Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 25th
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boxing-knowledgeWhen you and I go to work, we are expected to stay the duration of time for which we have been contracted.  As a comedian, I am very much held to this standard.  Even if the show is going horribly.  Even if the crowd is hostile.  Even if your safety is in question, it is understood and assumed, that you must do the contracted time on stage in order to get paid the full amount.  This does not exist in boxing, and for many reasons.  Not all of them are spurious, either.  If you win in the first round, surely you should not be punished.  To do so, would encourage the "carrying" of opponents, which should never be done.  Also, longer is not always better in a losing effort.  

"Going the distance" should be a goal of any losing fighter.  Boxing fans respect effort, not time, so we should not measure fighters in that fashion.  I will also mention that quitting in the corner is nothing new.  Sonny Liston, Marcel Cerdan.. many throwback fighters who were typically tough as nails have abandoned the fight due to injury or futility.  Roberto Duran was the most famous, and he did not even quit in the corner.  He did it in the middle of a round.  However, I am very disturbed by how often fighters think it ok to abandon one's work assignment right in the middle.  There are many causes of this, however, I will examine recent cases, as well the root causes of this being much more acceptable behavior from a modern fighter.  

This past weekend, both Amir Mansour and Aron Martinez quit in the corner of their respective fights at the Staples Center, against Dominic Breazeale and Sammy Vasquez.  Neither man had a reputation as a quitter.. if anything it was the opposite.  Yet, due to injuries to Mansour's jaw, and Martinez's elbow, they both quit.  Whatever happened to Tyrell Biggs going 7 rounds with a dislocated collar bone and winning the fight?  Whatever happened to Arthur Abraham fighting 7 rounds with his jaw stuck open, and (controversially) winning the fight?  Even Victor Ortiz fought with a broken jaw for many rounds against Josesito Lopez.  

These are fairly recent examples, too.  Men like Yuri Foreman and Sharmba Mitchell hobbling their way through multiple rounds on a bad knee, don't seem to be happening, and the shift is as recent as 5-10 years.  Even legends like Bernard Hopkins are quitting right after an injury, as he did against Chad Dawson.  Julio Cesar Chavez quit on his stool against both Oscar de la Hoya and Kostya Tszyu... although he probably should have quit in the dressing room, but it did not damage either Chavez' or Hopkins' legacy.  Tor Hamer, a one-time heavyweight prospect, famously quit twice early in fights, simply because he was losing.  Yet, he got another assignment.

 Therein lies the problem.  Duran and Liston never quit again, because they were shamed for it.  Consequences are the answer.  I am not recommending that fighters risk future incapacitation for boxing, but if your shoulder is hurting, throw the other hand!  People pay a lot of money, and you would certainly fight through a cut... why not that?  If your corner is doing it's job, they will pull you out of a fight, mid round.  The corner is for answers, not surrender.  Maybe fighters and trainers need to remember that.  At least go out and get knocked out, so the fans don't feel cheated.  Everyone loses when you quit in the corner... everyone, that is, except you.  That needs to change, if we want this to change.

Chris Strait

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