Popular boxing trainer and TV commentator Teddy Atlas believes that Olympic boxing is suffering from corruption, and that NBC is knowingly hiding the sport and its questionable decisions from the viewers.
Speaking yesterday on SI Now, Atlas remarked that “NBC has done a really good job of hiding the boxing. Surf through the channels, they don’t show it, they’re hiding it. So, if that’s the answer, shame on them.”
Atlas referenced what he feels was a fixed 2012 Olympics bout between an Azerbaijani and Japanese boxer. He, along with play-by-play man Bob Papa, called the fight for NBC, in which Azerbaijani boxer was knocked down five times by Japanese boxer. Surprisingly, the Azerbaijani boxer was given the win, a decision that would later be overturned.
Before the games, Azerbaijan was rumored to have paid AIBA, the organization that runs Olympic boxing, $10 million for two gold medals.
“Look, I’ve been in boxing all my life, 40 years. I’ve never seen an organization this corrupt,” Atlas said about AIBA. “It’s absurd.”
Atlas is no stranger to calling out the sport in public. He referred to boxing as “a corrupt sport” during an appearance on SportsCenter back in 2012, making the statement after Timothy Bradley was awarded a split-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao. He is now going after a network, specifically NBC and its coverage of the competition.
It appears as though Atlas won’t be calling Olympic boxing for NBC anytime soon, nor will he be vacationing in Azerbaijan.
*Update: According to a New York Times report from Wednesday aftenoon, several referees and judges have been removed from the Olympic boxing competition after officials reviewed their decisions, fueling suspicion of dubious results in some bouts at the Rio Games.
A spokeman for the international federation that governs amateur boxing (AIBA) said that the names of the referees and judges dismissed and the bouts that were de-legitimized would not be released because he did not want to “besmirch their families.”
AIBA said in a statement that the committee that reviews officiating had looked at all 239 bouts at the Rio Games through Tuesday and had “determined that less than a handful of the decisions were not at the level expected.”
Perhaps Atlas was right!