Here’s what I don’t get: HBO takes Alfredo Angulo, a guy who is no better than a tough, willing club fighter, and constructs a clunky narrative around him (even though he’s had an entirely unexceptional life—more the norm for a fighter than anything out of the ordinary), dolls this blue-collar worker up in a stupid dog collar (which totally nullifies the image they’re trying to build for him), affixes a racist stereotype to his promotional interviews (Mexican fighters are all willing to leave their hearts in the ring, apparently), doesn’t take into account the remote possibility that his opponent (a recent beneficiary of similar HBO star-building treatment, but jettisoned when he failed in his first bigtime slot) might actually beat him a non-fixed fight, and then gets him bumped off in his first major exposure fight.
Could anyone get it more wrong? Why can’t the guys at HBO tell when they don’t have a particularly good fighter in front of them? Last night, they featured this poor kid (who’ll now be summarily—and justifiably—discarded) and the athletic but clueless Andre Berto. Neither guy can fight at anywhere close to elite level. And neither ever will. I still can’t get over hearing the announcing team cautioning the audience not to expect Berto, a putative world champion, to be as good as the A-list fighters in the division. Why shouldn’t subscribers expect him to be? And if he isn’t, why use him? It’s not as if he’s an exciting fighter to watch.
Sometimes I think I take too many shots at HBO. But it’s hard for me to figure out how an organization with so much money and so many resources can have such poor instincts when it comes to their boxing development.