Teddy Atlas on Pac-Horn

By Robert Ecksel on July 19, 2017
Teddy Atlas on Pac-Horn
Teddy let his feelings be known and has been criticized for his lack of professionalism.

“Sooner or later, at least some of the people who saw you do whatever you did will start to doubt what they saw…”

In today’s New York Daily News, Teddy Atlas wrote an opinion piece on the recent fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn, which he was calling for ESPN. The result was controversial, with Horn getting the nod on all three judges’ scorecards. In an attempt to quell the furor, the WBO, whose belt Pacquiao had lost, ordered a re-scoring of the fight by five anonymous judges who reached the same conclusion as the judges sitting ringside.

That was bad enough. But Teddy let his feelings be known, something of an Atlas specialty, and as a result has been criticized for his lack of professionalism.

Less in his own defense than in defense of boxing, Teddy penned an editorial to try to put things in perspective. I’m not sure he succeeded, but success is relative, and the show goes on despite what was in the final analysis a questionable decision.

What Atlas wrote, complete with misspellings (which is on the Daily News and not on the fight analyst) is below:

I get the idea that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What I have a problem with is when that opinion is supposed to be controlled and bordered by hard criteria - in other words, when you have a job to do and that job dictates adherence to rules. And it especially concerns me when that job influences people’s lives, such as judging a professional boxing match. There are many examples of different opinions in this sport/profession, with the latest being the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight.

For the sake of time and space, let’s just say in simple terms I thought one guy was throwing a lot and another was landing a lot more cleanly, and if one sticks to the set forth criterium of scoring a boxing match, that would mandate that you score in favor of the person landing more cleanly. Now, if put forward strictly into the arena of public opinion, well, yes, I could see some people’s thoughts that one guy was ‘roughing up’ the other. And I can even understand the natural human instinct or reaction to give ‘extra’ credit, whether consciously or subconsciously, to the guy who was not expected to have a chance.

But as understandable as all of these things are, none - and I mean none - of them belong anywhere near the mind of a professional arbiter of a prize fight. And as far as the argument of some who say, “Well Horn may have lost but it was close,” well, does that in some way lesson the correct outcome? Does it make it less of a Super Bowl win for the New England Patriots if they triumph by one point rather then ten? Would it therefore be okay if somehow the referee scored one of the touchdowns for the Patriots as five points instead of six, causing the other team to win?

I understand the subjective nature of looking at a sporting event. What bothers and scares me is when people start to say, “Well, it was close, and after all, I’ve seen worse decisions in boxing.” Judges who have the responsibility of a fighter’s career in their charge are supposed to be - have to be - better than that. We should be better than that.

And I would hope that when it came to an explanation or settlement of how we saw that fight or any other one - that as people with some capacity, if not responsibility, to think for ourselves would not be satisfied by representatives of the WBO, the very organization that scored this controversial bout - when they tell us, “Don’t worry, we re-scored it and once again we have come up with the same conclusion.”

Perhaps that old-time character I knew through my life who once told a kid I knew that no matter what you get caught doing, never ever admit to it. Sooner or later, at least some of the people who saw you do whatever you did will start to doubt what they saw. I never agreed with what he told that kid, but I do wonder at times like this about just how many other people he may have given that same advice.

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  1. Koolz 05:26pm, 07/20/2017

    I like Teddy!!!

    If you watch this fight with the Australian commentary Horn can do no wrong! No wrong!!!
    Head lock, punch back of the head, follow with a trip and push…

  2. peter 06:29pm, 07/19/2017

    Teddy’s abrasive honesty is, well, abrasive—but it’s also refreshing.

  3. Kis 05:15pm, 07/19/2017

    Now Teddy will probably get into the BWAA, misspellings notwithstanding.

  4. Joe Masterleo 04:15pm, 07/19/2017

    A certain amount of healthy controversy is to be expected in any endeavor involving judges, officials, referees and umpires. Yet the fact remains that there are far too many controversies in far too many critical bouts over judging in professional boxing. Period. I think that’s only healthy if it leads to reform, as such banter without change only creates more heat than light. Atlas is part of that effusive heat, but if u can get past his unruly intensities, curbstone curtness and off-putting wordy overkill, there are more than a few shafts of light in his pugnacious pertinence. Irrespective of how harshly Teddy packages his objections, I do think they come out of a genuine concern, passion and love for the sport, something boxing organizers seem to sorely lack. Yet judging irregularities have prevailed for years, with Pac-Horn merely the latest in a series of what promises to produce monotonously predictable scenarios, again followed by similar post-fight prattle that goes nowhere. I doubt whether the governing bodies of other professional sports would tolerate such to the same frequency and degree, with virtually nothing of substance enacted for change. Among the many changes that I believe are long overdue, is a round-by-round scoreboard visible to boxers and fans alike, giving the contestants an idea where they stand round-by-round with the judging, how the particular judges on that given night are assaying their work.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:16am, 07/19/2017

    Looking at the photo above….fighting Manny is like fighting a dadgummed Honey Badger!

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:55am, 07/19/2017

    Another great write up! Teddy is fun and he sure told off Horn right after the fight, didn’t he? Here’s the thing though ....if it was a crazy, nasty James Butler standing in front of him in similar circumstances I doubt if he would have been so brutally honest!  We all pick our spots in this world ....in fact it’s a very big part of boxing…..picking the right spots….that’s how we make it through!

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