Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 28th
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boxing-knockoutsThe knockout mesmerizes people.  It is often the only way a boxer can enter the general sports highlight reels on news channels.  Sergio Martinez winning a close one over Paul Williams would have made a nice story of revenge, but we’d all be talking trilogy.  Instead, because 'Maravilla' flattened a previously rock-chinned opponent, he made everyone’s p4p lists, while Williams has dropped out of sight.  While Manny Pacquiao and Andre Ward’s recent victories have signaled an end to the string of upsets, they have not set the sporting world on fire.

Andre Ward has won 4 times in dominating fashion, since entering the Super Six tournament.  On 3 of those 4 occasions he faced a fighter with a very good chin, so the decision wins are piling up.  On the other, however, he could not put a weakened Allan Green away.  He was also recently criticized for not stepping on the gas to take out Arthur Abraham.  Pacquiao too, has had trouble with defensive minded fighters feeling his power and going into survival mode.  Now, are we to blame their extraordinary talent, combined with the lack of heart of today’s challengers?  Perhaps, but the “good enough” mentality may turn out to fall well short of enough, if we want to make true stars out of fighters.

The stoppages of Hatton, De La Hoya and Cotto are what put Pacquiao where he is now.  The upset over Kessler is what had us all so excited about Ward.  However, no matter how impressive someone’s victories, if they continue to win solely by decision, public interest will slowly fade.  Just ask Roy Jones, Jermain Taylor, or Pernell Whittaker.  Fighters like Willie Pep or Ivan Calderon earn the respect of fight fans for having so many natural disadvantages (size, strength, power), and still being able to dominate with their speed and defensive skills.  As much respect as they get, though... it rarely translates into dollars.  Mayweather and Jones are rare exceptions, and their level of dominance is what is responsible for their status.

Not today, not in these weight classes.  Ward must show he can deliver by KO.  It’s not likely to happen against Froch or Johnson.  However, with Bute, Hopkins , Martinez , or whomever is there as the big opponent for Ward following the Super Six… they better feel his power, not just his skill.  At the very least, he must provide highlight reel knockouts for the in-between bouts against no-hopers (as did Jones and Mayweather).  The only decision-win that the public will find acceptable for Pacquiao is one over Mayweather.  Other than that, Arum is going to get one more chance to cash out, then we will all tire of “The Intimidating Manny”.

Chris Strait

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