(First of two parts)
I would call it “the greatest train robbery” on boxing fans. That was on June 27, 1988 when Mike Tyson knocked out Michael Spinks in a heavyweight title unification bout in about 91 seconds, with Spinks not putting up a semblance of a fight.
Prior to the fight, there were a lot of boxing analysts and experts who said Spinks had a decent chance to upset Tyson, primarily by decision. And since Tyson was marketed as the “baddest man in the planet” and since I wanted to align myself with the good guys, I wanted Spinks to win badly. So I believed every boxing analyst and expert who said Spinks could outbox and outlast Tyson.
But when fight night came, Tyson literally made minced meat out of Spinks in just one round. It was a terrible disappointment! And I wanted to starch the boxing analysts and experts who took advantage of many of the fans’ gullibility at that time.
Fast-forward today and some boxing analysts and experts are still guilty of making the most improbable predictions, or sound like the promoters themselves. Or both.
It is challenging to become a boxing analyst or expert, especially if one doesn’t understand the sport thoroughly or does not even know its basics, like its four basic punches, styles, stances, and general rules. And it is better if a boxing analyst was former or active fighter.
But most boxing analysts today are not boxers, although I have seen a lot of respectable ones.
So what’s the big deal about being a boxing analyst? Simple—They wield so much power now especially with the Internet, that they can take boxing fans for a ride. Literally.
Now what makes a good boxing analyst? Below are some questions that fans should ask about boxing analysts and experts. A “yes” answer to most of the questions below means a boxing analyst should be better off writing blogs about how to change a flat tire.
1.) Is the boxing analyst very emotional in the way he makes predictions that you would suspect him of being the co-promoter of a fight or a certain fighter?
2.) Does the boxing analyst not use the “numbers” in boxing, which is not only limited to wins and losses, but also to aspects like punches thrown in a round?
3.) Does the boxing analyst not care about a boxer’s health?
4.) Does the boxing analyst sound like a crazed or drugged North Vietnamese Army commander who tells his troops “Attack the enemy because you are all invincible against the bullets that will be thrown at you by the American imperialists!!!” (Get my point?)
5.) Does the boxing analyst discount or denigrate the win of an opponent he did not believe would win against his “chosen one”?
6.) Does the boxing analyst sound very condescending when a fighter loses, especially the one he did not pick to win?
Before I became a boxing analyst for The Times, I was a voracious reader of boxing analysis for high-profiled bouts, and I must admit that I hated it when some boxing analysts gave so unreal predictions, or could never accepted certain truths.
I also agree with The Times Sports Editor Perry Gil Mallari on his view that boxing analysts who are not fighters should not tell boxers what to do in a fight.
“One can make a decent analysis and forecast story by evaluating fight stats and by keenly observing boxing matches, but I have a problem with non-fighter ‘analysts’ telling boxers how to win a match,” he said. I agree.
So how should the fans guard themselves against boxing analysts who are not really boxing analysts?