I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the premise and execution of the Contender series. Pitching together undiscovered gems, gutsy veterans and nearly men tapped into a global love of the underdog and reintroduced many mainstream and casual fans to the bitter reality of boxing. It told stories, and a fighter story is as compelling a reason for following a particular fighter’s fortunes as his in the ring potential.
One such Contender was Alfonso Gomez, the plucky Welterweight, another, the hotly tipped Peter Manfredo who he defeated in the opening show of the first series. I like them all, even the mouthy ‘look at me’ brigade. What I don’t like is their selection for title fights to which they have no qualification but more recently, I detest the revisionism that describes Manfredo’s defeat to Calzaghe as ‘controversial’.
Its putting me off the game American.
In the latest promotional blurb circulated by Golden Boy Promotions, Manfredo’s career highlights are captured and the challenge to Calzaghe is described as a “controversial stoppage”. As a feature fight on the Hatton v Mayweather under card, Manfredo faces Jeff Lacy over 10 rounds, it is the promoter’s job to extenuate the positive in order to substantiate the magnitude of the contest of course. But I think the implication of ‘controversial stoppage’ is misleading and I’m sick of it.
It isn’t to say Manfredo wasn’t unfortunate to be stopped when he was, as he was covering up and Calzaghe wasn’t landing flush but to suggest in some fashion the verdict or outcome of the fight would have been anything other than a prolonged beating is frankly, nonsense.
Manfredo didn’t have the physique, experience or tools to compete. He did have the media and public renown, due to his Contender participation to justify the match from a publicity perspective but I’d respect his promoter more if he called a spade a spade.
It will be intriguing to see of Jeff Lacy further confirms Manfredo’s limitations, or whether Manfredo actually returns the compliment, as both were summarily dispatched by Joe Calzaghe.
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