ESPN+ stinks, that’s for sure. I ended up watching the fight in my study, on this very same computer upon which now I record my thoughts. I signed up for ESPN+ on my TV, clicked my way through the process, logged in, but nothing. I called a friend (it doesn’t matter which one, they’re all smarter than me) and he tried to find a way out, or rather into the live broadcast, but no. Like Sisyphus we just went back and forth from the ESPN front page and back to the sign up / log in page. Two of my buddies that were there to watch the fight got up and left after a half hour of this.
We called in the big gun. One of our group is a Ph.D.-Level programmer dude. Good mind. Very logical, this one. A half hour later, while we had managed to see a couple different screens, we still saw no action. It was he who suggested that I try to access the broadcast on my computer (in the next room). So I did, and it worked, and we three that remained watched the fight in my study.
ESPN stinks for another reason too. The entire night (we were able to see the undercard on regular ESPN), once we got the thing working, they were building up Tyson Fury‘s claim to the lineal championship with an almost religious fervor. They called him the “one true champion,” and said “there is only one champion.” They explained over and over what the lineal title meant, explaining the “man who beat the man” thing again and again, “starting with John L. Sullivan,” leaving out the gaps or making it sound like there were no gaps.
They also mentioned Fury’s “miraculous comeback” from a three-year hiatus, but failed to mention that during that time, he reneged on contracts to re-fight Klitschko twice. They failed to mention that in so doing, he allowed all his titles to be taken away, one by one. Basically, he quit. He gave up boxing. He relinquished his titles.
They glossed over the fact that his greatest fight in his comeback to date ended up a draw. They played a clip of Fury saying he believed he won that fight as if that settled the question.
Hey, ESPN: I thought you guys were into sports – you know, paid attention and stuff. You don’t obtain a #1 status by fighting to a draw. And you can say the judges ripped him off, but I saw that fight, and in the 12th round, he was lying on his back, unconscious. He should kiss that ref’s rosy-cheeked arse for letting him continue.
And that was a brilliant fight; exciting. Everyone wanted to see a rematch. I thought it was an obvious no-brainer. Tons of money could have been made. But ESPN got to Fury, spun some story about how he could make more money by going a different path, by fighting an undeserving opponent. I imagine some ESPN weasel sidling up to Fury on his way out of the arena, like Slugworth in the Willy Wonka movie. (“Psst spss spss spss spss….”)
It’s farcical. It’s cynical. It’s cruel. It’s the opposite of sporting. What they are trying to do is build a bigger fan base for Fury here in the US, by having us watch him dismantle some poor chap, just like they were trying to do with Andy Ruiz two weeks ago. So that when they do decide to put their man in the ring with a true champion, the cash will spill forth like words from Malignaggi. But this is not making me fonder of the big lad, rather the opposite. I wanted to see a sporting event. What I got was a public execution. Not to mention the headache I got trying to hook my TV into ESPN+.
“But Jerry,” you say, “he was struggling with mental health issues.”
“He couldn’t help failing to make those fights.”
“His struggle against depression and substance abuse is a portrait of bravery.”
I don’t mean to sound cold, but that’s irrelevant.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m glad he took the time off to tend to his health, and I’m glad he’s back and fighting again. He’s very talented and he’s damned fun to watch.
But you can’t make the case that your man is the champ because he’s never lost in the ring, when he twice declined to even get in the ring. If you look at cyberboxing.com, they record the status of the lineal championship as last belonging to Tyson Fury, who vacated / retired. He vacated the title. Cyberboxing still says the title is vacant. If you ask me, it belongs to Ruiz. But that’s me and my silly belief that you become champion by beating a champion, you know, in the ring.
All Fury has done since his three-year layoff is beat up three tomato cans and fight Deontay Wilder to a draw. To call him the “one true champion” . . . well, it stinks.
Sorry to be all pissy on a Monday, but P.U.