06 October 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
It is seldom that irish-boxing.com feels compelled to carry editorials. We are after all, a source of boxing news and not of opinion and conjecture.
However, over the past week or so I have felt compelled to respond to the dozens of members of the public who have told me, with certainty, that Bernard Dunne is/was akin to rubbish.
It seems the tabloid trait of building people up to knock them down is alive and well among the Irish public.
It is with a great sense of frustration that I, and the vast majority of boxing fans on this island, endure the incisive and unquestionable analysis of the universal expert. The man who one week gives you his tips for Cheltenham, the next discusses the tactics of the Ashes or the Tour de France. Over the past number of weeks his pearls of wisdom have been directed at boxing.
Before I begin my tirade, I must point out that have nothing against the casual sports fan. I am one myself. I enjoy the spectacle of GAA, soccer, rugby and the Olympic sports without being an expert on any. I do not, however, attempt to cover up my ignorance by regurgitating something I have picked up from someone who appears to know what they are talking about.
Unfortunately, empty vessels make most noise, and as a result of the past weeks analysis, one could be forgiven for believing that Bernard Dunne was a no-hoper who merely got lucky in a few fights against over rated opposition.
Dont get me wrong, I have at no stage of his career compared Bernard to Floyd Mayweather. His flaws have been there to see from the moment Yuri Voronin scrambled his senses at the National Stadium in 2005.
Despite this, he has proven himself as a world class performer. Nobody wins and defends a European title without being a little bit special. Even fewer take on and beat one of the best in the World.
Whilst being one of the best in the world, Bernard Dunne is not, and has never been THE best in the world. For some, it appears, this means he should be ridiculed.
To put this in language that the universal expert will understand, Manchester United are a world class team, but on the evidence of last years European Cup final, they are not the best team in the world. Does that make them rubbish? Should they give up?
Yet, time and time again we hear that a boxer is worthless simply because he is not the one in a million who goes through his career unbeaten, having outclassed the very best along the way.
The boxing industry has of course played a part in developing this mindset. There is an unhealthy obsession with protecting unbeaten records, talking down the ability and achievements of rival boxers and the negative effect of the proliferation of titles (Dunnes own position as WBA champion would take more than the enigma machine to decode) which have allowed some distinctly limited proponents to call themselves Champ.
It is therefore little wonder that Joe Public is somewhat ignorant when it comes to understanding just how good, or bad, a pugilist is.
In a nutshell, Bernard Dunne is an excellent boxer one of the best we have ever produced. He has achieved virtually all there is to achieve in his sport and he has done so without ever drawing scandal to himself, his family or his sport. He has never blamed anyone else for his mistakes or shortfalls, rather putting himself in the firing line to be the best.
Sadly knockout defeat at the hands of a fighter the calibre of Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and ridicule in its aftermath is an intrinsic risk of such ambition.