Many of The Brightest Stars in boxing Today are One Dimensional

antonio margarito06.03.07 - By Yero Moody: The modern day athlete has improved dramatically in the past fifty years. Modern technology combined with advances in the science of nutrition and kinesiology have spurned many athletes to achieve what was once thought to be impossible. Athletes today are bigger, faster and stronger than they have ever been. The "sweet science" of boxing has also been improved by such a large quantity of great athletes. The downside of modern day sports in general is the lust for money. Now corporate sponsors have much more power than they've ever had and as a result the overall honor and integrity of sports has been on a drastic decline.

With all these huge sports fields and arenas that need to be filled and the need to financially compensate these megastar athletes, costs have soared and marketing strategies have become ruthless. More and more athletes are adopting a "me first" attitude. But please don't blame the athletes entirely because they are reacting to the attitudes that are pervasive at the "top." Crap rolls downhill.

The owners and their corporate sponsors set the tone. They demand that seats be filled and that you must win. Coaches, managers and trainers are being fired in epic proportions. Enter: steroids. Athletes are being forced to compete at such a high level in order to keep their jobs and get paid that some cheat.

When is the last time you've seen a true dynasty in sports? Boxing is no exception. B-Hop was boxing's version of a dynasty with 20+ title defenses in one weight class. Fighters are almost forced to go up in weight class to make more money and find greater challenges even if its not in there best interest.

The public demands action. They've paid these ridiculous prices for tickets and they want their money's worth. Many major sports have changed the rules to produce more offense to produce more excitement for the fans. Therefore the sport loses some of its purity. If you stare at the quarterback in the NFL for too long you might just be suspended.

How has this affected boxing? The boxing public has also been affected by the huge demand to produce excitement i.e. knockouts. If you don't knock you're opponent out you may be called boring or a runner. Forget the fact that you may have delivered a masterful display of the sweet science and pitched a near shutout for 12 Rd's. Just ask Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather,Jr. and Winky Wright. The fighters that get knockouts or are mostly offense oriented are considered exciting and almost always fill the arenas. Some of today's fighters considered to be exciting are Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito and rising star Edison Miranda.

Fight fans love these guys. They almost always provide constant offense even if their opponent does not. However, to the boxing purists, the sweet scientists if you will, they leave alot to be desired. Boxing in its purest form is divided, as are most sports, into offense and defense. Far too frequently I'm seeing one dimensional fighters being catapulted to stardom. Although many fight fans will be satisfied because they saw knockdowns or knockouts they often times are not witnessing boxing at its highest levels. The object of any fighter is to hit and not be hit. That's like learning your vowels in kindergarten. Its elementary my dear Watson. I'm witnessing a huge number of fights that have turned into neolithic cave brawls with no hint of defense.

I enjoy knockouts, knockdowns and great offense just as much as the next man. Being a boxing purist I love greatness in all aspects. The offense and the defense. Too many fighters are become crowd pleasers instead of honing their skills. Two fighters come to mind when I think of this modern day lust for pure offense, Naseem Hamed and Gerald McClellan. Both were very gifted athletes with power and incredible offense. Where are they now? Both were beaten very badly. McClellan was beaten so severely by Nigel Benn that he can no longer walk and is under constant care. How great could they have been if they mastered defense as well as they did offense?

When I see Hatton, Margarito, Cotto and Miranda I see one dimensional fighters thriving on their offense. All of them are a couple fights away from being exposed! I watch Hatton putting constant pressure on fighters and absorbing punch after punch. Very fortunate in that he has not been in there with a fighter with speed to beat him to the punch and finishing skills. Margarito is a poster child for hit and be hit. The exact opposite of the sweet science. The unfortunate reality for him is that he may be beaten by a fighter with less skills simply because he got caught flush. Cotto has been shielded by Bob Arum and for good reason. Mr. Arum has been around the sport for a very long time and he is able to assess where a fighter is at almost immediately. That is why when he was promoting both Cotto and Mayweather he never matched them up. He said Cotto was not ready for Mayweather.

Cotto is always looking to land the big shot. He reminds me alot of Felix "Tito" Trinidad in his latter years. Tito had become so one dimensional that all he did was look to land power shots abandoning his once great jab and lateral movement. Cotto should take note. If he continues on this kamikaze mission of taking hard shots to land hard shots he will be beaten badly. Miranda is the rising star of the bunch. I was eager to see him against Allan Green last Saturday night and boy was I disappointed. I saw a wild swinging totally offense minded Miranda beat an average boxer. Green was able to put Miranda on the canvas with a well timed punch.

Miranda much like the previously mentioned fighters are all crowd pleasers but lack the necessary skills to satisfy boxing purists. To Miranda's credit, unlike the others who are already facing big fights, he is still young and has time to learn. He is still being groomed. The question will be what he learns. Will he learn to rely even more heavily on his offense or adopt a defense?

Micheal Jordan, one of my favorite athletes, said this about improving himself. He said "when I train I train to make my weaknesses my strengths." People always criticize me because I frequently hype up Mayweather but the reason is very simple. His training regiment is legendary and between the ropes he exhibits what the sweet science is all about. Great defense as well as great offense. When pure boxing is displayed its like poetry in motion. I personally don't enjoy watching some limited fighter get hit like a drum, win or lose. Lets keep boxing pure!

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Article posted on 07.03.2007

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