Body Blows: Jermain Taylor vs. Winky Wright, Commentator Bias, And A Gift For My Readers.

Jermain Taylor put his WBC, WBA, and WBO Middleweight titles on the line last Saturday against #1 contender Winky Wright. This was one of the most anticipated fights of the year for fans. It could have easily been offered on pay-per-view but the good folks at HBO decided to broadcast it on their regular channel. HBO Boxing promised better fights without the $49.95 price tag after fans expressed their displeasure with a lackluster schedule for 2005. A more meaningful fight couldn’t have taken place. However, as seems to be the case in boxing over the last few months, the result left more questions than answers.

Winky Wright and Jermain Taylor put on a more exciting fight than I expected. I thought it would have been a strategic battle, and it was, but I didn’t think they would land so many clean punches. Winky’s usually impenetrable defense was not on display and Taylor had been hit more times in this fight than he had in any other fight. And that was by the 8th round. This fight had all the buildup for dramatic championship rounds but the two fighters became very tentative in rounds eleven and twelve. If anyone would have taken charge in those crucial rounds, there would have been an easily identifiable winner. Instead, their lack of aggression produced a draw.

A draw was a far decision, no matter what Winky Wright seems to think. Wright landed more accurate punches and had better defense, while Taylor landed the harder punches while pressing the action more often. Taylor had his eye swollen shut due to an accidental headbutt but still came off looking better than Winky after the fight. Wright immediately left the ring and most likely threw a tantrum in his lockerroom that tripled the amount of effort he gave in the last two rounds.

As Taylor gave his usual polite and humble post-fight interview, you could see why Taylor was hesitant in the late rounds. However, if he was the fighter he claimed to be, he would have been busier in the later rounds as well. A rematch seems obvious but it won’t be soon, if ever. Taylor has fought his three toughest fights consecutively and his team wants him to take a lesser fight in his hometown in order to work on some of his mechanics. Now when Larry Merchant of HBO caught up with Winky in the back, Winky stated he wanted nothing to do with a rematch. He felt he was robbed and wanted to get as far way as he could from the recurring feeling of his disputed loss to Fernando Vargas. Winky needs to let that fight go. If he wanted to beat Taylor, he should have worked harder in the later rounds as his corner told him to do. Wright wants to pursue other fights and he won’t have a problem landing them, but the most lucrative will be a rematch with Jermain Taylor.

Bias Amongst Commentators?

I finally received emails that didn’t have to do with boxing vs. UFC buyrates, but oddly enough these were about the commentary during the Taylor/Wright fight on HBO. InsidePulse’s own Michaelangelo McCullar writes:

Could that guy (Jim Lampley) have been any more biased for Jermain Taylor? Even my brother, who’s a Taylor fan, thought Lampley was ridiculous.

I didn’t initially watch the fight with volume so I looked forward to the re-broadcast the next day. Especially once I read this email from Da Meezy:

Did Lennox Lewis retire from boxing so he could turn loving Winky Wright into a full-time career? His favoritism towards Winky Wright was annoying.

After listening to the commentators during the fight, I can see where both guys are coming from. Lampley nearly reached climax over Taylor’s power. Winky would land three or four consecutive jabs and Lampley’s voice rose three octaves when Taylor responded with a hook to Wright’s arm. Lampley went as far as saying ‘Taylor’s impact was heard throughout the arena’. Impactful, yes. But I doubt the vendors in Section GG heard it.

Most of Lampley’s praise came after Lennox Lewis was talking about Wright’s footwork or how handsome he is, so perhaps Lampley was trying to balance things out. Regardless, it did seem like both men played favorites but they weren’t as bad as the guys that do White Sox games on WGN. Or the old Braves announcers for that matter. I remember when Mike Piazza hit a home run off of Steve Avery and during every replay, the announcers kept marveling at how great a pitch Avery threw. I’m pretty sure it’s not on the field anymore so the pitch couldn’t have been that good. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. Let’s hope I can keep Jim Lampley out of my columns for the next few weeks.

Results From Last Week

– Oscar Diaz won his welterweight showdown with Chris “The Mechanic” Smith via unanimous decision.

– Australian light heavyweight Paul Briggs defeated Jose Alberto Clavero by disqualification. Clavero refused to leave his corner for the fifth round.

– Anthony Peterson remained undefeated with a lopsided unanimous decision over Adan Hernandez.

– Terry Smith scored an 8th round TKO to defeat Dennis McKinney in a heavyweight bout. Up next for Smith will be Jameel McCline in late July.

– IBO Lightweight champion Isaac Hlatshwayo successfully moved up to light welterweight with an 8-round unanimous decision over Jeremy Yelton.

– Sechew Powell got a TKO victory over Willie Lee with just 37 seconds left in the fight.

Jockscraps – The Stories They Won’t Tell

Sprewell Impressed With Mickelson’s Ability To Choke

Latrell Sprewell spilled what was left of his beer and stared in amazement at his television as Phil Mickelson had yet another collapse in a major golf tournament this past weekend.

“I thought I was the king of choke,” Sprewell told a friend, “but that fool takes the cake.”

Sprewell, an avid golf fan, says that he always makes it a point to tune in to the major tournaments.

“Yeah, I watch ’em all. If I’m not home I’ll tape ’em and watch ’em later.”

Over the years Sprewell has had many opportunities to watch Mickelson choke his way to disappointment after disappointment. The inherent sadness of being an athlete like Mickelson has led to Sprewell finding a newfound respect for the Hefty Lefty. In fact, he has become Sprewell’s favorite golfer. When asked why, Latrell says the answer is simple.

“Mickelson can choke like it’s nobody’s business. Anytime, anyplace, it doesn’t matter. I was a one-time choker, but this boy does it week after week. And people love him for it. When he chokes, the police aren’t involved. No old white man’s running around screaming ‘attempted murder.’ There’s no court date. No lawyers involved. No handcuffs. Nobody in the jail cell fooling with his butthole. Not that that happened to me, I’m just saying, it would suck if it did. The worst thing that happens to Phil is he picks up a second place check.”

Sprewell vows to continue his support of Mickelson and wishes him luck for the rest of the year.

A Special Gift For You

Spit Bucket

Who do you think was the winner of the Taylor/Wright contest? Let me know at Also, Oscar De La Hoya is scheduled to make a decision on his future this Wednesday.:

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