Boxing and Figure Skating

Quick, name a sport where the winner is determined by judges instead of by an objective scoring system.  If you said figure skating, you were right.  And if you said boxing, you were also right.

One of the great beauties of boxing is that it’s a one-on-one encounter, and either competitor can end it at any time, leaving absolutely no doubt about who’s the winner.  One of the great flaws of boxing is that if neither competitor is able to end it, the outcome is decided by judges.  Three of tonight’s boxing matches were decided by the judges, and in each case (Quinterio/Farmer, Amouta/Perzynski, Caraway/Rodriguez) there was a substantial contingent of fans and friends who were dissatisfied with the result.  This writer, in all candor, thinks that Farmer, Perzynski, and Rodriguez deserved the wins in those three bouts.

It’s risky business to make sweeping generalizations based on a small sample size, but Tony Palmisano looked like a promising up-and-comer tonight against MMAer BJ Lacy.  Palmisano is big, strong, and fast.  He’s also fit and good looking.  Of course one match doesn’t make a career, but give him a few more fights and Palmisano could become a fan favorite in Minnesota’s paper-thin cruiserweight division.

It was a heartwarming moment when RJ Laase, fresh from his one-round destruction of Jacob Fox, proposed to girlfriend Brittany Koller in the ring, in front of an enthusiastic and supportive crowd.  As you might expect, Laase was walking on air afterwards.  All talk was about desired rematches with Benito Tovar and Rondale Hubbert.  There were legitimate questions asked about the matchmaking between 12-3 Laase and 2-2 Fox, and perhaps those questions deserve to be answered, but for now, it’s easy to just be happy for such a talented and likable young man.

Veshaun Owens, you have been overlooked.  Coming into this bout you were 5-0 with 5 knockouts, but that was against dismal competition.  Tonight you faced a strong and difficult veteran in Romon Barber, and you dominated the match from beginning to premature end.  Is it time to move up to bigger and better things, Mr. Owens?  You made it clear that you think so when you asked for Mohammed Kayongo and Antonio Johnson in the near future.

Joe Amouta is an affable and likable man, and easy to cheer for.  Unfortunately I find myself the same position twice now, with young Amouta.  A year ago, on April 15th 2016, Amouta received an undeserved victory against George Carter Jr, and tonight he was gifted a split draw in a bout that it appeared he had clearly lost.  One onlooker argued earnestly that Amouta was displaying ring generalship and defensive mastery in this bout, when all I saw was a guy sucking wind and running.  I don’t mean to be unnecessarily harsh, and I know boxing is harder than it looks, but I thought that Travis Perzynski had thoroughly tamed Amouta in tonight’s bout.  I was astonished when the result was announced as a draw, and so was a very large and very vocal segment of the crowd.

It’s becoming clear by now that Delorien Caraway is a tremendous athlete with a limited repertoire.  Caraway is really good at loading up, springing lightning-fast attacks, and hurting opponents with limited numbers of unexpected punches.  Why does this work?  Because the punch that does the most damage is the one you didn’t see coming.  What happens, then, when Caraway faces an opponent who is calm, collected, and savvy enough to keep his eyes open and to anticipate the attack?  He’s stymied, that’s what happens.  Tonight Jerome Rodriguez was that calm, collected, and savvy opponent.  For unknown reasons the judges saw things differently, but to these eyes Rodriguez was the clear winner.


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