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5 QUESTIONS WITH JIM LAMPLEY

Posted by HG on May 8, 2007

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Hip HopBoxing is dead.. That’s if you listen to the critics. What people are conveniently forgetting is that boxing has been written off a thousand times before and yet it still staggers forward. The fight over the weekend and the untimely death of Diego “Chico” Corrales have people talking boxing for now… Even if it’s for all of the wrong reasons.

 I was lucky enough to catch up with HBO Boxing’s Jim Lampley just before he boarded a plane to New York. Lamps had plenty to say.

HG: There’s been varying opinions on the outcome of the fight..Some people calling it controversial. How did you feel about the decision?

JL:Well I don’t know why there would be any controversy. I thought it was pretty cut and dry. It was a good fight, better than I expected. I give Oscar De La Hoya a ton of credit for being able to threaten Floyd Mayweather and make him look vulnerable at times, but at the end of the day, particularly in the late rounds, I thought Floyd’s precision punching and effective defense won the fight. I think the two scorecards that had Mayweather winning 116-112, 115-113, those are right in the same neighborhood with where I would have seen the ultimate outcome of the fight. That’s what I expected. Floyd Mayweather to win by decision. I think Oscar deserves a ton of credit, he fought better than I would have expected him to be able to do under those circumstances and he made it a real fight. That was the best thing that could have happened for the sport.

HG: Does the fight warrant a rematch?

JL:I think economics may in fact lead to a rematch, that wouldn’t surprise me. What would surprise me is if there was any difference in the outcome. I think that in the case of an experienced, technical fighter like Mayweather, once he’s had a chance to look at an opponent for 12 rounds, he’s probably going to do better against that person the next time around. Consequently, it’s highly unlikely to me that Oscar could do better. I think probably a lot of his fans and followers don’t really realize that. There’s a lot of people that saw this fight that hadn’t been exposed to Mayweather before. Now that people have seen Mayweather perhaps they understand his precise approach to the sport, his risk free style of fighting, it’s not terribly exciting but it let’s him win all of his fights..that’s what he does.

HG:What did you think of Judge Kaczmarek’s decision, 115-113 for De La Hoya?

JL:Kaczmarek’s scorecard is more enthusiastic for Oscar than I could bring myself to be. I think in order to have scored the fight for Oscar you have to give him every conceivable benefit of the doubt, and it just didn’t look to me that he was able to win rounds after he stopped connecting with his jab. The lingering mystery that will affect people’s view of the fight is what happened to De La Hoya’s jab? Why did it go away after the 7th or 8th round? As long as he’s landing his jab he was in the fight with a chance to win, once that stopped he was no longer in the fight with a chance to win.

HG:You made some comments about the MMA, mixed martial arts/UFC after the fight. Would you like to follow up on those comments or offer any other views on mixed martial arts vs. boxing?

JL:NO. Because in retrospect I’m sorry that I brought it up. I think that it sounded to defensive for our sport. We had a good fight in circumstances which created audience demand the likes of which no other combat sport could ever approximate. I felt like that was a good enough statement in and of itself. To be totally honest, I haven’t watched as much mixed martial arts as for instance Max Kellerman who disagreed with me so I defer to his opinion on the subject. I wish that I had just kept my mouth shut and stuck with commenting on boxing as opposed to something that was extraneous at the time.

HG:Finally, boxing lost one of it’s warriors last night.. Diego Corrales. Your final thoughts on Diego.

JL: I loved Chico. If you knew him, if you knew him sweet, sober, prepared to fight, the way I saw him several times during his career, you couldn’t help but love Chico. He was a warm, gregarious, outgoing guy. He had a problem when he drank alcohol. I hate to suspect that alcohol might have had something to do with his ultimate demise. There’s a lesson to be learned there. It’s a dangerous substance, legal or not. I don’t think Chico ever really completely got a handle on that, which is true of a lot of people in our sport. But he was essentially a sweet person, a very out going person. He was as big a boxing fan as any fighter could be. He came to as many fights as he could possibly attend. It was always fun to see him at ringside. He had a tremendously entertaining career and will forever be remembered for having fought in the fight that many of my colleagues regard as the greatest they ever saw. I only saw his first fight with Jose Luis Castillo on television, I was not there live, but that drama was unforgettable. His comeback win in that fight is a monument to courage and we’ll miss him.

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Posted in BOXING, CHICO, DE LA HOYA, DIEGO CORRALES, HG, INTERVIEW, JIM LAMPLEY, LAS VEGAS, MAYWEATHER, MISC., MMA, SPORTS, UFC | 6 Comments »