Facing Boxing Clichés

05.07.08 - Jaime Castro-Núñez: I classify boxers into two categories: those who lost and those who are going to lose. Virtually, no matter how great, powerful, or skilled a pugilist is, someday he or she will be outboxed, outworked, outclassed, or even knocked out! That is what the history of the sport teaches me. But we boxing writers, commentators, followers, authorities, and so-called boxing bibles do not digest that idea. Sadly, most of us have the tendency to believe that pugilists are some sort of indestructible, all-mighty punching machines, thus forgetting that they are just human beings..

Let me mention here one of my favorite boxers: Miguel Cotto, but one might easily choose Kelly Pavlik or Floyd Mayweather. The Puerto Rican champion is young, skilled, talented, circumspect, poweful, charismatic, corageous, and UNDEFEATED. A superb athlete. I am not Nostradamus, but some day he will be defeated. Will that defeat mean that Cotto has been "overrated" all these years? Will that defeat "expose" Cotto? Will he lose because he is "one-dimensional"? Certainly not!

Today I would like to talk about boxing clichés. Go to any boxing forum and you will find them plagued of clichés. A cliché is a phrase, word or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force. This is just a short list of what I belive are the most misused ideas and terms in today's boxing.

One-dimensional. This meaningful expression was coined to describe limited boxers, those who depended on one (and just one) single characteristic. But nowadays it is applied to virtually any hard-hitting boxer. The following boxers have been called (NOT BY ME) "One-dimensional": Ricky Hatton, Juan Urango, and Kelly Pavlik.

Overrated. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines the word "overrated" as follows: Have a higher opinion of (someone or something) than is deserved. After his tune-up fight against Forbes, I did read this nonsense: "Oscar de la Hoya is waaaaaaaayyyy overrated." How can a boxer that has defeated seventeen world champions and that has conquered so many world titles be "overrated"? Yes, there are a lot of overrated pugilists, but certainly DLH is not among them. The opposite term, "UNDERRATED", has been equally misused.

Exposed. This word is used to describe or reveal the true and typically objectionable nature of someone. Victor Oganov was exposed by Fulgencio Zúñiga. Wasn't he? Was Mike Tyson exposed by James Douglas? I do not believe so. Somebody had to shake his amalgams. Douglas did it, but Tyson will remain in the history of the sport as one -if not the most- feared boxer of all times. Long time ago I read: "I've seen Tyson's fights and he was defeatable, he was badly exposed". Wasn't this person misusing the term "exposed"?

Please, do not get me wrong. I am not saying that there are not "underrated", "overrated" or "one-dimensional" boxers. Of course there are! What I am saying here is that these words or ideas have been used, overused, and misused so much, that probably they no longer have the force they initially had and that we, boxing writers and followers, have to think at least twice before saying that X boxer is "waaaayyyyyyy overrated".

Article posted on 05.07.2008

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