From one side of the ring to the other

By Richard E. Baker on September 6, 2020

The fight still counts as a win even though all Akhmedov did was open a tuna can. (PBC)

I was looking forward to seeing Bytar Akhmedov (8-1-0) in the ring again after his close defeat against Mario Barrios for the WBA Super Lightweight title. Akhmedov outfought Barrios, but went to the canvas twice primarily due to poor balance. Wallowing on the canvas cost him the fight.

 

I expected an interesting fight against Ray Perez, a decent journeyman boxer who generally pretends to fight and will often hang in until his opponent works enough to sweat. Not this bout. Perez (24-12-0) decided to collect his money in the first round. A smart move. Boxers are not supposed to be smart. When boxers get smart they start to think about their health and the best ways to collect a payday without getting hurt. When that happens a day job is in order.

 

Akhmedov appeared to catch Perez with a nice liver shot doubling him over to the right. Brian Kenny, Lennox Lewis, and Joe Goossen were thrilled by the “perfect” shot. Closer examination proved the shot to be a hoax. Akhmedov hit Perez on the end of the elbow, a shot that would not have started his crazy bone laughing. Perez is a professional opponent, although he has beaten occasional decent boxers like Christian Gomez and Roberto Marroquin. His opponent status has gone AWOL. Whether anyone credible will use him in the future is debatable.

 

No one can claim that commentators Lewis and Goossen are slow thinkers. They quickly jumped in to defend the silly punch in a fashion that would have made James Thurber, or Woody Allen, proud. Brian Kenny, who apparently has more protection in his contract, proved the toughest of the three commentators to convince and was not buying the excuses. Not everything in the world, or on television, or in business, or politics, must be a lie. If there are no weapons of mass destruction, there are no weapons of mass destruction. Of course, tell the truth in boxing and one can end up like Teddy Atlas. This joke match is what discredits boxing. Trying to make a farce more than it is does not help boxing. If there needs to be a positive spin on the bout, go to the historical element—the first knockout by tennis elbow.

 

Meanwhile, what about Akhmedov? The fight still counts as a win even though all he did was open a tuna can. Hopefully he will step into the ring soon against someone willing to earn his purse. He wants to fight. He wants to show his skills. Fans want to see what he has.