The only thing worse than the Horn-Pacquiao decision was Stephen A. Smith’s commentary. Leading up to the fight, Smith consistently bashed Horn, a 15-0-1 up and coming power puncher who left his job teaching high school to slug it out with some of the best in the world. Sadly, Smith ignored the Rocky tale right in front of him, on his own network, and instead of playing up the engaging plot, decided to bash Horn’s entire history. Rather than play up the fact that Horn went 2-1 in the 2012 London Olympics, rather than mention that he has defeated former champions, he instead called the men he’s beaten nobodies.
Beyond the blatant disrespect that is frowned upon across the martial arts, this was the exact opposite of how a broadcaster should promote a fight. It was silly, short-sighted and just plain ignorant. Not to mention lazy. This could’ve been built as a young powerhouse taking on Manny Pacquiao, the legend. That way, if Manny won, he still looked good. If he lost, it was to youth and power. Respect all around, and they live to fight another day.
Instead, the worst possible outcome came for the storyline hastily built by Smith. Granted, Pac was robbed, but that’s beside the point. Robberies happen all the time. The judge’s scorecards were read, and bedlam ensued. Play up the rematch. Be shocked that the bloodied underdog got the nod. Do anything but constantly bash the fighter who pulled out the win and rallied against the better opponent. Smith’s rants were decent for ratings, perhaps, but it also shined a light on how completely out of his element he is when he’s talking about any combat sport.
So, Boxing Hall of Fame announcer decided to address Smith’s terrible commentary.