Every time a big fight ends in an unexpected manner, the “fix” comes in.
Last Saturday was no exception.
I’ve seen it before. In the face of all evidence to the contrary, blinders come on.
I remember when a friend (I’ll call him Tony) asked me about Manny Pacquiao vs. Erik Morales about seven years ago. Tony couldn’t believe Morales would lose so quickly; that “he must have taken a dive.” I told him I wasn’t shocked at it; the old champion had already begun a decline. I asked him if he had seen Morales fight recently.
Well, no, he said. In fact, Tony had only seen what HBO Boxing’s marketing machine had presented in preparation for the bout.
(Never mind that Morales had already lost convincingly to Pacquiao, and had even lost in the “tune-up” fight for that bout, against Zahir Raheem in 2005.)
Tony wasn’t an unreasonable guy. He was just a guy who just got caught up: in pre-fight hype, an emotional reaction to an unexpected knockout, and an old myth to be found everywhere from the local bar to that great flick Pulp Fiction — that “the fix is in” whenever the fight game goes odd.
To anyone perpetuating this myth, I ask you, like I asked my friend, to look at the facts.
First, Anderson Silva was knocked out. Why? He took his previous shenanigans to a new level. Then he got hit really hard, in the face. Yes. The face. Ever happen to you? It hurts.
Second, well, Anderson Silva got knocked out. If he wanted to throw a fight, wouldn’t he tap to Weidman’s leg lock in round one? Instead he took a concussive blow and there was no faking his reaction to it.
Third, wait for it, yep, Anderson Silva got knocked out. He may be the greatest of all time but anyone can be caught, especially as they age, and Silva at 38 may not quite have the defensive reflexes as the Silva of a few years prior. You know, the one whose highlight reel we were all watching in preparation of this bout.
The finish to Weidman vs. Silva was something no one expected, but that doesn’t mean it was predetermined. The old cliché that truth can be stranger than fiction applies here. Silva/Weidman had a bizarre finish, but it was real. Whereas the WWE, with its upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view on Sunday, is fake. Respect pro wrestlers for the dedication to their craft, enjoy their performances, but don’t mistake them for fighters. Don’t mistake a fighter for a performer, Quentin Tarantino for a promoter, or a casual observer like Tony for an expert analyst.
More than anything else, just enjoy the fights.