Sunday, July 27, 2008

Great Fight Amidst Lampley's Bias...

Last night the national boxing rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico reached epic proportions with two champions - Mexico's Antonio Margarito and Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto - putting it all on the line in Las Vegas.

What a superb fight!  This fight is the stuff legends are made from (not untarnished records Mr. Floyd Mayweather Jr.). Antonio Margarito's relentless pressure, heavy hands, granite chin and unbending will broke the mind, body and spirit of the talented and brave Miguel Cotto.

Margarito continues to cement his reputation as boxing's toughest SOB and Cotto, even in defeat, illustrates once again he has immense talent and heart, and both have increased their statures as elite fighters. Only a fighter with Margarito's unique qualities could have withstood the Puerto Rican's assault. There is no shame in Cotto's loss.

Jim Lampley's commentary, however, was shameful. As relentless as Margarito was in breaking his opponent's will, so too was Lampley's biased support of his crush, Miguel Cotto. While it is absolutely true Cotto is the superior talent, as illustrated by his crisper, more accurate punches and relative ease in navigating the ring's terrain, he is not the superior fighter.

This fact, which became increasingly evident as the rounds passed, was ignored by Lamps. His unwillingness to acknowledge the toll being exacted by Margarito on Cotto's mind and body was insulting, not only to his two partners - Steward and Kellerman, who had the "audaciousness" to question Cotto's ability to resist the unyielding pressure exserted by Margarito for 12 rounds - but to Margarito and his Pay-per-View audience.

Lampley frequently shows favoritism, which is not unique to him, as few can completely remove their preferences during live, off the cuff, analysis, but his unfiltered affection and admiration for Cotto was a distraction resulting in him diminishing the efforts of Margarito and amplifying Cotto's work - as if to persuade viewers Cotto is the better fighter and winning the fight.

Jim Lampley's emotional exit from the broadcast, partly from a colleague battling Leukemia and partly from the brutal beating his vanquished champion endured, underscored the night well. The fight required both combatants to exhibit skill, deliver and endure punishment, test their will and expose their humanity. All of which is why those who love the sweet science will remember this fight always and recall it with great emotion.


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