Sound & Fury: Pascal-Dawson, Chris Arreola Antics, Donnie Nietes, etc.

(Welcome to another edition of Sound & Fury, the boxing column that blackens eyes and skips clichés. This week TCS takes a look at the poor media coverage of the Jean Pascal-Chad Dawson fight, marvels at some of the strange goings on in boxing recently, including another instance of fudged attendance, and offers thoughts on weekend fights involving Chris Arreola and Donnie Nietes.)

Now that Jean Pascal has scored the biggest win of his career by defeating favored Chad Dawson, he has the pleasure of having his accomplishment predictably trashed by the boxing media (and its cousin, forum monsters) and Team Dawson. Again, let it be stated clearly, boxing has the worst media coverage of any sport in America. That some of these “writers” have come out with excuses on behalf of Dawson is asinine. Many of these experts are merely trying to cover their tracks because they spend so much time hyping and shilling that they feel they have to justify the poor performances of the fighters they routinely cyber-fellate in order to perpetuate their “in the know” attitudes. And Dawson is not helping matters with his post-fight whining and taunting. He had his chance to be a tough guy in the ring and instead chose to flinch and clinch most of the night. Pascal was winning the fight, he did not use dirty tactics, there was no guarantee that Dawson, passive-aggressive throughout the bout, would stop Pascal in the last two rounds, and the clash of heads was not intentional. Pascal proved himself in the ring and cleanly whipped Dawson, who remains a good fighter and a top-flight light heavyweight. Why is that not enough?

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The third-rate hacks and forum barkers who chime in with their absolute pronouncements are a given, but even The Montreal Gazette ran this ridiculous headline: “Jean Pascal Wins Controversial Bout.” Soon that boner was replaced by “Jean Pascal Retains Title With Controversial Headbutt.” Finally, their headline read: “I’m the New King at 175 Pounds”: Jean Pascal.” Beneath that, however, is the caveat: “Headbutt was ‘intentional,’ Dawson’s promoter says.” There was nothing intentional about the headbutt; in fact, it was Dawson who was diving in with his skull at the moment of impact. Shaw, who is outspoken, yes, but often little more than a blowhard, is merely trying to fan the flames of controversy. Can you blame him with such a dull and colorless fighter as Dawson on his hands? Or with such a fawning media to work with? As for the Gazette, they might as well just syndicate articles from LeastSideBoxing.com or link back to the army of semi-literate Examiners out there.

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The usual HBO profile formula was in effect on Saturday night when the star-conjuring network ran a human interest piece of its house fighter, Chad Dawson, and almost completely ignored his opponent, Jean Pascal, you know, the guy who actually sells tickets and has personality. By the way, does anyone get the feeling that HBO thinks Chad Dawson is the only professional fighter with a wife and kids?

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Jiggly Chris Arreola won an unimpressive 12-round decision over Manuel Quezada on Friday night in a woeful bout aired on ESPN2 from Ontario, California. Courage, heart, chutzpah—Quezada can lay claim to all of these attributes. Skill, however, is as far from his reach as the rings of Saturn are. Even so, Arreola, who weighed in at 256 pounds, took enough punches from his limited opponent to prove once and for all that “The Nightmare” is a mass hallucination. (It has been reported that Arreola injured his hands during the fight. If so, we can add toughness as one of his pluses in the ring.) At one point, Arreola got on his toes and performed a grotesque parody of “Float Like A Butterfly” in center ring. This must be what certain mailbag mavens, born under the Tree of Wisdom, mean when they talk about Arreola and his “underrated boxing skills.” Okey-dokey. Still, for some reason, Arreola rated a profile on ESPN2 and earned the hammy elocution of Joe Tessitore all night long. Over thirty fights into his career, Arreola is a millionaire and has yet to defeat a single quality opponent. Since his limited ability does not deserve the kind of coverage Arreola gets, it must be something else. His personality? What about the strange air of burlesque that surrounds Arreola, fat jokes included? At the end of his sloppy affair with Quezada, he was awarded a belt from some sanctioning body that looked like it was made at a crafts workshop for the blind. That boxing spoof of pomp and circumstance seemed almost fitting.

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One of the strange twists of the Tavoris Cloud glove issue is that fact that it took place under the auspices of the Missouri State Office of Athletics. Its Executive Director, Tim Lueckenhoff, is also the president of the Association of Boxing Commissions. What a way to inspire confidence in an organization whose mission statement includes the following: “To promote the uniformity of health and safety standards and other requirements pertaining to the conduct of combat sports events.”

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Steady Filipino Donnie Nietes scored a clear-cut decision over outclassed Mario Rodriguez over 12 rounds in Sinaloa, Mexico, over the weekend. Nietes, 27-1-3, actually knows how to move his head and step with the jab, two lost arts, apparently, in contemporary boxing. Unfortunately, Nietes is in an anonymous weight class, one where money is as rare as name recognition. Rodriguez, now 10-6-3, was an undeserving challenger, and if Nietes keeps fighting these types on the road, sooner or later the home court will catch up to him. He should certainly think about gaining two or three pounds and moving up a division, where fighters with slightly bigger profiles currently reside: Giovanni Segura, Ivan Calderon, Ulises Solis, and Omar Nino Romero.

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Last week Steve Kim at Maxboxing.com reported that the “sell out” chalked up to Timothy Bradley for his fight with Luis Carlos Abregu at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California, which seats roughly 2,000 spectators, was actually engineered by Gary Shaw, who ensured this feat by buying tickets himself. This is yet the latest example of fake box office numbers over the last few months. How bizarre is it that promoters—and fans as well—have to sit around pretending that certain fighters are popular? Who benefits from this charade? No one wants to see Andre Berto fight, so they paper the house to make it seem like he is Mister Popularity. Ditto any number of contemporary fighters. Does that make any sense at all? Even for boxing?

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Teddy Atlas contributed to the boxing “Believe It or Not” file when he, incredibly, convinced Alexander Povetkin to pass on a $2 million payday against Wladimir Klitschko and then put Povetkin into an unsanctioned exhibition against completely shot—and suspended—43 year-old Bruce Seldon in Philadelphia. This has to rank, without a doubt, as the stupidest thing to wash up on the polluted shores of boxing in a long, long time. Think about this scenario the next time you hear Atlas talk about how crooked boxing is and how honest commissions and judges are needed to oversee the sport.

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Tags: Alexander Povetkin CHAD DAWSON Donnie Nites Gary Shaw Jean Pascal Teddy Atlas TIM BRADLEY

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