Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 28th
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diego-magdalenoPunchers are born, not made.  We hear this all the time.  Perhaps this is true, but one glance at many a fighters record will confuse any fan who buys into this.  Some fighters start out as punchers, then stop (Paulie Malingaggi KO’d his first 3 opponents, Pernell Whittaker 6 of his first 7, etc).  Others develop their power slowly.  Some blame this on “sitting down” on punches, as one transitions to a pro style from an amateur style.  Others cite confidence.  Let’s look at 3 modern examples:

Diego Magdaleno – The most recent entry into this list may not look like he belongs yet.  At first glance, 7 KO’s in 19 wins does not a puncher make.  However, when one sees that 4 of those have come in his last 4 fights, it looks a bit more impressive.  Add to that, the fact that they have come early, he looks a bit more powerful.  Then the final ingredient appears in the form of his knockouts coming as he is stepping up in class.  Funny thing is his other 3 KO’s happened in his first 6 fights... so the amateur style is not to blame.  Perhaps it’s just a matter developing his confidence.

Robert Guerrero – One of the most physically strong featherweights in the last 20 years, Guerrero has grown into a full lightweight, who is now making his debut at 140lbs.  People who are fans of the Gilroy , CA native’s recent fights, however, may be surprised to know that only 3 of his first 12 fights ended by KO.  He followed this up with a tear of first round KO’s, meaning once he had sat down on his punches, his powerful style soon developed.  That early run of distance fights, however, is to thank for his ability to box, and go the distance with confidence.

Arturo Frias – Yes, the former WBA Lightweight champion makes a writer’s list for something other than his KO loss to Ray Mancini.  Perhaps fight fans would be interested to know why a fighter with such a low KO percentage, 28-5-8 KO’s was his final tally, would brawl with Mancini the way he did.  When you come up through L.A. in the late 70’s and early 80’s in the Lightweight division, you take on a lot of hard-nosed Mexican and Mexican-American fighters at the Grand Olympic, with a never-say-die attitude.  Perhaps this, as well as his fast rise up the ladder, was to blame for him not scoring a KO’s in his first nine fights.  By the time he had reached the title picture, he had earned the title shot with a KO, and stopped WBA champ Claude Noel in 8 rounds.  He had even avenged his only loss, a disputed one at the hands of Ernesto Espana, with a win inside the distance (albeit a TD).  So, the “easy way out” as many people accused Mancini of taking by challenging Frias, wasn’t so easy after all.  He fell in love with his newfound power, though, and it was ultimately Frias’ undoing.  He was stopped by Mancini in one round, and KO’d 3 times in his next 7 fights.  

Chris Strait

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