Sunday, April 12, 2015

Garcia's Decision Win Against Lamont Peterson Suggests Boxing Will Remain A Marginalized Sport

"He just didn't do enough in those early rounds."

Variations of that statement have been floating around the internet since Lamont Peterson lost a close decision on Saturday to Danny Garcia, a man he had clearly beaten up. One look at both fighter's faces after the final bell told viewers all they needed to know. Peterson's face looked to be blemish free, Garcia's face looked like raw sausage.

Yet Garcia got the victory - and the majority of boxing's fans who have subsequently taken to the internet seem to be supporting the judge's decision. For Peterson spent the first portion of the bout avoiding and flustering Garcia. While Garcia was clearly having a hard time of it, the Philadelphia native was indeed moving forward and landing the occasional shot.

The fact that Peterson went on to dominate, and to literally rearrange Garcia's appearance, proved to be irrelevant, both to the judges and to the seeming majority of boxing's closest followers. Yet it's hard to imagine the casual viewer who happened upon Saturday's NBC broadcast sharing in those sentiments - a least the casual viewer who saw the entire bout.

For boxing matches are still called "fights"...and there's no doubt Peterson, not Garcia, was the better fighter on Saturday. Peterson beat Garcia up, plain and simple. To the average viewer, who NBC and powerful boxing adviser Al Haymon are hoping to woo with these live broadcasts, the niceties of professional scoring probably don't count for much.

And that's not good for boxing. The sport's power players have been trying to bring the sweet science back from the margins for years. And now that Floyd Mayweather is facing Manny Pacquiao in a May superfight, it appears there may be a real chance for boxing to return to the mainstream American consciousness.

It might not stay there for long, however, if Saturday's decision is any indication of what the general public has in store for it. Most viewers likely won't understand how a battered Garcia could get the nod over someone like the dominant Peterson - and most might not stay interested in the sport long enough to find out.

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