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Home Boxing REMATCHES CAN BE ILL-TIMED
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REMATCHES CAN BE ILL-TIMED

boxing-rematchI have written once before on the subject of ring fatalities, from the perspective that the victor in a fatal contest is often rushed in their next outing.  George Jones, Steve Dotse, Jesus Chavez, etc all were soundly beaten in their next outing following a fatal KO.  Part of this may have been a gun-shy nature after a traumatic event, but most of it was the result of taking the biggest step up that had been taken by each fighter at the time.  Death is not the only traumatic event that one has to overcome in boxing.  Losses, especially in certain fashions, are something that must be dealt with.  It is a vulnerable time, and matchmaking must be done carefully.

I believe certain rematches are planned at good times for the fans, but bad times for one of the fighters involved.  The recent pull out of Yordanis Despaigne, from his rematch with Edison Miranda, is a prime example.  Despaigne was criticized for facilitating a DQ win over Miranda in their first match.  It is not his fault that Miranda is a dirty fighter, or that the referee got carried away.  However, this brand of win is the most dubious.  A rematch would normally serve no purpose, but Despaigne was thoroughly outboxed and beaten up in his last major outing… against Ismail Sillakh.  He needed a confidence builder.

Andre Berto is getting another crack at Victor Ortiz, in a similar turn of events.  Ortiz may have beaten Berto last time, but Berto is hungrier, and Ortiz is likely feeling a bit let down after his embarrassing loss to Floyd Mayweather.  The thinking behind Despagne’s people, as well as Ortiz’ might be that a good confidence builder following a defeat would be to put your fighter in with someone they have beaten before.  This logic is simple, yet you are not calling on your fighter to cover any new ground.  They have a lot to lose, yet little to gain.  Ortiz already has had his resolve questioned, and another brawl (which is likely to happen) will only shorten his career that much more.  Even if it is a desired rematch, the mental state of a fighter may not be where it needs to be.  

Combining themes of this article, Gabriel Ruelas finally got his desired rematch with Azumah Nelson in 1995.  Ruelas had lost a close decision in their first match, then had conquered Nelson’s conqueror, Jesse James Leija, to win the WBC super featherweight belt.  Trouble is, in the interim, he had been involved in a fatal knockout.  The motivation to avenge a loss was not the dynamic of the match.  Nelson now hungered to get his title back, while Ruelas, a very nice man personally, was struggling to overcome personal demons.  The result was a one-sided drubbing, with Nelson winning by 5th round TKO.  Had Ruelas waited a few fights in the interim, forcing Nelson to fight for another belt… this would have changed the dynamic drastically, when they finally did have a rematch.

Despaigne may be criticized for pulling out of the Miranda bout, especially for being honest in saying he was not mentally prepared.  He gets full marks from this writer for not faking an injury, as is so often the norm these days.  However, in the long run, it is a good move.  He is a better fighter than Miranda, and if he waits until the dynamic changes, it will be worth more to prove it.  If Miranda beats his top 25 ranked substitute, he will then eb ranked, which is worth more.  The winner of Despaigne-Miranda in 6 months would be a vulnerable, ranked optional defense that one of the belt hodlers (likely Cleverly or Shumenov) would be apt to take on.

Ortiz will not likely pull out.  He makes more money fighting Berto than anyone else, and if his head is right, he can win.  Do not be surprised if he loses, however, and needs yet another period of reflection and rebuilding.  He is young, but sometimes in a rush to prove oneself, the long term plan is lost.

Chris Strait
www.convictedartist.com

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