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The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
November 11, 2001
Odds and Ends
By Adam Pollack

ESPN2 - Friday Night Fights

Seems the commentary Friday night generally agreed with my thoughts on the stoppage of Zab Judah by Kostya Tszyu as being a bit premature and that the count should have continued. I really liked that clip of Nady stopping the Corrales-Gainer fight, another bout I thought he stopped too quickly. I thought Kellerman's comments were right on target, especially regarding the fact that the fights where guys usually get seriously hurt are where there is sustained pounding over many rounds. This was not the case with the Judah fight.

There are different kinds of knockouts. There is the dangerous kind where the guy is semi conscious and isn't there mentally, and there is the kind where the guy's head is there but his legs aren't. The former is the kind you stop. The latter, you give the guy a chance to see if he can get out of trouble. The trouble with the leg knockout isn't that the guy's brain is ready to be hurt, but the fact that because he has no legs, he is more likely to get hit with shots that will hurt his brain. However, the good ones can grab, punch and wobble around a bit until they do get their legs back and can win. Lennox Lewis' loss to Oliver McCall was the leg kind of ko. His head was completely clear but his legs were gone. When Holmes went down from Shavers, it was like that as well.

When Judah rose, he looked at the ref and was clearly coherent, speaking to him. However, it were his legs that were gone. Given just a little more time, he could have gotten his legs together. The fact that the bell would have rung as soon as Nady allowed him to continue meant he would have had another minute to recover.

I do agree that fighters can't be saved by the bell and that ref's need to stop a fight when a fighter is unable to continue, regardless of the time in the round. However, the fact is referees do know when the round is about to end because the timekeeper smacks down hard on the ring apron 10 or 5 seconds before the end, which had occured in the Judah fight. Nady clearly could have given Judah the full ten count, said 'okay' because the tape showed he was able to continue by 10, and Nady probably knew the bell would have rung at that point.

On the year in general:

ESPN2 has been talking about the fact that this has been the year of the underdog. I don't see it that way as much as I see it as the year of the experienced smart veteran. Rahman knew not to get cocky and to get himself in shape and he did. When you look at the fact that he was beating Tua and Maskaev over most of the fight, and showed power and heart in the Sanders fight, you have to agree that he wasn't just some bum. The first time I liked Rahman was when he decisioned Trevor Berbick. Check that fight out and tell me if you don't agree that he showed some good boxing ability and some talent.

Speaking of Lewis-Rahman, I am reminded of one of my philosophies/rules:

Never put a guy in an immediate rematch with the man who just knocked him out and never put him in a potentially tough fight for his first fight back. Psychologically, that fighter isn't the same and needs to build back his confidence. Quite naturally, he has additional fear of the man who knocked him out because he always has that in the back of his head. This is why I believed Holyfield would defeat Tyson in the rematch. This is also why I think you see Lennox losing it and getting into wrestling matches with Rahman at new conferences. Mentally, he isn't quite right. Sure, some of it has to do with promotion, but some of the psychological insecurities are there as well. Conversely, even if Rahman is doing poorly, he can stay in the fight mentally because he always feels he can land the big one and win it.

Of course, a potential corrollary to that rule is if the fighter who got knocked out only did so because he didn't train, then he may not be as psychologically devastated because in the back of his head he knows he didn't get beat at his best. This is why Lennox may be able to hold it together.

As for Barrera and Tszyu, these were guys with vast experience who had finely honed there games over many years and were able to fight intelligent fights against cocky guys who hadn't learned from the years of lessons the way they had.

Trinidad got beat by a guy who was also a long time veteran who had fought the best his division had to offer over many years and was able to fight the boxer/puncher type style that only de la Hoya attempted and had previoulsy proven could work against Felix. Hopkins was bigger and stronger than Oscar (who was just a large lightweight), was able to not be intimidated as a result, and most importantly, unlike Oscar, had fought that boxing style before (see the Echols bouts) and knew just how much to move and when to punch.

On the illegal wrapping:

May have helped Trinidad a little bit, but not much. Hopkins was a big guy who had taken hard punches from Jones, Jr. and Echols, so of course he wasn't going to be quite as shocked by Trinidad's power. Also, the boxing style Hopkins fought ensured that he wasn't going to take too many really clean shots the way the other fighters had. I think overall the wrapping issue is a big nothing. Trinidad hits really hard, regardless of how he wraps his hands.

Speaking of wrappings, I am SO SICK of hearing commentary (Emanuel Steward on HBO and I think Kellerman on ESPN2) mentioning Dempsey as their example of illegal wraps:

That Dempsey story of using hardened plaster of paris is a MYTH perpetuated by his manager Jack Kearns after he and Dempsey split and were embroiled in legal battles. There is no way someone wouldn't have noticed/felt that Dempsey's wraps were hardened. Remember, gloves were put on in the ring before the fight and the ref had to raise the hand of the boxer after the bout. It would have been noticed. Also, in order to remove such wraps, it would have been a time consuming laborious process that also probably would have been noticed and could not have been done after the fight near the ring before Dempsey's hand was raised. [Editor's note: recently discovered photos prove that Dempsey had normal wrappings on his hands.]

Remember also that Dempsey had been dropping the best contenders, men who were as big as Willard, in much the same way. Fred Fulton and Carl Morris were top contenders who were 215-235 and both were stopped in the first round. Dempsey feasted on big tall guys.

Another fact to consider is that prior to beating a washed up 37 year old Jack Johnson, Willard hadn't beaten even one top contender. Men like Gunboat Smith and Arthur Pelkey had won decisions over Willard. Dempsey knocked out Pelkey in 1 round and Smith in 2 rounds. Finally, remember also that Willard hadn't fought in over 3 years before fighting Dempsey and was himself 37 years old at that time. When you consider all of the facts, it was practically a foregone conclusion that Dempsy was going to beat the hell out of Willard.

Mama Mia!

As for Mia St. John, she got what she deserved for leaving Top Rank. She was never a real fighter and should have done whatever she could have done to remain a protected fighter. As for welterweight sized Christy Martin still wanting to take on lightweight sized St. John and not Lucia Rijker, the true women's best, shows you a lot about Martin.

As for Tony Ayala, no matter how old and shot he is, I still like to watch him fight. Let's see Ayala-Duran!
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