The State Of The Game

By Jeff Young


The State Of The Game

Terry Smith angry with Chris Byrd

Interesting thing about living in the boxing hotbed of Arkansas, you never know what news is going to change from day to day. I mean we do have the universally recognized undisputed middleweight champion of the world. I guess like the weather here in Arkansas, if you do not like it wait, boxing news goes the same way. Jermain is fighting Sergio Mora, no he is not fight is canceled, well at least Terry Smith is finally getting an opportunity to move into the heavyweight title picture. Then my phone rang.
"Hey Jeff, this is Terry." Now at first I was a little surprised as I thought Terry was in camp getting ready for his fight with Chris Byrd, an opportunity Smith thought was already a part of the ESPN Wednesday Night Fights line-up.

"How are things going Terry?" I knew something was up because I had just talked with Smith a couple of weeks ago.

"Man, that punk pulled out of the fight. Chris Byrd said I ran too much," Smith stated. "You run too much, has he not seen you fight," I replied. "I have only seen you run forward."

"I know, I mean of all the people to say somebody runs," stated Smith. "You know this was the fight I was looking for. This fight was going to be my stepping stone to the next level. Why did they offer me the fight if they were going to pull this. I did not seek out Chris Byrd, they called me and I said yes. I go to camp and I still have not heard anything about a contract and then we hear Byrd wants to not go through with the fight. I called Tony Holden and he had not got a contract and then we find out Byrd does not want the fight and says I run too much. Even Ozell [Nelson, Smith's trainer] wanted to know which Terry Smith they had been watching.

"ESPN wanted the fight because they say I am exciting and that when I fight the ratings are good. That makes me feel good. I mean I admit when I first heard about the Byrd fight I was a little nervous, but I had a game plan that I was working on. Then he says I run. He is the one running it seems," complained Smith, who was looking forward to fighting a heavyweight who, like himself, is close to cruiserweight. "Look at my fights I had on TV, Calvin Brock I took on short noticed and fought to the end, I did not have anything left and I was competitive in the fight. Fernely Feliz was boring because he ran, but I still tried to make a fight of it. Julius Long was non-stop action. We both fought it out in there and the same thing with me a Jameel McCline. Him pulling this tells me something. It does a lot for my confidence, because I know that a former world champion is not willing to fight me... if he has a change of heart I am waiting."

With that we stopped talking about this misfortune, but at the same time you have to feel for Smith. He was set to make that next step. One where he promised not to fold like Ray Austin, and instead of finally getting an opportunity, it is ripped away from him. Well unfortunately for Smith, that is how it goes in boxing. Hey who knows, maybe Sutlan Ibragimov would like to relive his old sparring session with Smith. I here it was quite the knockout.

Papa in, Charles Out, Merchant maybe

What is HBO trying to do? I understand Fran Charles. I like Fran, and I also really did not mind his commentating, but I do like Bob Papa and for boxing I like Papa better. But is HBO really considering letting Larry Merchant go? What is it, does he not kiss Lampley's ass enough. I hope HBO lets him go and I hope he goes to Showtime. Albert, Merchant, and Bernstein. That has trouble for HBO written all over it.

So go ahead HBO, keep firing known guys and putting money into traveling to Germany to show two rounds of junk. Keep allowing world champions to face no-hopers. Keep allowing the "open-scoring system" to be tried on your air. You don't see that on Showtime.


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