Dan Rafael: Fans are Fools


The sagacious Mr. Rafael has followed up his twitter tirade with an equally contemptuous article, as eloquent as it is.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure glad there aren’t any low-level bloggers with enough free time to read my crappy posts and pick apart my grammar and style and expose logical fallacies that only they care about, but this is too much for me.

Let’s start with the first two lines: “Once again, boxing fans are being played for fools. It happens all the time, and we’re suckers for putting up with it.”  Speak for yourself, Dan.  I don’t deny that you know boxing.  I’m not going to go Mayweather-Merchant here, but as an informed and faithful boxing fan for several years, I totally disagree with almost everything you go on to say here.

“Six years ago the masses wanted Floyd Mayweather against Manny Pacquiao…When they finally did meet after negotiations that were absolutely ridiculous to watch unfold, everything about it stunk…the promotion, the greed…And, of course, the fight.”  Hey, Mayweather personifies greed, no argument here.  But who can blame someone who’s in a position to get paid hundreds of millions of dollars for a 47 minute performance for making sure he gets every cent?  As for the promotion, I don’t even know what that means.  It was boring?  Over the top?  Unrepresentative?  Whatever the case, I probably agree, but it’s a moot point.  And his last point, about the fight, how ’bout of course NOT Dan.  Of course it wasn’t a bad fight!  It was the two best fighters in boxing fighting at their best (give or take a couple dozen punches) and delivering twelve rounds of hard work.  There was no stoppage for an accidental headbutt, nobody pulled a Golota and started throwing uppercuts to the groin, nobody bit anybody’s ear repeatedly.  That’s a good fight to a boxing fan (we’ll get to casual sports spectators later).

A fair and accurate way to finish the sentence would have been “of course the fight…was what it was.”  You can put Guillermo Rigondeaux in there and pay him as many millions as you want, get as many viewers as you want, and tell him it’s the most historic event in sports, but he’s still gonna fight a safe, reserved fight.  Mayweather hadn’t had a real knockout in five years (Sharmba Mitchell), even when the fight hype was just beginning.  Hatton basically ran into his punches until he couldn’t take it anymore, Ortiz just kind of gave up the way he does, and I can’t think of any others.  As for Pacquiao, anybody who watches boxing can tell you there was no way he would get the KO because there was no way Floyd would let him land a flush shot.  Those facts together mean we were never going to see an incarnation of Bowe-Holyfield.

Rafael goes on to bemoan the missed opportunity for the sport, as if that was what either Mayweather or Pacquiao were fighting for, from the perspective of people who don’t watch boxing: “…millions of casual sports fans who tuned in hoping to see a legendary fight flipped off their TVs in disgust.”  Well, that’s to be expected.  I’m sure if I were a casual sports fan who walked in on the Canelo-Khan broadcast, I would have opted for Words with Friends on my phone rather than giving the fight my full attention, even though it ended in the only way a casual sports fan would find interesting.  Dan, of all people, should know that.

In perhaps the most puzzling of his statements, Rafael suggests that he’s unsure whether we can undo past history: “It sure doesn’t look as if we will get it when we want it, which was really earlier this month.”  No, it really doesn’t look like that fight will have happened earlier this month in some alternate reality.  It doesn’t look that way at all, Dan.  You’re spot on, now.

Oh, and by the way, what we want “when we want it?”  When does that ever happen to anybody?  Grow up, Dan, this is life.

Apparently a favorite from his previous entries, Rafael included a line we’ve seen before, “So GGG crushed Dominic Wade on April 23, and two weeks later Alvarez blasted Amir Khan,” but again, the statement is misleading to the point of not making sense.  Yes, Alvarez “blasted” Khan, and Golovkin decimated Wade.  But wait, Khan is an internationally recognized welterweight with a solid record who once courted both Mayweather AND Pacquiao for potential matches that fans would have wanted to see.  Who the fuck is Dominic Wade?  I’ll tell you who: he’s an 18-1 nobody who’s best win was over Sam Soliman.  If anybody should be criticized for their competition, it’s sure not Alvarez, who I’m sure would have been happy to beat Cotto at 154, but when given the chance to take a belt, why not?

But that’s the whole controversy: Canelo has a belt so he has to defend it against whoever we say!  Not exactly.

Further on in the madness: “Once again boxing breaks our hearts because nobody can seem to do the right thing.”  Talk about a drama queen.  Rafael is the only one in the discussion whose job it is to fairly describe the state of boxing, so if anyone’s not doing the right thing, it’s him.  Since when is negotiating a fight a moral issue anyway?

He concludes by referencing what he sees as the inevitable alternative to the fight he feels the sport owes him.  Alvarez against possibly the second best middleweight, and a hell of a puncher who would make a fantastic action-packed match, Lemieux.  I hope he’s right.

His advice to fans is to “teach them all a lesson,” and “just say no,” as if it were a protest against pharmaceutical companies.  You’re asking boxing fans to avoid watching one of the best possible matches that could be made?  Get some perspective for christ’s sake.  Real fans watch for the duds, they watch for the blowouts, they watch for the wars, and they also watch for the chess matches.  I feel sorry for those who can’t appreciate them all, in the sense that they’re missing out on something I enjoy, but don’t ask me to miss out just because you’ve lost interest in anything other than knockout highlight reels.

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