Actor Mickey Rourke's return to boxing last week was successful, if the only standard by which success is judged is by having one's hand raised.
The 62-year-old actor, most famous for his Academy Award-nominated role in "The Wrestler," came out "victorious" in the exhibition match with Eliott Seymour Friday in Moscow, winning by second-round stoppage. It was a joke of a fight and an affront to the sport. The men moved in slow motion and showed no skill whatsoever.
Rourke has an excuse, given his age and that it was 20 years since he last had a bout. He fought to a 1994 draw against Sean Gibbons, now a popular manager and matchmaker in boxing. The 29-year-old Seymour showed little talent and less effort and was counted out after twice being knocked down by body shots.
Promoter Arthur Pellulo should be ashamed for being a part of that farce.
But the London Daily Mail, in an exclusive report, says the fight was fixed. The Mail's accuracy on its exclusives is somewhere less than the weekend weather guy's in Dubuque, but that hasn't stopped it in the past from salacious headlines. The Mail "reported" last year that former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis would end a 10-year retirement for $100 million to fight Vitali Klitschko. Of course, both sides denied it and it never occurred.
That, though, was the Mail's bright and shining moment compared to its "exclusive" on the Rourke fight.
This time, the Mail quotes a "source close to the family" as well as "a gym source," that Seymour was asked by unidentified associates of Rourke to intentionally lose. It referred to Seymour as a "homeless drifter" and quoted a family member that it never identified discussing at length a theory that Seymour threw the bout.
Seymour is 1-9 as a professional boxer and has lost eight fights in a row. He most recently fought professional on Oct. 16 in Costa Mesa, Calif., when he lost a decision to Taif Harris.
Rourke is close friends with legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach and trains at Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif. The so-called family member told the Mail that Seymour trained at Wild Card, as well.
It was clearly a fixed fight. The whole bouncing off the ropes, hands down, punches were not landing and they were intentionally hitting each other’s gloves.
There are few facts presented in the story. It's more a string of anonymous quotes from the unidentified relative and an alleged source at the gym where Rourke trained.
The story doesn't indicate whether any attempt was made to speak with Seymour, Rourke, Pellulo or Roach, despite the serious allegations. It did quote a "gym source," as well as the manager of a Starbucks where Seymour supposedly hang out before the fight. It said it had reached out to Rourke's manager, but did not indicate if it had received a response.
The Starbucks' manager's contribution was to confirm that Seymour often showed up at his establishment at 5 a.m., which made him suspect Seymour is homeless.
It also quoted Seymour's mother, but did not refer to her by her full name. It only referred to her as "Mrs. Seymour." She expressed concern about her son and said they were estranged because of differences over his boxing career, but she presented no facts to support the story's headline that the fix was in.
The bout was beyond awful and neither man had much ability or was in condition for a real fight. Simply by being a part of it, Pellulo's reputation is deservedly going to take a massive hit. It was bad enough that Pellulo allowed well-past-his-prime Jose Luis Castillo fight in the main event against Ruslan Provodnikov, but it showed terrible judgment to be a party to something like the Rourke-Seymour debacle.
What's clear is that it wasn't much of a fight and neither guy tried hard. Why an exhibition bout featuring a 62-year-old actor would be fixed is beyond me, but perhaps it was. It seems unlikely, but not impossible given the horrible nature of the fight.
The Mail, though, simply offered nothing in the way of proof for its allegations.