By Jason Pribila: On Sunday evening the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out their Oscars for this year’s best in film. On Sunday afternoon I was reflecting on the weekend’s best in boxing, while I was putting away my groceries and wondering how I spent over $100 when all I needed was chicken and shaving crèam. Since the winners were announced just a few hours ago I thought I would hand out my own awards to the best (and worst) of the weekend in the ring.
Best Performance by Boxer in a Leading Role: Lamont Peterson. The weekend’s most important bout took place on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. The main event featured the ring return of Lamont Peterson, who fought in his hometown while defending his junior welterweight title against Kendall Holt. After a slow start, Peterson stepped on the gas and ran over Holt, stopping the former titlist in eight rounds. For his efforts Peterson may again get to defend his title in his hometown against Lucas Matthysse later this spring. That is about as good of a fight that you could make in the junior welterweight division, and I’m sure the budget well exceed that of the ESPN budget.
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Ishe Wins a Title”. The reason why boxing has translated so well to the big screen is because it is a sport that not too many take part in if they have other choices. It has served as a vehicle to steer many men and women away from the gutter and in some cases to the mountaintop. Five years ago Ishe Smith’s career was in neutral and his marriage was over. At his lowest point, he thought about suicide, but thanks to his children and the belief of Floyd Mayweather Jr., he put his energy into making one more run at a title. He won his title on Saturday night by out-pointing Cornelius “K9” Bundrage. The emotion poured out of Smith when his hand was raised, and it inspired the next award.
Best Performance by a Fighter in the Role of a Woman: Let me start off by saying that I have no problem with a man crying. I cry as often when I’m happy as when I’m sad. Songs, movies, seeing an old friend or flame all act as triggers, but there is a line that goes from man being vulnerable to woman with a skinned knee. Smith tried to speak through the tears, but what came out was a voice that made many uncomfortable by the fact he was conducting his interview topless.
Worst Performance by Supporting Actor: Floyd Mayweather Jr. What will go down as one of the worst fight cards in premium cable history was promoted by Mayweather Promotions. However, this award goes to Floyd for his ill-advised role as trainer for J’Leon Love. I have never seen Money May look more uncomfortable in a boxing ring. I could only imagine if Love had faced real adversity. I think it would have resembled the living room scene from “Pulp Fiction”. I would have loved to have seen Floyd scrambling for a little black medical book to close a cut over Love’s eye.
Best Foreign Film: “An American in Liverpool” – American Tony Thompson walked to the ring to face top prospect David Price in enemy territory. Thompson said that if he was unable to beat Price he would retire. Many felt that Thompson would serve as a step-up for Price, but eventually his career would come to an end. What no one saw coming was Thompson dropping and stopping Price with a single shot that landed behind Price’s ear. Thompson is regarded by many as a genuinely nice guy, but I think this victory would have been celebrated more if he didn’t weigh a career high. I believe fellow writer @EricRaskin summed it up best, “Apparently Thompson’s confidence that he could beat this guy without training at all was well placed.”
Best Short Film: “David Price – 2012 Prospect of the Year”: David Price had the size, power, and amateur pedigree to finally challenge the Klitschkos. He had received many year-end awards and a knockout victory over Tony Thompson was the first step toward a potentially huge 2013. Unfortunately questions about Price’s chin were momentarily answered. We don’t have to look back far to see heavyweights suffer shocking upsets before forging Hall of Fame careers. Wladimir and Lennox Lewis immediately come to mind. The bad news for Price is that he will need to be put back together by someone other than Emanuel Steward.
The Barney Fife Award: “Give him one bullet for his shirt pocket and hope he doesn’t hurt anyone” Joe Cortez: The lasting image of “Firm but Fair” looking like a dear in the headlights when Mayweather knocked out Victor Ortiz put a bow on his refereeing career. He has since been added to the Showtime Broadcast team. Cortez is supposed to be called on to interpret the rules of the ring, but giving him a pen and paper to be an official scorer provides unintended comic relief. His score during the Love-Findley bout was several points different than that of Al Bernstein, Steve Farhood, and the 10-point must system. Again, a friend of mine, David Griesman @fightingwords2 summed this up perfectly. “Joe Cortez scored that fight 300-12.”