So, here we are 2 days removed from one of the most anticipated fights of the year. It has truly been a privilege to be a boxing fan for the last few weeks. Yet, we’re still not done with “Super September” (as trademarked by Joe Allegre) and there are still solid, significant fights scheduled for the remainder of the year. Before we move on, let’s recap the last two weeks and what they mean.
- State of the Ward: Andre Ward did what many accused him of being incapable of doing and that’s coming up with a big time performance in a big time fight. Since the Super 6 tournament began and eventually concluded, the knock on Ward was that his style left nothing to the imagination. Although Ward possesses some high level boxing talent he lacks the necessity for desperate exchanges which in turn translates into one-sided affairs without drama. However, in the Dawson fight we learned that Ward is still growing into the fighter we will remember him for. Ward will be boxing’s most prominent fighter in the years to come; I have little doubt about that after his performance against Dawson.
- Knees don’t come free: John Molina learned that not everyone will get the benefit of the doubt. In his fight with DeMarco, Molina was hurt but to what extent we can’t be sure. Although Molina should have taken a knee in the fight, the ref should have given him the 8 count anyway. That said, only the fans were robbed of anything — a potential solid scrap — and the outcome would’ve probably been the same at some point in the fight. As it stands now, DeMarco is the only reason for Broner to be in the lightweight division.
- All that glitters is not gold: So we’re 1 fight into the new Marcos Maidana under the Robert Garcia regime. What have we learned? We have learned nothing more important than what we already knew. Maidana jabbed, he moved, he did things to suggest he’s coming along, but what was more important than all of that was the fact that at the core of things he is still Maidana. Last time we saw Maidana he was on the bad side of a 12 round shutout against Devon Alexander and it wasn’t clear what dynamic would transfer with his move to 147. While I highly doubt we’ll ever see Maidana atop the welterweight division, rests assure he will always be a relevant fighter due to his ability to match well with different styles.
- Maravilla is Spanish for Maravilla: The most emphatic lesson learned over the past couple of weekends has to be that Sergio Martinez is everything we want him to be, but nothing we’ll ever need him to be. Martinez hyped the fight, trained hard, performed on fight night and maintained heart in his moment of despair. “Maravilla” outworked, out moved, and out boxed the otherwise helpless Chavez in a fight that wasn’t nearly as competitive as most assumed. And even though it wasn’t competitive it was still an entertaining fight with an extraordinary ending.The beauty of boxing is that even in a one-sided affair like the one between Martinez and Chavez, the drama is never all that far from the bright lights of stage. You’ll never see too much drama in a football game with a score of 42-7 and 3 minutes left in the 4th. However, in the “theatre of the unexpected” you can never be sure because as Chavez Jr. himself said in the lead up to the fight, logic doesn’t exists in boxing. Aside from the 12th round heroics of Chavez Jr., Martinez should be noted for maintaining a certain level of valor. At a point where Martinez could have held on for dear life and escaped with an all but guaranteed decision, he got up and fought. Martinez is much like the Dark Knight because he is the hero we deserve, but maybe not the one we need right now. By that I mean there are few “big” fights on the horizon. Martinez seems too small for Ward, but too big for Mayweather/Cotto. What we learned this past weekend is that regardless of his commercial appeal Martinez is what big time fighters are made of, and for that we should always pay attention regardless of the appeal of his “B-side” opponent.
- The bravado of a fighter named Chavez: It seems like those who saw the Martinez-Chavez fight are either taking too much or too little away from the fight. Some say that the 12th round alone warrants a rematch, others submit that Chavez’s performance was so weak that he deserves little to no credit. Well, both philosophies are wrong. While I believe that the 12th round of that fight will go down as one of the best endings to a fight of all time — and it was drama free — it still wasn’t enough to suggest a rematch would be any different, at least to me. Okay, so Chavez got to Martinez, but that doesn’t mean he’ll develop the kind of footwork and hand speed to neutralize what Martinez does best, and especially not for 11 more rounds. Maybe Chavez has it in him to fight that kind of round 2 or 3 more times, that doesn’t mean he can win a fight against Martinez.For whatever amount of confidence that 12th round gives Chavez, it also gives Martinez a significant amount of awareness and that could prove that 12th round moot. But you can’t say that Chavez didn’t prove something in that fight. For what it’s worth, Chavez didn’t quit and that should be enough of a positive to take out of a fight in which he lost 10-11 rounds. Chavez could’ve quit several times in that fight I expected he would myself and he had plenty of reasons to quit; they were the kind of reasons that would’ve left him almost blame free. Just last week we saw Dawson quit in his fight with Ward and if you give Dawson a pass then you certainly would’ve given Chavez the pass. If you don’t give Dawson a pass then I think you still have to consider Chavez’s options in the fight and keep it in perspective. Chavez never lost his will to continue and that is what correlated with his ability to produce a meaningful final round effort. I make no excuses for Chavez and by no means am I trying to downplay his performance, or lack thereof. I’m merely suggesting that Chavez Jr. is an adequate extension of the legendary name.