Monday, June 16, 2014

Provodnikov Loses Split Decision to Dancing Man Chris Altieri

First things first.  Yes, I give underdog and former martial arts competitor Chris Altieri credit for surviving 12 rounds with the Siberian Tiger (aka Siberian Rocky).  I think he showed some heart after being stomped in the first round and I think he danced well.

The funny thing about Altieri's victory is that almost noone, not even Provodnikov, seems very angry about it.  Most of the boxing sites either crow about what a great triumph it was for the 20-0 Altieri  or they point to the score cards showing how one judge had Provodnikov the winner by a wide margin and two judges had Altieri outscoring Provodnikov. 

The best of the articles I read was on Bad Left Hook , where hardcore boxing fans hang out, and where 53 percent thought Provodnikov won compared to 38 percent who gave the fight to Altieri.   Okay, so what am I getting to?

First of all, Altieri was entirely too impressed with himself in comments after the fight, telling Max Kellerman he "told you so."  That's while standing there with his face looking like he'd taken a long fall from a high place and Provodnikov being unmarked.

Secondly, those judges who gave the fight to Altieri had applied the rules of amateur boxing.  Not to disparage amateur boxing, a sport I hold in high regard for a variety of reasons, I have to say that you should not judge professional sports by amateur rules.

Under the rules of amateur boxing, every punch counts, the pitty-pat punches as well as the KO shots, and you get points for anything that looks like aggression even if it's not. 

Ultimately, Provodnikov had this guy dancing around him for most of the fight, and Altieri danced very well, showing dandy angles, and with great kick-boxing style footwork.   I am not against dancing in professional boxing so much as I am against dancing throughout an entire fight. 

Remember long ago when boxing judges understood the dancing rules?  When Oscar De La Hoya danced the last two rounds vs. Felix Trinidad?  The verdict there was that Oscar danced too much, and yet he had danced through only two rounds at best.

Altieri danced so much he should have been at a card with the Lincoln Center Ballet.

And then there was the frustrated Provodnikov, who was making no excuses, saying simply and truthfully that he didn't like to fight people who ran.  This was probably the first time he'd experienced a fight where the other guy danced for 11 rounds. 

And then there was the local New York titles-belong-to-us-because-we-are-stereotyped-in-the-movies-and-talk-funny like we are Brooklynites even though we are from Long Island.   Did this parochial crowd influence the judges?   

I propose a solution--- a rematch in a 10 x 10 ring.  That should give Altieri enough room to dance and has the added benefit of seeing if he can fight. 

Meanwhile, the Russian kid  is the far better fighter.  I like dancing but we don't play dat in boxing.

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