Poor HBO. Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman started the night off by spending many minutes trying to justify the controversial decision in the Andre SOG Ward over Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev fight. The explanation went this way. Max explained that after reviewing the tapes, he came up with the same score as the judges. They scored it 114-113 for Ward. Max said he had it in favor of Kovalev, but he quickly whitewashed his own opinion by saying, I understand why the judges voted for Ward! Hence, there really wasn’t an explanation, only an excuse. The fact is HBO’s hopes for a classic match-up ended up looking more like an MMA bout with Ward trying to garner points for a “take down”.
When you are done scratching your head about that fight, get ready for another. This past Saturday night HBO hoped they had one a candidate for “fight of the year” (FOTY). What they got was another “no mas.” Everyone alive at the time of the second Leonard vs Duran fight knows “Hands of Stone” quit by saying “no mas” to referee Richard Steele. He had no choice but to call a halt to the festivities. But wait, Duran now claims he never said, “no mas.” He claims he said, “No sigo” which, according to Roberto means, “I’m not going any further.” He blames Howard Cossell for claiming he said, “no mas.” Duran further explains he lost the fight because he got too fat celebrating after his victory over Leonard in the first fight. In other words, he didn’t have enough time to prepare. The truth is he had exactly the same amount of time as Sugar Ray Leonard.
After Nicolas “The Axe” Walters quit after the 7th round against Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, he too attempted to avoid blaming himself. Inexplicably, he blamed his failure on promoters and HBO. According to him, they didn’t get him into the ring often enough in preparation for this big fight against his toughest opponent. As a result, “The Axe” was not sharp. As far as quitting goes, he more or less said that he was getting tagged hard, and it would have been foolish for him to continue taking punishment. Was he injured? No. Was he hurt? No. It was the fear of what might happen that made him quit. The possibility of that happening was too much for him. So, “no mas.” was his way out.
Now it would seem Nicolas Walters, the former undefeated warrior, is no mas. His “0” is gone, and fans have been left in shock. HBO is scrambling to pick up the pieces. Their hopes for a FOTY turned into a mess of mistrust. Their hopes were dashed by a quitter who refused to except the blame. Instead, he pointed the finger of responsibility right back at them. He had the audacity to scold Max, saying something like, “My poor showing is your fault because you didn’t get me into the ring often enough”. In other words he blames his ring rust on them. From this point on HBO might be looking upon him as a Jonah, a bringer of bad luck. It’s two weeks in a row now for the bedeviled HBO. You can bet they don’t want the bad luck to persist.