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Home Boxing STEPPING ON THE GAS!
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STEPPING ON THE GAS!

mares-agbekoLost in the shuffle of the Mares-Agbeko fiasco, is a very pivotal moment.  Inh the 4th round, Agbeki landed a flush right hand, as Mares was loading up his own right.  Mares dipped, then stood back up.  Agbeko did not press the attack… seemingly waiting to land another right hand.  Because he shut his eyes defensively at the moment of impact, perhaps he did not know how badly Mares was hurt.  I am not suggesting that Mares was out on his feet, or that Agbeko definitely blew a chance to end the fight, but we will never know, because he did not press the attack.

Even if Mares had survived an onslaught, it was worth Agbeko pressing the advantage.  So much more good than bad can result from an effective follow up.  This is not the first time a fighter has paid dearly not not pursuing a hurt fighter.  The only negative is to do so saps a fighter’s strength, but fighters should be trained for far more than the demands of an ordinary 12 rounds, so that this is not a factor.  Perhaps Agbeko was concerned after his struggles to make weight.  However, much more than the knockout gets away after a moment like this.  The affected fighter gains confidence, and is given an easy path to show heart.  Taking charge of a fight can still result in dominance, even if it does not result in a knockout.

This is not the only time this has happened.  The other instance that pops in my mind most clearly is Joe Frazier not following up that aggressively against Muhammad Ali in the 11th round of their first match.  He admitted later that he was a bit fooled by Ali’s possum-playing, and averted danger.  Frazier won anyway, however, he nearly died from elevated blood-pressure after the fight, which probably would have been lessened by an 11th round exit.  Also, maybe the world never sees the 2 fights he lost, had he won by a convincing KO.

Like Agbeko, the former Middleweight and Super Middleweight Champion Eubank, had struggled to make weight facing Carl Thompson.  Thompson was the bigger man naturally, but a shopworn and overweight Eubank was still far the superior fighter.  Thompson, however, was conditioned, and determined… weathering storm after storm to outwork Eubank in one of the Londoner’s many ‘off-periods” throughout the fight.

Thompson ended up getting a close, controversial decision in their 1998 WBO Cruiserweight title bout, as well as a come-from-behind TKO on a swollen eye in the return.  However, maybe we never se a second bout, had Eubank pressed the attack.  In the 7th round, Eubank badly rocked Thompson.  Not only did he not race after him, he did not throw another punch for many seconds.  Eubank resorted to his trademark posing, and Thompson recovered.  Thompson scored many a KO after being dropped by opponents, so maybe Eubank was doing the smart thing, but as 21 rounds of action showed, he had a far superior chin to Thompson.  Eubank never fought again, yet he could have gone out a champion.

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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