The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Witter/Alexander, Bradley/Campbell: What the Shit

What the fuck did I just watch? I call shenanigans on this entire card.

Alexander/Witter was just… odd. Don’t get me wrong; Alexander was winning the fight on my card and apparently everyone’s, and he deserves much respect for his victory over a good opponent which was coming regardless of the actual finish. He’s made the leap from prospect to contender. But the show opened with him coming out to Phil Collins surrounded by Don King in some form of denim jacket and Corey Fucking Spinks wearing aviator shades indoors at night, and declined rapidly from there culminating in a baffling end to his fight (setting up an odder end to come). The actual fight between Alexander and Witter was if not a replay of the infamously awful Witter/Judah fight exactly, at least a reasonable facsimile thereof: Witter backed up and herked and jerked and switched his stance at random intervals and did the Thriller dance and threw wacky looping lungepunches, Alexander followed him cautiously and touched him up with the jab and occasionally landed a big shot when he timed him appropriately, the crowed booed and hated it and wanted to die. Then the fight ended after the 8th and Alexander was declared the TKO winner. Why? Well, fuck if I know. Witter apparently quit despite being competitive and arguably being only a few rounds down, and despite saying something in a later interview about an elbow injury (which absolutely no one picked up on at the time) his body language and mannerisms said nothing so much as “I don’t want to be a boxer anymore.” So of course he announced that he wasn’t retiring. OK Player.

I like Junior Witter, he’s a good fighter; but I can’t come up with a single guy I’d like to see him fight now (…maybe Amir Khan? Maybe not.) and losing his last two serious fights to guys considered prospects at the time doesn’t exactly suggest he’s still world class. He’s essentially become a gatekeeper with a questionable heart, but never mind because at this point of the show Jim Gray conducted an interview with Nate Campbell which included this exchange following mention of Bradley’s Campbell’s Soup-based trash talk:

Gray: “Soup is good food, isn’t it?”
Campbell: “It’s very good food!”

Aw yeah, now you know the fight’s on. Well, until it was off, because the fight proper consisted of about 8 minutes of Tim Bradley kicking Nate Campbell’s ass all over the ring, then an ugly headbutt which opened a big cut on Campbell’s eyebrow, then the fight being stopped, then it being declared a third round KO because Campbell couldn’t continue. This was the point where it officially became a clown show. Campbell was absolutely furious (and defensibly so) despite getting humbled in the exchanges, going after anyone and everyone declaring that he’d been done an injustice and that the fight should have been a no decision. And despite the fact that he was likely going to lose anyway he had a point: the replays clearly showed a headbutt, the butt appeared to clearly be the cause of the blood, the blood appeared to clearly be the cause of the stoppage. This wasn’t Witter-esque, where the losing man’s body language told the whole story; Nate seemed to want the fight, he just had a scale model of the Marianas Trench in his eyebrow which was hampering his efforts. At that point the broadcast got really weird: there was a lot of shouting, and some pushing, and the following happened:

– The referee said he had to rule the cut the result of a punch, since the last thing he saw was a punch. The announcers (Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein) quickly ridiculed this by pointing out that after the butt happened Campbell’s gloves were up and no further shots landed on the affected area before blood was visible.

– Security seemed to be trying to start a fight with Campbell, telling him to leave the ring because he was protesting too loudly. He didn’t respond; they backed down. He kept yelling. Fight the power, Nate.

– Nate’s corner went bananas, screaming at anyone and everyone.

– They tried to interview the fighters. Tim Bradley got maybe 4 words out- something about God and thanks- before Campbell LOOMED into the foreground and the camera swung to catch his presence, leaving him as the major figure in the shot and Bradley as just another head sequestered behind Gary Shaw’s bulk. Jim Gray shut down Bradley’s interview “because Nate has to go to the hospital” and turned the attention to the putative loser.

– Campbell cut this awesome Bret-Hart-in-1997 promo about SHOW THE REPLAY and EVERYONE KNOWS, and despite all the ranting managed to give coherent and logical answers to all questions including stating that he didn’t believe Bradley butted him intentionally, but the cut was clearly caused by a butt. He was correct, and it was impossible to dislike this man at this point; it was almost enough to make you forget that he was getting his ass beaten ruthlessly in the fight before the stoppage. Don King did a lot of yelling in the background, looking like the oldest G-Unit hypeman alive. His heart is so obviously not in it anymore.

– Bradley looked shaken but eventually warmed to his task, talking about THIS OLD MAN who SHOWED HIS AGE and was OLDER EVERY ROUND, and how they could do a rematch IN HIS BACKYARD and so forth; not a bad promo once he got into it, very young-punk-fighter-on-the-rise.

– At this point arch shit-stirrer Jim Gray justified his existence by getting Don King and Gary “meatbag” Shaw on screen together and all but demanding that they agree to a rematch, which King signed on to (as he should since he promotes Nate) and Shaw hemmed and hawed about. Fantastic television.

– They cut backstage to Nate wandering the halls and ranting, not on his way to the hospital and refusing medical attention for the moment, and just as Gus Johnson begins the voiceover Nate commences screaming curses and Gus immediately lost his train of thought resulting in uncomfortable dead air. Awesome.

This whole card was 95% pro wrestling, and the 5 missing points are only for these fights having been legit. You couldn’t have drawn this up any better if you were trying to work a rematch off of the main event, and you know what? It worked on me. I saw this fight for essentially free as Showtime is a sunk cost to me, but if you charged $10 for the rematch on PPV with a decent undercard I’d buy it, even though I know the odds are 90% that Tim Bradley wins a rematch going away. Promoting is NOT THAT HARD, and if there’s no rematch out of this everyone involved is throwing away money. Campbell II should be the biggest money for Bradley now if Showtime knows their business and it’s hardly a major risk based on tonight’s three rounds, Campbell probably has few if any other options, and it’s hard to imagine what Showtime can use their non-tournament budget on which will draw more ratings and attention than another of these fights. I demand this happens.

On the undercard, an 18-0 prospect also got KO’d by a 15-17 fighter. Awesome.

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August 2, 2009 - Posted by | Boxing | , , ,

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