ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

It was a historic Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center. Manny Pacquiao emerged from retirement to win his 11th world championship.

And ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith called his first professional boxing match -- of his career.

So the NBA analyst was sort of like the CM Punk of boxing announcing tonight. He tried really hard, but he was more like Larry The Cable Guy than Larry Merchant.

Grade: D-

There was the time he was arguing with ringside commentator and former world champion Timothy Bradley about whether Pacquiao was hurt by a Jessie Vargas punch during the fight. Smith insisted Vargas wasn't hurt. Bradley said he was because there were levels of hurt. Smith stopped arguing.

But then, inexplicably, Smith stated heading into Round 7 that Vargas was beating Pacquiao, giving the Filipino only two rounds up until that point. Twitter had Pacquiao throwing a shutout at that point and Bradley also had Pacquiao ahead.

Later, Smith tried to explain himself by saying that he "forgot" to give Pacquiao the extra point for the Vargas knockdown in Round 2. Right.

Smith came across as that guy at the bar who was just kind of throwing random comments out there for a rise. A few times during the fight, Smith turned around to ask Floyd Mayweather Jr. what he thought of the welterweight title tilt. All he got was a shoulder shrug from the retired champ.

Twitter was not kind.

Smith at least had a conversational tone to his approach. He certainly didn't intimidate the viewer with his knowledge of the sport.


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