ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas went berserk arguing the future of boxing with Stephen A. Smith tonight after judge Adalaide Byrd once again turned in a bizarre and suspicious 118-110 scorecard in favor of Canelo Álvarez at the end of the bout that was officially judged a split draw.
Atlas, apparently at wit’s end, threw the sport in the trash as corrupt beyond repair, calling tonight’s result a “robbery” while SAS attempted the more pragmatic approach. Here’s an uncorrected transcript of their argument, via closed captioning:
I appreciate his candor and his honesty, but I don’t care what sport you pick, there are always individuals in there who are either corrupt or inept, incompetent or all three, even though I would lump inept and incompetent in the same breath. What I’m trying to say is the acts of one individual or several individuals does not contaminate the entire sport. Teddy atlas, I don’t blame him for feeling the way he feels, he is a treasure to the sport, he has honored this sport for decades. I know when I talk boxing, I want to hear what he has to say. He has counseled me on many occasions, I love the man like my brother and colleague, but I am not going to sit up here and condemn and indicted entire sport of boxing. Tonight it was one judge, her name was adelaide bird who did not show up to work or showed up to work with something clearly wrong with her. She needs to be tested for something because something is wrong if you judge the fight 118-110. But that is one individual, you can eradicate them, make sure they don’t judge the next fight or fight after that and go on from there. Certainly there is money in a rematch. We understand that. You have people sitting next to me in the media section, teddy, that really, really thought it was a draw. I am emphatically disagreed with them. But the fact that it is a draw is not the issue here. The issue here is the 118-110 score. If you had somebody here picking ggg 115-113 and another judge picking him to lose 115-113. I don’t think anybody could sit up there and look at the sport and say, oh, it’s rigged, it’s fixed or anything like that. It’s the one judge that judged it 118-110. Let’s put it in perspective and look at it that way.
Teddy: Again, the sport, I love stephen, the sport is a great sport. It’s the greatest sport of all. It’s the only sport this life, this world can be unfair, ok. Sometimes we make too many excuses, we do and we try to play ourselves as victims and we’re not victims in this beautiful country. We can be anything we want to be, but sometimes even with that, life is unfair. This is a sport. The one sport where on any given night, a kid from anywhere, from dirt floors to where he was from a country that he didn’t have the rights, he didn’t have money, he had nothing but poverty, he didn’t have parents, he didn’t have anything, but he had it in his chest, in his heart to work hard to get in that ring to be ready, to be trained and on one given night he can have his hand raised and be called champion of the world and make life fair, make the world fair, that’s the only sport that can do that. This sport is beautiful, but the administrators of this sport, they stink!
stephen a.: Teddy, my man, I have a dear friend in california, he has a saying, fair is a place where they judge pigs, it does not exist. You have known this for many more years than I have. Just because you have somebody that’s incompetent and just because you have someone that makes it look unfair, let’s not indicted entire sport.
Teddy: Stein, we’re going to be doing this again a month from now, three months from now.
Stephen a.: I love the sport ofboxing too much to do that to them. I’m not going to do that to the sport. This decision by this judge was bogus.
Teddy: The environment, the landscape of this sport is set up to be corrupted. It’s set up. There is no separation of church and state. It’s where the people making money with the people controlling and inistrating the sport, there is no separation, the promoters are allowed to pick judges and who does judge and who does not judge. When they are that close between the people making money and the people administrating the sport, there is a landscape for corruption. You can’t put people togetherlike that, one person —
stephen a.: Teddy — teddy,wherever there is big money, there is corruption, we understand that. That’s not restricted to the sport of boxing. At the end of the day they got in the ring, they fought valiantly for 12 rounds. We have a problem with one judge’s decision. It’s one judge’s decision.
Teddy: There is an oversight board to make sure there is no corruption. There is no oversight board in boxing. There is no commission. There is no national commission, no federal guidelines, nobody looking and aying, ah, can’t do that. You can’t be in charge. Promoter can’t be in charge of who the judges are going to be. No, of course you want these judges. You can’t be in charge. We’re in charge. Year going to oversee and police it. We’re going to make sure there is no corruption. There is nothing, everywhere else in the business there is corruption. In oversight, wall street there is corruption.
Stephen a.: Calm down, hold on, teddy. There is always — yes, you have oversight, even with oversight I could sit here and give you a laundry list of situations in various sports where there was oversight and still corruption. What happened is there is ramifications for those corruptions and that you eliminate it. The fact of the matter is with this judge, you eliminate this person.
Teddy: She will be working again. She will be working again. She will be working again. I’ll make you a bet. I love you. I make you a bet.
Stephen a.: All I’m staying to you is this, that may be true. That doesn’t make the entire sport corrupt. That’s all I’m saying.
Teddy: It makes the process corrupt, the process is vulnerable to be corrupted.
Stephen a.: I’ll tell you this much. I don’t like the outcome. Hold on, teddy. I abhor this decision by the judge. I will tell you this. I saw a great fight tonight. That was a sensational part on ggg and canelo alvarez. Everyone who came here got their money’s worth. The decision was bogus, make no mistake about it. Draws are weak, milk a damn winner, you got me there. 118-110, I have said enough about that judge. She should be exiled from making a bogus decision like that. At the end of the day, what we paid today, what golden boy promotions put together, let’s give credit where credit is due. We got a hell of a fight tonight. Canelo alvarez showed up. I don’t think he won the fight, but he put forth an incredible showing. I am proud and respected his efforts. Anyone other than ggg would have knocked him out. He kept coming. Ggg is slow as a snail couldn’t connect on a right all night long was still accumulating points, got body shots, hit left hooks, a couple of rights even though he missed 90% of them. At the end of the day, it was a hell of fight, no question about it. I’m not going to sit up here and indict a sport of boxing especially with someone like you who I love and cherish dealer being associated with the sport of boxing. I’m not looking at a level of corruption and insidious nature in which you label it, I’m not going to look at it that way. I love this sport. This sport did not cheat me tonight. That referee, that official cheated the hell out of us. No doubt, but this sport did not cheat us. They gave us a hell of a fight.
Teddy: The sport and the fighters are pure. That doesn’t change. They didn’t cheat us. They never cheat us. They always give us the best. It’s the administrators that cheat us. We have been taken to a aplace where we should be satisfied, even though they do the wrong thing — at least it was a good fight. Of course it was a good fight. Of course it was a terrific fight.
Stephen a.: It was a great fight.
Teddy: Of course it was. We should forget about the robbery because it was a good fight. Stephen a.: No, you don’t forget about it. No, you don’t forget about it.
Teddy: That’s what happens.
Stephen a.: Let me ask you a question. I want to go to history, I want to go to history. Hold on —. Listen to me, teddy, listen. When taylor got dropped by chavez and that fight was stopped with two seconds left and we all know he would have won a decision, when we saw whitaker take chavez to school and they called it a draw, were we not disgusted with that decision? We still remember the fight. We still remember the greatness of the fight. Whether it’s oscar, sugar ray, hagler, the list goes on and on. He got robbed and came back and knocked the dude out in the first round. We have seen it happen before. It happenings. That doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate the greatness of the sport. I’m not going to let you do that to me, bro. I love the sport and I love you. I’m not going to let you do that to me. I saw a great night tonight. The judge was garbage. She deserve to be exiled, but the fight didn’t cheat us. We got what we came for, the decision —
teddy: I’m saying that I love the sport. I love the fighters and what they represent. I love what they do. I love what they risk. I love what they put themselves through. I don’t love the administrators of this sport.
Stephen a.: Neither do I. Who loves any administrator!
Teddy: The sport does this happen to on a regular basis? None.
Stephen a.: What other sport do you say people say we love the administrators, what’s wrong with you, teddy? Even in the n.L., nobody loves administrators, nobody.
Teddy: You’re a college graduate and twist it around and be quick on your words. Stop that crap, stop it! Stop it! Then stop it. The administration of the sport that has been worse than boxing. Nobody has a worse track record than boxing. Nobody, nobody. And other sports —
stephen a.: That’s true, that’s true. I’m not arguing that. I’m just saying it doesn’t take away from the greatness of the fight tonight.
Teddy: Something that at the end of the day they try to get it right. They look at it. They correct it. They make sure that it’s to keep the wolf from the door. There is nobody there to keep the bat wolf from the door in boxing. There is nobody policing it. This stuff goes on too often. Too often, stephen. Too often, stephen.
Stephen a.: It’s happened enough, no doubt about that, but the bottom line is we saw a great fight tonight. We have seen a lot of great fights. We go to boxing matches every time thinking that — hopeful that the judges see it the way we do. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t and others times they are absolutely positively egregious and no way to excuse it and those officials should be banned. Outside of it, it is what it is. Fair is a place where they judge pigs, man. We can’t expect fairness all the damn time especially when there is big money in a rematch. You’re right about that. It is what it is.