ESPN ‘First Take’ host Stephen A. Smith was spouting off comments on Sportscenter’s 1 hour boxing special as fast as Manny Pacquiao rabbit punches cornered opponents.
Boxing analyst Joe Tessitore, along with former middle and lightweight champions Roy Jones, Jr. and Bernard Hopkins, were discussing the burden Pacquiao has fighting for the entire Philippine nation.
Jones stated a boxer always feels a burden when he takes the ring.
“You never have too much pressure,” Jones stated. “We have a family to fight for. A father, spouses, kids… we put our lives on the line.”
Hopkins stated that Pacquiao might have an added burden by having the nation counting on him, however, that same burden may also work as added motivation.
“He wants to be able to look at his country and say I delivered (the victory) to ya’ll,” Hopkins said. “That’s motivation to make him fight harder.”
At this point, Stephen A. Smith jumped in and dismissed the notions of Jones and Hopkins.
“I respectively disagree with the two champions,” Smith stated. “The emphasis has elevated because of how he (Pacquiao) feels about Mayweather.”
Pacquiao had been interviewed by Smith recently on ‘First Take.’
“He (Pacquiao) told me God will deliver Mayweather into his hands,” Smith said with a chuckle. “Then he sat there and talked about how he was gonna convert Mayweather from his ways. That’s the kinda stuff he’s saying.”
Tessitore, who was hosting the boxing special, scolded Smith for his reaction.
“You can’t mock his faith if that’s what he believes,” Tessitore said. “This is a former sinner who found faith. You can’t go on national TV and mock the guy for his belief system.”
Smith quickly retorted, “I’m not mocking him. He is the one bringing attention to it and it adds pressure which may not work.”
Amen to Tessitore for calling out Smith… long overdue.