Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao in the 6th Round of their 4th fight Saturday night in Las Vegas. The stunning knockout didn't just send Pacquiao crashing to the canvas, it sent the dreams of boxing fans crashing down as the super fight of the millenium, Pacquiao-Mayweather, is all but a distant memory.
Pacquiao's aura of invincibility fading is certainly the headline to come out of the fight as its unknown where the former champion may turn next. But in the wake of the knockout, HBO boxing commentator Jim Lampley made the unfortunate comparison to a recent natural disaster in Pacquiao's native Phillippines.
“The tsunami that hit the Philippines was just replicated by Marquez.”
First of all, it was a typhoon that hit the Phillippines, and not a tsunami. Second of all, yikes. Third of all, comparing something that happens in sports directly to a human tragedy where at least 540 are dead and another 800+ are reported missing is never a good idea. Lampley was forced to quickly apologize in the wake of criticism towards him for making the remark:
“Last night’s comment was in no way intended to belittle or dismiss the grave severity of the typhoon’s effects or the humanity of the victims. We all know the difference between a boxing match and an event of cataclysmic human suffering. To anyone who was discomfited by the metaphorical comparison I offer my sincere and heartfelt apology. No disrespect was in any way intended.”
Obviously Jim Lampley wasn't sitting in his hotel room the night before thinking to himself, "how can I get a shot in at those natural disaster victims in the Phillippines?" (At least I'd hope not.) The reference was just not a smart thing to say while being caught up in the moment of the knockout, especially given the recency of the typhoon and the direct impact on Pacquiao's home country. Even though we all know the difference between a boxing match and an event of cataclysmic human suffering, surely there are better analogies announcers can find than saying the former replicated the latter.