To Answer Your Questions…
1. WHAT DID I THINK OF THE CONTROVERSIAL DECISION IN THE LAMONT PETERSON-AMIR KHAN TITLE FIGHT?
Like many of you, I thought D.C. native Peterson dined on some home cooking served up by referee Joseph Cooper.
While the letter of the boxing law says Cooper had the authority to penalize Khan two points for repeatedly pushing Peterson, common sense says you give the combatants in a fast-paced, high stakes title fight some leeway.
It’s like the time a Michigan state trooper pulled my dad over and asked if he knew the speed limit.
“Fifty five, isn’t it?”
“Yep,” the trooper said. “And do you know how fast you were going?”
“FIFTY. NINE. MILES. PER HOUR!”
Cooper was that cop. Impressive knowledge of the rules but clueless as to how they apply to the real world.
But I have a tough time mustering indignation on Khan’s behalf, mainly because Peterson suffered myriad other fouls throughout the fight, and because he too lost a point after a phantom knockdown in the first round. So yes, Khan lost two points but he also gained one to which he had a tenuous claim.
Now did that point make the difference between winning and losing?
But it is it something worth protesting?
Factor out deductions and phantom knockdowns and that fight still was headed to a decision with the slimmest of margins. No matter whom the judges favored the loser was going home salty and thirsty for a rematch. Last month it was Juan Manuel Marquez. This month it’s Amir Khan.
This is boxing.
These things happen.
2. CAN ANYBODY BEAT JON JONES?
There’s your answer.
Heading into his UFC 140 showdown with Lyoto Machida we’d hardly seen the 24-year-old Jones sweat, let alone struggle, so for everything we we knew about him we still didn’t know how he’d react when facing a fighter not mesmerized by his speed, or how he’d handle getting clipped on the chin.
Just fine on both fronts, it turns out.
It took him exactly one round to figure out Machida, who won the first by retreating smartly, potshotting Jones with straight lefts and avoiding the champ’s spectacular arsenal of spinning back kicks.
Machida’s game plan worked perfectly until suddenly it didn’t; until Jones dumped him on the mat, gashed his forehead with an elbow strike, then choked him out when the fighters returned to the feet.
If you didn’t see the bout, just picture Jon Jones as Bruce Lee, Lyoto Machida as Chuck Norris and Big John McCarthy as the cat, because this is pretty much how it went.
Granted, Machida didn’t exactly enter Saturday’s match on a hot streak, unless you consider a win over 47-year-old Randy Couture momentum.
But he entered the bout ripped and equipped with a game plan and still couldn’t subdue Jones. He could barely slow the champion down.
Instead he felt first hand what most of us are comfortable observing from a distance: That Jones’ creativity, quickness, limb length and evolving skill set make him the most dangerous fighter on the planet.
Given that the survivor of the Jan. 28 showdown between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis is guaranteed a shot at Jones, that bout might be the first title eliminator in history that neither man wants to win.
Not before we’re finished the first round of “Ryan Braun is so juiced” jokes.
And not before we figure out a way to make this about Jose Bautista.
And certainly not before we confront the reality that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, organization that votes on MLB’s postseason awards, has never before stripped an MVP’s trophy over performance-enhancing drug use, proven or otherwise.
Of course, it’s an impossible precedent to set when the people most likely to have juiced their way to MVPs, Silver Sluggers and Cy Youngs did it before MLB bothered to institute rules against steroid use. Hate Barry Bonds all you want, but you can’t strip his four steroid-era MVP awards because even if he was taking something stronger than flaxseed oil, he still wasn’t cheating.
Braun, however, presents a chance to set a new precedent since he’s the first player in the drug testing era to flunk a doping exam in an award-winning season. If news of Braun’s positive test had surfaced before the MVP vote I can’t think of a single writer outside Milwaukee who would have chosen him. And now that BBWAA members have more information I suspect many of them have want a do-over, the same way Kim Kardashian did once she learned Kris Humphries was in fact not Blake Griffin.
She felt duped and so did we.
If BBWAA voters feel any differently it’s precedent indeed.
– Follow Morgan Campbell on Twitter