The funny thing about this notion is that the current interpretation is not what was originally meant. The statement was made to describe the difficulty that challengers often faced when attempting to lift the title from a popular champion. The issue was simply that popular champions tended to attract the attention of the judges and that if a challenger did not do something to dissuade the judges from looking at the champion, the challenger would likely lose a close fight because judges tend to favor the fighter they are watching the most in the scoring. It is the same phenomenon that leads fight fans to believe that their fighter wins most fights. It was never meant to imply that challengers should be held to higher standard to achieve victory in a title fight.
Most sports fans have a rather well developed sense of fair play. Boxing already has a reputation for producing outlandish decisions, fight fixing, and numerous other less than scrupulous shenanigans. So when potential new fans begin to pay attention, what must they be thinking when they hear seasoned fight fans crying foul when a challenger rightfully wins a match? It is not consistent with what they believe and it perpetuates the belief that boxing has yet to overcome its past. It may not be much, but watching for odd little notions such as this one is something that fans can do to help the sport.
June 24, 2008