When The Fix Was In and Iron Mike Was At Ringside

You may remember I suggested on Americarnage that the NBA had loaned three off-duty referees to judge the WBO welterweight title fight that ended in a split decision win for Timothy Bradley, Jr. over Manny Pacquiao that even Bradley couldn’t quite believe. Shortly after the show, I was struck by the way Grantland’s Rafe Bartolomew expressed his own disbelief–calling it ‘boxing’s worst robbery at a major fight’ since the Pernell Whittaker-Julio Cesar Chavez ‘draw’ in 1993. That unusual ‘majority draw’ (two judges called it even, the third gave the fight to Sweet Pea, who doesn’t then get a 1-0-2 split decision) was indeed unusual, but it wasn’t even the worse decision of Whittaker’s career.

In Memoriam: John Thomas

‘American spectators are frustrated athletes. In the champion, they see who’d they’d like to be. In the loser, they see what they actually are, and they treat him with scorn.’ John Thomas, who has died aged 71, said that, and though his wasn’t quite a Wide World Of Sports ‘agony of defeat’ moment, any American of my generation will recall exactly the amount of scorn which was heaped on Thomas, whose failings were that he won bronze and silver medals at successive Olympic games, when he was expected to win gold.