ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER CONTROVERSY IN BOXING
Of course, the headline to this piece refers to the WBO super-middleweight title fight on Saturday, in which champion Arthur Abraham retained his title against Liverpool’s Paul Smith, with a unanimous decision. The furore and outcry that followed the announcement of the decision has both amazed and disappointed this writer. I genuinely believe that the vast majority of the negativity that surrounded the “bad” “hometown” decision emanates from the jingoistic, and quite frankly, insulting commentary provided yet again by Sky television’s team of Nick Halling and Jim Watt. Insulting, that is, to genuine boxing devotees and true followers of the sport.
When looked at closely, who, even in the horribly biased Sky team, had Smith actually winning the fight? In the studio, both Nathan Cleverly and Martin Murray had it a draw. Halling, himself, said that Smith needed the last round to take the decision, and admitted that Abraham had taken that round. Only Watt, who had Smith winning by two points, and Johnny Nelson, had Smith ahead at the end. Even Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, said afterwards that he had scored it a draw. Where then has the outrage come from and the demand for a rematch for Smith? Smith and his team would have known beforehand that he would have to win clearly to come away with a victory. Did he do so? Even on the evidence of the Sky team – no, he absolutely did not.