Sunday, October 7, 2007

Once I Was Blind, Now I Can See

There'll be ample boxing to talk about this week -- Marco Antonio Barrera ending his remarkable career, another must-see fight or two coming up Saturday, how the hell Jameel McCline gave Samuel Peter so much trouble when it took harder-hitting Vladimir Klitschko 12 rounds to hit "The Nigerian Nightmare" with a punch that had him reeling -- but there's something much more unimportant I want to address. I'm skipping over the more meaningful topics in part because I won't see the Barrera-Manny Pacquiao fight until next weekend, assuming they'll replay the $50 main event for free on HBO, and because I didn't catch but a few rounds of Peter-McCline despite my best intentions. The other reason is because I'm feeling like less of an idiot these days about the topic at hand, and I want to express my relief about it: Predictions.

Unless you're Las Vegas or a professional gambler, boxing predictions are more art than science. Ultimately, they matter very little. At most, one's prediction accuracy says a tiny amount about what one knows about the sport. But they're part of the fun of being a fight fan, at least for me.

And when I started up this blog, my prediction accuracy started in the gutter, then rolled around in it for a while. I went 1 for 5 in July, my first month online. That's Alex Rodriguez-in-October-level stuff. My confidence in my understanding of boxing was in shambles. Before I started the blog, when I made predictions in my head, my accuracy was damn good. But had I, like the aforementioned Yankee who kills it in the regular season but vaporizes in the playoffs, choked when it really mattered?

As it turns out, nowadays I'm more like a Yankee more famous for his fall performances, Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. Since August 1, I've gone 6 for 6. Sometimes, I haven't been right about the exact nature of the victory. Take this weekend, when Peter had to gut out a decision against a three-time also-ran in the form of McCline, rather than knocking him out in the middle rounds as I haughtily scoffed that he would. Other times I've been pretty proud that my going against conventional wisdom ended up being such a dashing move. That would be like this weekend again, when, as I predicted, Barrera reportedly made a better showing than in his 2003 battering from the fists of Pacquiao, even though age and career arc both looked to solidly favor a Pac-Man blowout of the Baby-Faced Assassin. But ultimately, I'd rather be wrong about the reason my pick won, as I have sometimes since August, than right about the reason my pick might lose, as I was pretty consistently before then.

Of course, now that I've brought this to the fore, the fates will observe my hubris and make me pay. Anticipating this, I've got a plan to head them off at the pass. I'm going to predict the exact opposite of what I think will happen for the next few weeks, no matter how crazy I look. Trust me, 13-loss, Federico Catubay will KO Vic Darchinyan in one round! It's going to be a fun October, for a lot of reasons.

The "Real" Mr. October

This punk's got nothing on me.


dammrod said...

Wow, what a night that was. I was expecting a Pacquiao blowout and a Sam Peter KO, but their opponents gave them much harder fights then I expected. Peter was reeling in the third round, and if McCline had better stamina then Peter would have probably been knocked out. Boxing continues to surprise me. An over-the-hill has been who lost to Zuri Lawrence almost scored an early round KO of a young rock-chinned boxer who previously survived a 12-round beating from Wladimir Klitschko. If there was anything that impressed me about Peter's performance it was that he was able to bounce back from being hurt and that he used the jab to great effect. Peter claims that he broke his left hand before the fight, and that the knockdowns were slips. I kind of doubt it.

Tim -- said...

In the replays I saw, they sure didn't look like slips. But when I get a chance to review the whole thing, I'll be sure to watch closely.

dammrod said...

I highly doubt the broken hand story also. Peter claimed to have broken it a couple of weeks before the fight. The fight would have been called off if such a serious injury had occurred, it's much more likely that Peter suffered a minor injury to his hand that his handler and himself felt wasn't serious enough to cancel the fight. And I have a really hard time believing that the knockdowns were slips. Unless you're falling headfirst on concrete, slips don't leave you staggering around the ring.