Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 10th
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boxing art 035I do not wish to make light of what professional athletes go through.  Anytime you step between those ropes, you are taking chances with your health, your future, and your ability to earn a living.  However, in this day and age of sports as business to everyone involved (not just the managers and promoters), the path of least resistance is often the one taken.  Lately, however, fighters have been taking matches that they probably could have gotten out of, in order to satisfy public need.  I would like to congratulate those participants, as they deserve our applause, regardless of the outcome.  

Nonito Donaire vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux
Nonito was riding high, no one would have faulted him if he went up a division yet again and decided to win a belt, and then sit on it.  Rigondeaux had the excuse of building his record a bit more.  Top Rank is not doing business with Golden Boy, however, and Abner Mares was leaving the division anyway.  It appears Bob Arum learned his lesson about lost matchups from Juanma and Gamboa, and now he is matching his toughest guys against each other.  Finally making the monopoly work for itself.  Rigo has no future matchups on the horizon that appear interesting, but Donaire lost without really being destroyed.  He was humbled, not ruined.  This one worked out well for all involved.

Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson 
Again, two fighters who could have coasted after meaningful wins making them legit world champions.  Instead they went after each other.  Hats off to Dawson for taking more of the risk... going to Ward's division, and his backyard.  Hats off to Ward for his most impressive performance to date.  Ward pretty much lived the perfect amateur career, and it looks as though he is poised to live the perfect professional career.  It is hall of fame worthy already, and he is ranked number 2 P4P, after only Floyd.  He is there because of disappointing performances by Pacquiao, Martinez, and Donaire, as much as from this performance, but he is there nonetheless.  For Chad, it might not have been worth the risk.  We have yet to see if he will ever be the same.

Lucas Matthysse vs. Lamont Peterson
Not since Zarate vs. Zamora have two division champions fought each other without unifying, that I can recall.  True, Matthysse's belt is an interim, but Peterson lays claim to the linear title, while Matthysse is the mandatory for a protected Danny Garcia.  The winner is the logical opponent for either Garcia or Khan, yet gets to keep his belt, and a stake in the division regardless.  This fight can only produce fireworks, unless one of them is severely off his game.  We have not seen that yet from either fighter.  By the time you read this, we'll have the answer, but regardless, this is the path of most resistance, and most entertainment, and I am glad to see it.

Canelo Alvarez vs. Austin Trout
You can argue that this match was long overdue, but the stars had to align just right.  'Right' meaning until Golden Boy had hedged their bets with their big investment... Texas, a corrupt state, had all but guaranteed a decision win for Canelo, while Trout had been brought more into the public consciousness with TV fights, and a win over Cotto.  Still, Alvarez could have fought no one and squirmed into a Floyd matchup this September... however the die-hards, and Canelo himself, would have none of it.  It was a close even fight, but few argue with Canelo winning, and he made believers out of more skeptics, including myself, with the way he won.  Trout is an accurate puncher, yet he missed badly all night.  Nobody expected Alvarez to win with defense.. which makes him even more of a question-mark against Mayweather.  Trout is now just as marketable, and will likely be a player for years at 154lbs.   This one worked out for everyone, too.

Chris Strait

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