatís how the very human (inhuman?) judgesí reactions are hooked up. It reminds me of when the New York Post had "computerized" ratings a couple of decades ago Ė one manís opinion was entered on a computer.

In the Olympic boxing system, five menís opinions are entered. It takes three of the five hitting the same button (either for boxer A or boxer B) within one second for a point to register.

This system was installed because of the terrible political scandals of just having judges mark ballots. But it hasnít changed the fact that the judges are still incompetent, or worse. So you can knock out a guy with a clean punch and not get credit for a point because three of the five blind mice didnít see the white part of the glove connecting.

To make matters worse, the scores are open, allowing boxers who are ahead to go into a four-corner defense. The referees are incompetent, or worse. Holding and running seldom get penalized. The boxers, instead of fighting, slap to score points. Iím not sure I could watch if Angelina Jolie were in the ring wearing only a helmet and gloves.

Besides, amateur boxing has always seemed particularly cruel when competitors take punches, or slaps, to the head without being richly rewarded.

Donít knock Oscar

Rich rewards are what Oscar de la Hoya has been about for quite some time so I donít understand certain colleagues who were picking on him for attempting to pick on little olí Manny Pacquiao for his proposed "farewell" appearance.

They suggested Antonio Margarito would better befit the occasion, probably hoping to see Oscar get embarrassed on his way out the ring. But Pacquiao would have meant more money, and the next suggestion, the ordinary Sergio Mora, would have meant much less risk and thatís what Oscar was about.

He was a fine fighter, a sure Hall of Famer, but he was not one of the all-time greats, except in the category of what matters most in boxing Ė making money.

The Golden touch remains in his post-ring career. He has become Bob Arumís main rival (remember Don King? Last seen he was in China and not at the Olympic boxing venue). He has branched out Ė taking over Ring magazine (nah, thereís no conflict of interest) and underwriting USA (Amateur) Boxing (nah, thereís no conflict of interest).

It is well within the realm of possibility that he is seeking to monopolize the business, especially with the older generation of promoters fading.

Jose Sulaiman, obviously cognizant of Oscarís expansion, issued a warning to the Olympic judges not to screw up (not that WBC judges ever did, of course, just donít remind Pernell Whitaker). It was El Bandidoís way of trying to put down amateur boxing. At least there are no "interim" Olympic champions.

August, thankfully, is coming to a close with a crescendo of a Nikolai Valuev-John Ruiz rematch

ē See where Joe Calzaghe says his Nov. 7 bout against Roy Jones Jr. will be his last. Good. The way he slaps, he should be in the Olympics, anyway. I canít wait to drop him from my pound-for-pound list. Same with Bernard Hopkins. De la Hoya is already gone.

ē Yeah, Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are still 1, 2, with Margarito storming in at 3Ö I believe Miguel Cotto will come back strongly.

ē If I were boxingís commissioner with the power to order fights, I would have Margarito first meet Sugar Shane Mosley (let everyone make a big buck) before having rematches with Josh Clottey and Paul Williams. In fact, why not a Final Four?

Thereís no Riddick Bowe around to duck out of the final (for neophytes, thatís when Bowe beat Evander Holyfield the first time and Lennox Lewis knocked out Razor Ruddock, supposedly to set up a summit meeting, but Crock Newman, Boweís manager, instead relinquished the WBCrock title).

And if I were commissioner, there would be no more dueling dates, like the rival lightweight title fights Sept. 13 Ė Nate Campbell-Joan Guzman on Showtime, Joel Casamayor-Juan Manuel Marquez on HBO.

Thatís too much of a good thing.