A shoving match broke out at the Bernard Hopkins/Winky Wright weigh-in ceremony today. Diehards like us know that weigh-in beefs are oftentimes the only way to get the Sweet Science onto SportsCenter, and we've seen it three times in the last two weeks, so that didn't qualify as news to us.
If you didn't catch the tusslin,' Hopkins got up in Wright's face and jawed at him. He wagged a finger in Winky's face and Winky wagged right back at him. Hopkins answered that by palming Winky's face, and shoving him backwards. Wright took umbrage to that move, and leapt at Hopkins as a mellow melee broke out.
Did any part of you wonder if the fussin' and feudin' was a work?
Did you think that maybe Bernard took it upon himself to do a little 11th hour marketing, guerilla style?
If that crossed your mind, my allies in cynicism, you weren't alone.
ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas took the "guerilla marketing" angle a step further, and wonders if Hopkins and Wright acted in concert at the weigh in, and decided to stage a beef to juice the hype flow a day before the bout.
"Call me the old cynical party pooper," Atlas told Friday Night Fights viewers after the Fres Oquendo/Elieser Castillo main event finished up. "I have a funny feeling that it's possible, and I like both these fighters, but it's possible maybe they orchestrated this, because when we watch it, you don't usually let a fighter get into the face without doing something to keep him from getting that close.
"So I was a little suspicious about what I was seeing. Let's face it, going into this fight, a lot of people had their doubts about how exciting a fight it would be, they were talking about both guys being in the twilight of their career, they were talking about both guys being defensive fighters.
"Even though I don't think Winky's really a defensive fighter, but it's a pay per view fight and you got to sell pay per view, what better way to sell something that might not be stimulating then all of a sudden maybe, just maybe to orchestrate a little bit of a fracas," Atlas said.
Play by play man Joe Tessitore played into the theorizing, saying that the promotion has looked more like a business arrangement than a real-deal pairing.
Atlas then dissected the shoving session frame by fame, Zapruder film style.
Re-form the Warren Commission, and let Teddy chair the thing, I think we'll finally get to the bottom of JFK's assassination!
What about it readers, was the weigh in mayhem legit, or pre-planned?
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV