Convicted Artist Magazine

Jun 30th
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argentina-boxingThe American boxing scene is always much stronger than the media makes it sound.  True, it is not in its heyday, but how many things are?  Our land has still remained the mecca of boxing in as much as fighters wish to ply their trade on our soil.  It’s a bit strange when you think about it.  Most of the great fighters nowadays are not born and bred here.  Many of them do not live here.  In addition, most of the boxers who make it to the championship level, can make far more money fighting somewhere else.  This is true of the UK , Germany , or Japan .  Yet, it is considered a career unfulfilled, if one does not test oneself against the best the U.S. has to offer.

This could be a metaphor for the U.S as a whole.  Our slow slide into 3rd world nationhood, and away from greatness.  It takes a while for people to figure it out, but during that generation, we still get some of the world’s best contesting on our shores.  Sometimes it’s the only way they can achieve neutrality in their matches.  Japan has long paid better.   Germany is outdoing us in terms of star-making and filling arenas… but there is a new entrant into the mix.

This country did not do so with its slick promoters.  In fact, the opposite is true.  This is the same place where a shyster stole money and years from Wilfred Benitez.  No, Argentina gained relevance the old fashioned way: With exciting fighters, of which the U.S. public could not get enough.  The genius of these men is that they all fight in such a way that we don’t care if they lose.  We want to see them again.  Sergio Martinez, Lucas Matthysse, and Marcos Maidana are far from dominant champions.  In fact, Omar Narvaez is the only Argentine who is, and he has had to remain home to maintain that control.

Matthysse and Maidana are durable, determined, punching machines.  Whether they lose or win, it is usually a close, exciting affair.  This is all the more impressive when one considers how dominant both were domestically.  Fighters like Edison Miranda and Victor Oganov never got over not being to blow everyone out with power.  The M and M boys of the 140lb division, however, just shrug and plug away, when you take their best shots.  And by losing close fights, they have endeared themselves to the U.S. fans who now cheer for them.

Martinez too, had the same bum luck with decisions at first.  While Maidana and Matthysse were never outright screwed, Martinez ’ draw against Kermit Cintron was shameful.  He legitimately lost to Paul Williams, but just by hanging tough, he gained more fans, who were tired of watching him lose close calls.  By the time he beat Kelly Pavlik, and blew Williams away in the rematch, it was a Glen Johnson “back from judges-induced adversity”-like triumph.

Don King promoted cards in Argentina years ago.  U.S. TV has not been back since, as far as I know.  Now would be a good time to go back.  Maidana vs. Matthysse would be huge there and here.  Martinez could defend against anyone, and draw big… if only Carlos Baldomir was still vital.  Oxnard , California is going to be filling up with a new expat community, since Martinez and Matthysse began training there.  And with wine and beef a common theme for both Central Cali and Argentina , they’re going to fit right in.  Whatever it takes to make these fighters comfortable… since they are more than returing the favor to U.S. boxing fans.

Chris Strait

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