Were we supposed to take that farce seriously? Were we?
Going by the three-pronged hype machine known as Jim Lampley, Roy Jones Jr., and Max Kellerman, you’d think so. If you’d have hired Flava Flav and given him so much cocaine he thought it was 1991, you wouldn’t have gotten a more dishonest performance from the HBO crew on Saturday night.
Not that I totally buy that their hearts were in it. More like the Messrs. at HBO had a knife to their backs, or photos of them with livestock. Doing illegal things…with livestock.
The GGG/Martirosyan scrap might have been the most ridiculous mismatch since Danny Garcia slapped Rod Salka around the ring like a bored bear with a lame bunny. Martirosyan had not only been out of the ring for two years, he hadn’t won a fight in almost three. And he wasn’t a lot more than pretty good before that. To say nothing of the fact that his first fight at middleweight was against a vaunted knockout artist who dismisses lesser opponents like flies on a windscreen.
Yet, here we were once again, as fight fans, being asked to choke down more televised garbage, while Lampley, Jones, and Kellerman carried on as if not only was this a real fight, but one that might have been in doubt. To be honest, I found it insulting.
I suppose on some level they were just doing their jobs. But aren’t their jobs to supply critical analysis? If so, they made fools of themselves Saturday night. This wasn’t a fight. Hell, it was barely an exhibition. It was as legit as the Harlem Globetrotters vs. The Washington Generals.
If you’re too young to get my reference, just know the Generals played the Globetrotters loads of times and never won.
That’s not to say that Martirosyan didn’t want to win. I’m sure he did. It’s just that what Martirosyan wanted didn’t matter. Not did what fight fans wanted either.
When Vanes landed his one and only legit shot of the fight in the first, you could be excused for thinking something significant just happened. Even though Golovkin looked way more annoyed than hurt. Still, the ringside three wanted us to think some kind of upset was afoot. Which if said upset meant Martirosyan landing a clean punch, I would buy that. Such was the low, subterranean bar set for Martirosyan. But to pretend there was ever really a doubt? That’s just putting lipstick on Jabba the Hut to those who bothered to tune in.
I don’t blame GGG all that much. The fight he signed up for was a major one. At least until Canelo got a cut of some tainted meat. Or whatever his scurrilous excuse was. I get it that Golovkin wanted to keep busy. He wanted to fight. That is admirable. What is less so is the idea that the semi-retired Vanes Martirosyan was anything more than the lamb Clarice tried to save from the slaughter.
Even so, boxing Twitter was lit up when the inevitable knockout came in the second round. People were using exclamation points in their tweets. Which nearly made me physically ill. Must we be such easy marks? Must we?
To quote Denzel Washington in Malcolm X, “You’ve been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Run amok! Led astray!” And you didn’t even put up much of a fight. Not even the level of effort that poor Martirosyan attempted.
I said earlier in this skratch that we boxing fans deserve better than this. I still believe it. I only wish we acted like it. Because until we start rejecting junk fights with marquee names, all we are going to get is more of them.
Shame on HBO. Shame on GGG. But most of all, shame on us if we accept this.