Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mainstream interruption: ESPN analysts talk Mayweather, Pacquiao, and Clottey

Ask anyone connected the sport of boxing, either as a fan or professional, and they will tell you how easy it is to get caught up in the sport. While mainstream sports such as Basketball and Football are constantly on display for the world to see, boxing enthusiasts are a rare breed. The passion and sometimes obsession that pundits have for the sweet science can only be put into perspective when hearing the opinion of the often less educated and less interested mainstream public. Such opinion was on display earlier this week when taking in the Monday edition of ESPN’s ‘Around the Horn’, featuring analysts Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon. The show, which by my own admission is both enjoyable and informative on many levels, is centered around the worlds of mainstream sports but the attention does get turned to boxing on occasion. On Monday Kornheiser and Wilbon discussed a myriad of topics such as Mark McGwire’s admittance of steroid use in years past, the past weekend’s thrilling NFL Wild Card playoff game between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers, and recent rumors that long-time bachelor Derek Jeter very well may be tying the knot with Minka Kelly. Then, out of nowhere, the attention was turned to the upcoming March 13th Pacquiao vs Clottey title tilt at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. While its always refreshing for boxing to get some attention on mainstream airwaves, seeing Kornheiser and Wilbon speak of Clottey as if he was a nobody was a definite surprise. While they weren’t meaning to show disrespect to the former IBF Welterweight champion, the ESPN crew obviously didn’t have any prior knowledge of the rugged fighter from Ghana. Before touching on the Pacquiao vs Clottey matchup, Wilbon turned his attention to the recent Pacquiao-Mayweather fallout, stating his belief that the Las Vegas fighter is at fault for not finding a way to make the clash happen. With such disappointment still lingering, Wilbon is in no mood to even consider the positives of a showdown with Clottey. “This is a huge mistake. Mayweather I blame entirely. I’m not going to see this fight. Who wants to see this fight?” Kornheiser then took the mic and spoke on the Pacquiao-Clottey matchup. While obviously not being familiar with Clottey in the slightest, Kornheiser mentioned that he hopes the bruising and aggressive Welterweight contender doesn’t find a way to win the fight, as it would all but ruin a possible Pacquiao-Mayweather showcase for down the road. “I just hope this guy Clottey can’t fight.” While it was frustrating to see a fighter of Clottey’s abilities get so little recognition, Kornheiser brought everything full circle with his parting words. In closing he summed up what everyone is still thinking about Mayweather coming into Pacquiao’s life. “They can still negotiate behind the scenes. I still won’t throw in the towel on the fight.” That sixty second showcase on ‘Pardon the Interruption’ was somewhat revealing to me. Ask any boxing fan and they will tell you that while not having Pacquiao face Mayweather is a disappointment, having Clottey step in will serve as a great replacement. Pacquiao-Clottey is real fight and an interesting matchup to boot. While I can’t blaim ESPN for not getting into the fight simply because it’s not on the level of a Mayweather tango, it certainly shows the difference of opinion between the mainstream media and the hardcore fan.


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