By Zach Arnold | March 23, 2017
So much for ESPN bothering to advertise their new television deal with Golden Boy.
The network didn’t run any ads for Thursday’s debut card from Fantasy Springs. Nothing on Olympic medalist Marlen Esparza. Zero on undefeated Randy Caballero. Nothing on Jason Quigley or veteran Glen Tapia. Even TruTV did more for Top Rank than ESPN did for Golden Boy.
What we did get was Teddy Atlas being… saucy. The old Teddy Atlas on ESPN used to dump on people and name names. The new ESPN-ified Teddy Atlas (thanks producers?) dumps on people without naming names, especially those working for athletic commissions.
The opening fight featured Marlen Esparza making her professional debut against Rachel Sazoff. On paper, it was designed to be a classic squash match. It was also a fight that should have never been approved by Andy Foster. Matchmakers book squashes all the time. It’s up to the Athletic Commission to say no. Andy Foster rubber stamped this squash just like he approved a nearly 60-year old female fighter versus a 300-pounder.
Teddy Atlas dumped on Golden Boy during the entire fight for booking this one-sided affair. After the fight, ESPN went to an interview spot with Teddy Atlas and Oscar De La Hoya where Atlas proceeded to question DLH on booking squashes because that’s not what fans want to see. It was a dressing down session.
Which brought us to Randy Caballero against Jesus Ruiz. It was more competitive in real time than the bout looked on paper. Teddy Atlas talked about Caballero finding real estate in the ring… and then proceeded to say that Caballero brought his “real estate agent.” It was one of those truly awkward Teddy moments that you used to see on Friday Night Fights.
HBO Boxing photographer Ed Mulholland noticed Teddy’s remark as well:
Well Teddy Atlas has taught me something new tonight apparently boxers take a lot of advice from real estate agents #boxing
— Ed Mulholland (@muls96) March 24, 2017
The main event brought us prospect Jason Quigley against grizzled veteran Glen Tapia. Tapia took a beating early and the fight could have reasonably been stopped. The old Teddy Atlas would have been screaming and shouting. The ESPN producer-ified Teddy Atlas was more gentle in nature even while protesting. The California State Athletic Commission allowed Tapia to continue boxing and Tapia, who took a man-sized beating, proceeded to expose Quigley for needing significant improvement on his defensive skills. But you wouldn’t have known that on the score cards which gave most rounds to Quigley. Carla Caiz (100-90), Max DeLuca (98-92), Zac Young (99-91).
After ring announcer Joe Martinez read the score card, Teddy Atlas questioned whether the judges had enough respect or knowledge of the sport… but didn’t mention the name of the judges. No significant build-up for the next fight. They went right off the air.