Stephen A. Smith is bad for boxing. Straight up no chaser, I have to give you the real. As ESPN returned to hosting boxing on its network on Saturday, July 1st it did so in a major way broadcasting Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn. Although a bogus decision left Pacquiao minus the strap he entered the fight with, one other glaring bad call was evident; hiring Stephen A. Smith for in-studio commentary desk duty.
Before the action began Smith went on a tirade berating Jeff Horn for being a no name from Australia who had fought a list of men that give new meaning to the term no names. Smith then proceeds to pull out an actual list and disrespect the men that Horn had faced prior to Pacquiao by calling out their name, pronouncing them wrong and laughing at their careers.
Stephen A. Smith gets animated over the judges’ unanimous decision to give Jeff Horn the victory over Manny Pacquiao.
Specifically, he called out Randall Bailey, who was the IBF welterweight champion in 2012 and has fought top tier talent like Devon Alexander and Said Ouali before losing to Horn in his last professional bout last year.
Smith also called out Ali Rush Hour Funeka, the former IBO welterweight champion and three-time world lightweight challenger. Instead of bringing up the list of former champions Horn had faced prior to his fight against Pacquiao, Smith chose to tear down not only Horn but the competition that got Horn to the position he currently holds.
Check out highlights of the fight between Jeff Horn and Ali Funeka from 12-10-16 in New Zealand. Horn may possibly fight Manny Pacquiao in early 2017. Subscribe for future highlights: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2sif5t4BSTdzPqxu5mjWcA?sub_confirmation=1 Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/boxingfreaks/ Jeff Horn vs Manny Pacquiao next?: https://youtu.be/hhhKbLECryA Best December Knockouts: https://youtu.be/4HFV0zfq8nA
Dude even pissed off veteran and Hall of Fame Boxing Commentator/Analyst Al Bernstein, who never goes in on his peers in broadcasting.
Boxing has fought long and hard as a sport to dispel the myth of the shady promoter shenanigans, where fixed outcomes designed to set up rematches and bilk money out of consumers are the automatic assumption. Paper belts and dummy bouts to juke Las Vegas odds and keep sensationalism going has long dogged an entertainment experience some refuse to see as an actual sport and Smith only added fuel to a flame that is being consistently extinguished.
The great fights being staged by Premier Boxing Champions and the aggressive schedule of Showtime has dramatically changed the course of boxing acceptance and ESPNs new relationships with Pacquiaos promoter Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions takes the financial guilt out of watching live boxing product.
A championship fight of any belt caliber should be treated with the respect of the NBA Playoffs or even the Super Bowl when relevant, so being prime time on a major network makes sense. What doesnt is having uneducated commentators who make it their professional endeavor to rabble rouse for sound bites.
After Pacquiao lost the fight via a horrendous decision, Smith proceeded to express his opinion on the bout. He released names of the judges and what countries they were from to dispel the myth of the Australian conspiracy against Manny Pacquiao.
Ironically, in the fit of passion a few minutes earlier he insinuated that the judges might be from Australia only to blanket that potential fire with his verbal quicks and revelation that they were from America and Argentina.
But the final conflagration of his combat idiocy came when he lauded Dana White and the UFC for never having bogus decisions in the history of their existence. What? Clearly, Smith like many who base their love for sports on popular culture sans research hasnt watched MMAs highest platform for long.
Diego and Kampman put on an amazing fight while diego walks away with the win. Diegos first fight as “The Dream” instead of “The nightmare” as well.
Lets take a look at UFC Live 3 back on March 3rd 2011 when Diego Sanchez took a unanimous decision victory over Martin Kampmann. The Danish fighter was more technical the entire bout and landed more strikes. In round one he knocked Sanchez down with a right hand and opened up Sanchez by the end of the round with his relentless offense.
Like Horn, Sanchez applied the pressure to Kampmann however, only scored one takedown in the third stanza of the fight. Sanchez gave an appearance that he had more heart and it influenced the judges’ decision. However, that shouldnt win fights. Effective striking, knockdowns and takedowns should, but the judges unanimously awarded Sanchez a 29-28 victory.
Or how about UFC 104 back in October 2009 when Mauricio Shogun Rua was robbed in a unanimous decision loss to Lyoto The Dragon Machida. Shogun out landed Machida every round and went 80 to 35 in significant strikes. No one saw Machida as the winner of that fight except the judges. In the rematch, Shogun took the judges out of it by knocking out Machida in the first round.
Dana White explains the controversial decision that led to Roger Zapata’s win over Ian Stephens and he has some strong words of advice to the fighters who are left.
Judges have a hard job and until there is better oversight and recourse for terrible decisions combat sports will always have these controversial outcomes. The additional problem is when uneducated glory seekers like Smith taint the pool for the casual fan who might not understand boxing. It’s enough that most people think brawling center ring is boxing and the sport can take on a side show feel from this craving of brutality. But adding people like Smith only corrupts a product that was around before basketball and football and has sought a return to reverence with every televised bout.
With Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford having their respective championship bouts coming up on ESPN in August, I’m requesting that Stephen A. Smith is removed from the broadcast.
He should stay in his lane of basketball and occasional football commentaries. The talent pool of available fighters or talking heads that actually work boxing exclusively is deep. Boxing doesn’t need fake hype men to over talk and say nothing for segments during and after a championship fight. If for nothing else do it for the sanctity of your grandfathers sport now being viewed as your millennials vintage.