The CBZ Newswire

This Sporting Art

by on Aug.27, 2015, under Boxing News

By Karl Hegman

Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press

Photo courtesy of The Canadian Press

Summer has once again grasped the Bayou City in its relentless, sweltering wrath. I used to love training in the heat as a kid as it flushed and cleaned your system out and made making weight an easy endeavor.

But as the more I age, those days of closing my garage door and banging away on the bags for hours at a time in the sauna like heat are now nothing more than a very distant memory.

Houston Boxing is now in somewhat of a conundrum as the amateur talent is exceeding the professional fighters in both technique and accomplishments.

There just isn’t much going on in the pro aspect of things here. The glory days of Juan Diaz and Rocky Juarez are long gone and they won’t be coming back anytime soon.

USA Boxing has been a tremendous disappointment and abject failure on the elite men’s program. A once proud and noble country in boxing has now been reduce to a veritable laughing stock in Olympic competition.

If there is not a significant medal haul in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the elite men’s area of USA Boxing is going to be in a lot of trouble.

Discussions have already begun as to cutting off the funding and possible deletion of that particular agency altogether in these tough economic times on the men’s side of things.

The Elite Women of USA Boxing on the other hand have performed splendidly. The amazing Claressa Shields and the magnificent Marlen Esparza have redefined the genre with their heroics and in ring accomplishments.

Their breathless expressions of the human body as a weapon and the wonderfully comprehensive display of their arsenals have left the viewer and fan shaken, not stirred.

Rudy Silva has sacrificed and worked extremely hard to build a solid foundation for his fighters at the Elite Boxing Gym on Market Street.

Silva is a former regional Golden Gloves Champion that has managed to insert into his fighters’ mentality a raw, feral edge combined with a strict adherance to the fundamentals of The Sweet Science.

Silva is best known for developing and honing Marlen Esparza into a multi time National Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist in her record breaking amateur career.

Rudy was not in the corner with Marlen in the 2012 Olympics that were held in London, and ultimately that was a deciding factor between settling for a Bronze Medal and winning Olympic Gold.

Marlen recently lost a controversial decision to a Canadian fighter named Mandy Bujold whom she has defeated several times previously.

Esparza won the damn match (regardless of how some incompetent and/or corrupt officials voted) but did not look nearly at her best in doing so.

She has virtually abandoned her jab for the most part and didn’t set anything up. She simply jumped in and threw wide punches from the outside in and that practice ultimately cost her.

The first time I saw her work in the gym under Rudy Silva, the jab was her most effective weapon and she jacked jaws and drove a male fighter that had 15 pounds on her three feet back with it.

Marlen needs to reincorporate that punch into her arsenal, double and triple pumping it to set up her shots if she is to capture the Gold Medal in Rio in 2016.

She won the AIBA World Championship, but that was without the participation of Olympic Gold Medalist, Britain’s Nicola Adams.

In order to beat Adams, Esparza is going to have to use that jab overtime. Esparza is the better and more complete and polished fighter between the two.

But unfortunately, that formula in boxing does not aways equate to success in The Big Fight when everything is on the line.

I saw a recent interview with her where she proclaimed she has learned more about boxing recently than in the past thirteen years in which she has been involved in the sport.

But she did not display that earned knowledge in the match versus the Canadian.

She can hire all of the personal and Olympic and strength trainers she wants and it will not bring her an Olympic Gold Medal.

Esparza has to reestablish her boxing roots to bring the Big Prize home to the medal-starved USA, bottom line.

But in the event she does accomplish the feat next year in Rio, I can definitely see her scaling the Corcovado mountain on the following Sunday morning.

I envision her with the Gold Medal draped around her light cocoa neck standing adjacent to the statue of Christ The Redeemer and looking out over the January River.

She shoots out a left jab and straight right hand and bellows a powerful “Hi Yaah!” into the welcoming arms of Mother Earth beneath her.


**Dedicated to My Brother Chris Henry. Hard Hittin’, we hardly knew ye, Lad.**













































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