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This is the archive for April 2007

Peter Manfredo Jr. vs. Joe Calzaghe, or a retrospective on reality TV

Reality shows are a mixed bag as far as sports are concerned. Aside from pure entertainment fare, like “Pros vs. Joes,” there have been two serious sports reality ventures, UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” and Mark Burnett/Sylvester Stallone’s “The Contender,” both of which purported to either launch a new career or resurrect a failed career through the magic of television. Basically, we’re talking “American Idol” with full body waxing and more bloodshed.

Like everything else in life, there are two sorts of people. There are those that do something and sink or swim on their own, and there are those that sign up for reality shows, get lucky, beat up a bunch of no talent scrubs, and have success handed to them for their prowess at television games. While the alumni of “The Ultimate Fighter” have gone on to some level of success, the same thing can’t be said for former Contenders (Sergio Mora aside).

Unfortunately for Peter Manfredo, Jr., Season 1 Champion of “The Contender,” Joe Calzaghe isn’t an also ran club fighter. Joe Calzaghe is a world champion in the 10th year of his title reign. He’s got 20 successful title defenses. And apparently, he’s more than willing to break his hand on the face of a reality show survivor, thereby delaying his chance at a superfight with fellow super middleweight champion Mikkel Kessler.

Calzaghe got a hometown stoppage in the third round, after basically having his way with Manfredo over the first two rounds of the fight. Yes, Manfredo was stopping a lot of the shots thrown at him. Yes, I think the stoppage was premature. No, Manfredo wasn’t hurt, but he wasn’t fighting back, either, and Calzaghe had him pinned in the corner. While I think you could have let the fight run until Calzaghe finally got the knockout that was coming, it’s probably smarter in this day and age not to let someone get battered about the head and torso when they’re clearly outmanned, outgunned, and outclassed. Even with a broken hand, I don’t see how Manfredo could’ve recovered from the beating he was taking in that round, and even one-handed, that fight was Calzaghe’s to lose.

Hopefully, Calzaghe will heal quickly and we can get on with the serious boxing. While I like Manfredo, and while I did kind of root for him to do well, it’s obvious that there’s a wide gulf between a reality TV fighter and the real thing. Guts can only make up for so much, and Rocky lost to Apollo in their first fight, too.