The TQBR boys have gathered yet again to discuss the goings on of a fairly busy boxing weekend. This week, Maestro Hedtke asked us the questions, and we dutifully answered. Langendorf even managed to rub our noses in the fact that he’s a functioning adult with people that love him. What an asshole.
1.What was your overall impression of the main event? Did anything about either guy impress or disappoint you?
Swain: The main event was a boxing match. Canelo won the boxing match. Canelo isn’t going to fight how anyone wants him to fight. He proved that against Mayweather, and with that single exception, he’s gotten it right. He’s kinda slow and physically ordinary, but goddamn can that ginger fight. His reflexes are ridiculous and his head and upper body movement are fantastic.
Brent: The best I can say for the fight itself was that it was fine. Tactical and contested on a high level but I’d rather watch my grandmother freeze to death on her birthday than ever see a replay. I was impressed with Canelo’s head movement and overall defense. I felt both guys could’ve pressed harder but Canelo ultimately didn’t need to and I don’t think Jacobs has a higher gear than the one he was in.
Tim: I was hoping for more entertainment, even though I knew better. I can enjoy chess match-style boxing, This was too much on the dull side. Both guys were impressive in their own ways, but not in a way that surprised me.
Jason: It wasn’t much of a fight – but it was a helluva performance. Last night was as good as we’ve seen Canelo: deft footwork, expert head movement, counterpunching sharper than a stick in the eye. Jacobs wasn’t active enough, and he held on too long to the fantasy of a southpaw stance solving Alvarez. Maybe Jacobs out-thunk himself. Probably Canelo was just better.
2. After last night is a third GGG fight for Canelo more or less appealing to you?
Swain: Less. Prime Golovkin (age 25-33) dummies any version of Canelo. But Golovkin is 37 and fading, and Canelo is 28 and peaking. I’m good. For what it’s worth, I thought Golovkin won both fights.
Brent: Totally agree with Swain here that a prime GGG eats Canelo alive and I had him taking both fights as well. Part of me wants Golovkin to have his chance at full and official redemption but Canelo is in his absolute physical prime right now and GGG is inching close to the brown side of ripe. Every day that passes makes this fight less essential to me.
Tim: Less, but only mildly so. The first two were excellent. The second was maybe even better. Yeah, time favors Canelo, but it’s hard to imagine a third meeting being even remotely boring, you know?
Jason: Call me crazy, but I saw nothing from Alvarez last night that discourages me from wanting to watch two of this generation’s best boxer-punchers mix it up. Yet another inconclusive, or even controversial, result from a Canelo-GGG fight is far more compelling theater than 95% of the dreck boxing’s power brokers try to sell to the public as sport.
3. The DAZN announce team was in full-on sell mode last night. What is your assessment of their current presentation and how much does that factor into your enjoyment of their product?
Swain: I like that because of Brian Kenny adopting Sabermetrics early on, people think he’s so clever. He’s not. He’s also become a total hack. Sergio Mora is about as entertaining a commentator as he was a fighter. Mannix is ok.
Brent: Brian Kenny has long been a trusted voice of reason in boxing but those days appear to be behind him. He was in full homer mode last night and it bordered on pathetic. I know when the guys whose names are on your paycheck recently pumped $365 mil into a guy it behooves the announce team to say some nice shit about him but this was unforgivable. If DAZN is positioning themselves as the un-HBO they’re striking the fuck out. These long term exclusive deals are going to lead to more sell-jobs and on-air dong slobbering and we’re right back where we started.
Tim: What goes for the ESPN/Top Rank relationship goes for DAZN and its exclusive arrangements. While yours truly was happy with Kenny calling Canelo the true champ, sadly it’s probably only because it was the desired narrative. Hack, indeed. Compared to some boxers-turned-commentators, there are worse than Mora, not that he’s very good. I also remember when Mannix was a bit of a laughingstock, but yeah, he’s turned solid.
Jason: Shameless, intelligence-insulting product shilling is a time-honored boxing institution. Who am I to challenge tradition? It helped that I had no issues with the DAZN feed, and I wasn’t nearly as offended by Brian Kenny’s commentary as some seemed to be. (Hey, Canelo looked great. Should Kenny fudge his play-by-play to create the illusion of impartiality?) That said, Adnan Virk slut-shaming me into swearing off pay-per-views forever so that my vows to the DAZN app might be right and pure, was a little much. Let’s be honest: The next good fight that winks and shakes its ass at me on another app is gonna wind up all up on me at the nearest, cheapest roadside motel I can find.
4. As a thought experiment, is it better for boxing’s health to put out a good product with fewer viewers or to have lots of eyes on underwhelming fights?
Swain: Product first. Great fights build fanbases. Great fighters make money, which is the only thing anyone cares about in this racket, but you can’t find the great fighters without great fights.
Brent: I’ve long held the opinion that nothing has done more to hurt boxing in the last decade plus than Mayweather/Pacquiao. That many eyes on that dogshit of a fight was basically boxing’s suicide note. No sport suffers more from mismanagement of expectations than this one and the couple times a year that the mainstream sports media pokes their head into boxing’s funhouse they generally end up with their harshest criticisms confirmed. It’s a hard needle to thread and boxing has a bad habit of poking its own fucking eyes out.
Tim: The former. I’ll disagree with Brent a touch, though, on Mayweather/Pacquiao. It probably didn’t help, but I don’t think it hurt much, either. Six million people tuned into an NBC fight that very next year.
Jason: My brain hurts. Boxing, if you hadn’t noticed by now, is screwed up. I’m tired of trying to fix it, trying to explain away its awfulness to the skeptics and uninitiated. Like watching dudes punch each other in the face? Boy, howdy, have you come to the right place! Enjoy whining about promotional turf wars and arguing whether some of the world’s most dangerous men are “scared” to fight? Welcome to Thunderdome! Do you prefer smart business models, equitable pay scales and good-faith decision-making that takes to heart the best interests of the sport? Get bent, chump!
5. What did you think of Vergil Ortiz Jr? Is this a case of Hererra being 38 and the perfect opponent or is he the real deal?
Swain: Combination. Ortiz is the goods. Herrera is old. I hate seeing Herrera go out like that, and I hate that he never caught a break, but that’s life.
Brent: Herrera is the quintessential hard-luck guy who deserved so much more but this sport could care less about charity. If he needed a nudge in the direction of retirement Ortiz did him one better and kicked his wheelchair down the stairs. Hard to make a ton out of this performance considering the circumstances but god damn if he doesn’t have a massive set of shiny tools to play with. #pause
Tim: Likewise, a bit of both. Herrera was also a tad small for Ortiz.
Jason: I can’t help you here. While Ortiz was fighting, I was at my daughter’s symphony recital and then enjoying a nice dinner out with my wife. The truth is, we could all stand to spend more time with our families, demonstrating to them with our presence, not merely telling them, how much they mean to us. Life is short … and so was the battery on my iPhone. (Look, I was down to 4%, and the restaurant didn’t have a charger they could lend me.)
(Canelo Alvarez, left, of Mexico, hits Daniel Jacobs during a middleweight title boxing match Saturday, May 4, 2019, in Las Vegas; Photo by John Locher, AP)