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Dec 13th
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Home Boxing What’s with the love of undefeated records?
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What’s with the love of undefeated records?

boxing_glovesWell, the title of this article should have cued anyone reading it as to the point and premise of this article- an apparent infatuation with any boxers undefeated record, followed by the typical cliché’s and write-off’s of many fighters when they suffer their first loss, their second loss or even their sixth loss for that matter. It’s seems like it is becoming fast apparent that many fans of the sport (I have been guilty of this in the past) have decided that having any losses as either a rising prospect or even as a world champion is worthy of an automatic default to the status of “overrated,” “protected,” “exposed,” or even worse, saying that the fighter who lost was “all of the above” and a flat-out “bum.” Apparently these days, it is very easy for a person to make those observations from the comforts of their living rooms as they watch as fight unfold as opposed to actually lacing up a pair of boxing gloves and seeing how “easy” the sport we are endeared to really is.

Undefeated records are generally indicative of at least two things with regard to a fighter. The first and most obvious is that they have not challenged themselves to the fullest degree. When you are looking at a fighter with a 35-0-0 record, the first question that should come to mind is: “Okay, who has this fighter fought that has allowed this fighter to rack up 35 back-to-back wins with no losses and no draws?” Sadly, that question generally gets shelved in favor of a statement to the direct effect of: “Wow, this guy is 35-0-0, he must be a damned good boxer to earn a record like that.” while at the same time, paying no attention to the fighters record and who that fighter has been in the ring with. If this hypothetical fighter who is being spoken of right now  has fought a lot of opponents with losing records and has never faced a current top-five fighter at any point in his or her career, then why should anyone bother with making any kind of statements? If anything, people should be asking themselves who this fighter has been in the ring with and not be blindly touting this fighter as “the next great champion.” It’s obvious that there aren’t many fans of boxing that know the sport well enough to look at the numbers on a fighters record, and will actually pay attention to who any fighter has fought, as well as the numbers on their opponents records. There is another side of that coin though, as there are a lot of fight fans who do the opposite, they will look at those numbers and not the records and then draw a baseless conclusion that “This boxer has to be something great because he’s 35-0...THIRTY-FIVE AND ZERO.”

Secondly, an undefeated record can also be hiding a lot of things about a fighter that need answering, especially if the fighter has not challenged him or herself and has built their winning record by fighting people with losing records. This especially becomes a problem if the fighter being looked at has been picked up by a prominent promoter and is getting a lot of dates on television thus causing the bandwagon effect for a fighter, and as we all know bandwagons can, will and have derailed just as fast as they started rolling, especially if an undefeated fighter who was supposed to be the next great thing gets steam-rolled in the first round on national television. Does that mean it’s time to write the fighter off? Absolutely not, all that this hypothetical loss means is that this fighter needs to keep fighting and learn from his mistakes. Only time will tell everyone if the fighter who just lost will be able to rebound and get back into contention and usually they do. If you look at the records of many of the great world champions, both past and present, you won’t be shocked to find that they have something in common: Losses and the typical write-offs that are associated with them.

I will make a short list of fighters, who are good, great or just plain monsters in the ring:
  
Sugar Ray Robinson
Alexis Arguello
Muhammad Ali
Sugar Ray Leonard
Larry Holmes
Mike Tyson
Lennox Lewis
Evander Holyfield
Wladimir Klitschko
Juan Diaz
Glen Johnson
Manny Pacquiao
 
Etc.

In the event that you were wondering where I was going with that list, I was pointing out that all of the aforementioned fighters have two common denominators: They have defeats on their records and have all been or are currently a world champion. In fact, the closest you can get to undefeated on that list is the great Lennox Lewis who despite his two losses has beaten every man he has ever faced.

Paul Williams once said that “if you can accept winning, you also have to be able to accept losing.” Truer words have never been spoken. Paul Williams realized that when he crushed Carlos Quintana who handed Williams his lone defeat in the first round of their rematch.

Miguel Cotto was TKO’ed by Antonio Margarito (Glove loading prick, thank you Shane Mosely) and has bounced back to beat Michael Jennings and Joshua Clottey who is arguably the most avoided Welterweight at the moment.
 
Amir Khan gets stretched in one round by Bredis Prescott and then goes on to beat Marco Antonio Barerra as well as dethroning Andreas Kotelnik.
 
These are two examples of fighters who take their losses, learn from them, take a fight against a formidable opponent, and then step their composition up in a major way.
 
Did anyone in 1996 and 1999 think that Manny Pacquiao would be the consensus number one fighter, pound for pound today based on his KO losses to Rustico Torrecampo and Medgoen Singsurat? Now Manny is fighting Cotto in what will surely be a tough fight. If it took an undefeated record to catapult to the top of many people’s pound for pound ratings, then Manny Pacquiao would not be a part of many discussions regarding boxing today. He’d just be another “bum” or “no hoper” who got KO’ed by two other “bums” and “no-hopers.” Fuck all that. I am not buying it and neither should you.
 
I digress...
 
What I am saying is that one would be foolish to judge a fighter based solely on his record and that you get the true measure of a fighter when they step into that ring. It doesn’t matter if a fighter has no losses, 3 losses, 11 or even 20 losses on his record. A title can change hands on any given night to any given person and there is no record bias if the bout doesn’t go the distance. Ask Manny- he’ll tell you.
 
So, next time you watch a fight, try to not give a fuck about what the numbers on the paper look like. Instead, just enjoy watching your fighter fight and if said fighter loses, look forward to seeing what that fighter does next. I am sure that many did just that when they were watching Sugar Ray Robinson.

 

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Jim  - Yo Garth |
Good stuff Garth, and congrats on your first article over here!
Tom 'The wizard' McKay  - You Are So Right |
Very straightforward article. Balloned records are the way of the game for the managers/promoters who want to pad their pocketbooks. It is shocking to check out a fighters history at BoxRec.com and discover these so-called unbeaten Prima Donn'as have in nearly all cases never had to step up to the plate and bang with a real warrior.
Imagine if you will, a promising young fighter like Henry Armstrong entering today's Hollywood Fight Game and losing his first fight by KO in the 3rd round (which he did to Al Lovino in July of 1927). Things didn't get much better as Armstrong lost three of his first four fights. Today, he would be told to hot the road man, no future for you. But Hank was determined and learned the boxing game and learned it so well that for those who do not know, accomplished a near impossible feat; he went on to win three world championships out of only eight weight divisions and Superstar status. Though he fought well beyond his prime, Armstong finished his career with a brilliant record of 149-21. He knocked out 101 opponents and suffered losses by KO twice. Tell me if I am right, if some of today's managers had a prospect like Armstrong, they would feed him cupcakes and jello belly''s to build an unblemished record. Then it would be Prime Time and if up against a Manny Pacquaio, the chances would be slim because the proper preparation and experience necessary to groom a real wolrd champion would be totally missing. Right?
Have A Happy
 
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