Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 21st
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boxing_glovesI am not surprised that Yuriorkis Gamboa pulled out of the Brandon Rios fight.  His vulnerabilities are perfect for a Rios type of fighter, and it does not pay well enough to risk.  He will probably try to win a belt at 130, and watch Adrien Broner's star rise.  Then, he will likely leave the division before actually having to fight him.  The bloom is off the Gamboa rose, at least for now.  One does not have to lose a fight to lose luster.  Just ask Paul Spadafora or Joan Guzman.  They have never lost, except wads of money, yet their stars have irreversibly fallen.

Speaking of Rios, Richard Abril does not seem to have the firepower to keep "Bam Bam" off of him, but he now has a definite role.  Word is that they are trying to make Juan Manuel Marquez a Rios opponent, which would offer a better fight than Gamboa would have, and re-energize the lightweight division.  Once glorious, the 135lb division has been transient one for a long time now.  Abril's trinket (WBA interim) means he will get a chance to hope that Rios overlooks him.  It seems to be his only chance.

Speaking of only chances, turning down a fight almost never pays off.  These men are not actors trying to avoid typecasting.  This is not dating where your picky nature makes you look more desireable.  From Francesco Damiani's lame knee costing him a title shot against Evander Holyfield, to Alex Garcia's turning down half a million for a George Foreman match, it almost always ends in disaster.  Garcia was Ko'd by a journeyman, and never left basic cable.  Damiani lost to Oliver McCall and retired.  Take the fight, no matter what.  If you lose, blame it on the injury, then use the vulnerability you displayed to earn more lucrative opponents.  That's what works these days.

Speaking of what works, the 168lb division has given us two fighters in the last twenty years, who seem unbeatable due to a certain nature.  Joe Calzaghe and Andre Ward have tremendous natural gifts, but what makes them so hard to fight is that their style is not one.  They simply use their speed and timing to ruin whatever their opponent does.  There have always been fighters that are 'tough to look good against', but that phrase is usually reserved for loveable journeyman opponents.  When a skilled champion possesses that trait, they are a nightmare for anyone.  Despite average chins, and lack of knockouts at the higher level, no one is able to topple them, or even mask the look of frustration that comes over their faces about round 6.  I wish their paths could have crossed, so we could see who would win the battle of adaptable frustration.

Speaking of frustration, the middleweight division is really getting on my nerves.  Countless belts, no one unifying, one dominant champion pinned there, when he'd really rather go back to 154lbs, etc.  Daniel Geale seems to be heading over here, but he will be doing so in Dzindziruk fashion... to make money surrendering his needless belt.  Dmitry Pirog seems to not like money, and the WBA champs won't even fight each other.  probably because Golovkin would annihilate Sturm.  Chavez Jr. is talking of moving up, rather than facing Martinez.  This is the divison with probably the most transparent cowardice in boxing.  And it's not from the fighters... but the promoters.  If you think we're having trouble caring now, just wait until Martinez and Chavez do leave.

Chris Strait

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