A Boxing Fixture: That One Crazy Scorecard
Congratulations to heavyweight contender Eddie Chambers 35-1 (18 KOs) for the boxing clinic he administered to Alexander Dimitrenko 29-1 (19 KOs) this past weekend in Altona, Hamburg, Germany. Chambers' impressive showing versus Dimitrenko may be just enough to inject the heavyweight division with a needed infusion of excitement. As mentioned here before, outside of theKlitschko brothers, the Eastern bloc heavyweights are not special fighters, just disciplined and focused as they usually exhibit good fundamentals and boxing basics.
In a pre-fight column I suggested that the best scenario for boxing's glamour division would be if Chambers won. The interest in a title bout featuring either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko against another Eastern born heavyweight is minuscule world-wide, as illustrated by HBO's decision not to televise Klitschko-Chagaev last month. Now Eddie can rightfully claim he's the top American heavyweight in the world, and that he's willing to go on the road and fight in hostile territory to prove it.
The hostile territory is something that struck me when I heard the judges' scorecards read. Two of the judges had the fight 117-109 and 116-111 for Chambers, which reflected the fight that unfolded in the ring. Judge Paul Thomas scored it 113-113 which is absurd. The first reaction after hearing how Thomas scored the fight is to go crazy and rip him and accuse him of being incompetent and/or crooked.
Although both may be true, I can't say that's the case here. In watching the fight it's impossible to fathom that anyone who isn't a complete nit-wit could see the fight differently than it was. The Chambers-Dimitrenko bout was not a hard fight to score. Again, if you had your eyes open and were watching it objectively, it's impossible to come away thinking anything other than it was anoverwhelming victory for Chambers.
When all is said and done, I don't buy that judge Paul Thomas is inept and really watched the Chambers-Dimitrenko fight and came away after seeing Chambers completely outbox and fight Dimitrenko along with scoring two knockdowns, (a standing eight count in round seven and dropping him in round ten) that there was no clear winner of the fight, thus turning in a card reflecting that 113-113. If I'm wrong and Paul Thomas really couldn't decide who had the better of it during the 12 rounds fought between Eddie Chambers and Alexander Dimitrenko, then he shouldn't be allowed in any venue to watch another professional fight, let alone score it.
Instead of admonishing Paul Thomas for being an imbecile who hasn't a clue that he doesn't have a clue in regards to scoring a fight, I'll give him a pass for perhaps (subconsciously) playing the game and doing what is the right thing for the boxing establishment business-wise as they see it, and that's keeping Dimitrenko alive as a viable contender for his next fight. Over the past decade we've seen scorecards handed in by boxing judges where two of them reflected what transpired during the fight, along with the one that makes you scratch your head and think to yourself what was he/she watching. It's so common today that you can just about predict it, and it doesn't matter where the fight takes place or if it's a high profile PPV bout or one between two main event fighters on ESPN2.
The bottom line is don't go crazy over it as long as the right fighter, in this case Chambers, wins. Accept the fact that it's going to continue to happen because it's best for business. With the thought being the career of the losing fighter remains intact and makes him easier to promote. WithDimitrenko losing by a majority decision instead of the unanimous decision it should've been, the card handed in by Thomas will be mentioned with the idea behind it being to plant the thought that maybe he didn't lose and is almost as marketable as an undefeated fighter. Therefore it can be suggested that at least in the ring there's a case for him still being unbeaten, which will help sell and promote his next fight. This scenario, as put forth here in ahypothetical, doesn't begin or end with Alexander Dimitrenko nor is it exclusive to bouts held in Germany.
By the time Dimitrenko fights again it shouldn't come as a shock if something will have been released to the press on the order of 'he had an elevated temperature' or something happened behind the scenes that diverted him and hindered his performance the night he fought Eddie Chambers. And even at that one judge wasn't convinced that he lost. A recent example of this was the De LaHoya-Mayweather bout back in 2007. Mayweather clearly won the fight, but the split decision verdict made it easier to sell Oscar's next big fight versus Manny Pacquiao.
The "crazy judge's card" handed in by some judges is just part and parcel of how business is done in professional boxing. So you can frequently expect one of the three judges to submit a card out of line with what transpired in the ring. There is a strong possibility not that he doesn't know what he's watching or doing, a cynic/realist would say, more the case of him knowing exactly what he's doing and wanting to continue to get future work. There exists the chance that Thomas had a really off night of course, but watch in the future for that "crazy card," and think about what I laid out for you.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com