Boxing: Stalk, Stun and Close

By Ted Sares: Destruct and destroy.

--Marvelous Marvin Hagler

There are few things that sap the morale of an opponent more than knowing from the start that the most he can achieve is to keep the deficit respectable.

--Mike Casey

For all of the years that I’d seen him, Monzon never gasped for air, tired or opened his mouth gagging for oxygen in any round.
--George Diaz Smith

There is something primal about seek and destroy fighters that reminds me of the Discovery Channel. Who can forget Julio Caesar Chavez‘s invasion of his opponent’s privacy, his unwanted contact, his savage execution?

Fighters like Chavez, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Roberto Duran, and Khaosai Galaxy, to name a few, defined this style during their respective reigns of terror. They would start the chase as soon as the bell rang cutting off the ring and getting closer and closer until they made initial contact. Pipino Cuevas (pre-Hearns) was a classic tracker who instilled fear in his opponents and rendered them vulnerable with his jack hammer left hooks. He then dispatched them with no further adieu. Their “track them down and execute style of fighting” has become a part of fistic lore.

One of my favorites was Carlos “Escopeta” Monzon who seemed to push his punches and seemed stiff as he kept on coming, but ”seem” is one thing and “reality” is quite another. Once he commenced the stalk, few escaped. As fellow-writer, Mike Casey puts it, “Not to put too fine a point on it, there were times when Carlos Monzon looked downright ordinary when viewed through a strictly technical eye. Perhaps that is what threw so many people in the early days and what continues to throw the new generation.”

Another favorite was Galaxy. Sometimes called “The Thai Tyson,” this predator possessed embalming fluid in his fists. With a staggering KO percentage of 86%, he had one-punch knock out power. And, like a spider paralyzing its prey with a sting, he could stun an opponent with a single punch, setting him up for the end. When this happened, his fists and arms would be held high ready to cut loose. As he got close, he would impose his tremendous physique and the frenzied Thai crowd would be up and roaring. He became the very essence of a stalker closing off the ring, making contact, and quickly accomplishing the close with a variety of power shots thrown with uncanny accuracy and evil intent.


These days, Kelly Pavlick and Antonio Margorito are premier “stalk stun and close”

types offering fans a particularly thrilling kind of bout. With a backdrop of "Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!" rocking the arenas in which he did (and does) his work, Miguel Cotto tracked and destroyed such tough fighters as Zab Judah, Carlos Quintana, Kelson Pinto, Gianluca Branco (stopped for the first time in his career), Mohamad Abdulaev, Randall Bailey and Cesar Bazan. But then he met Margarito who has refined and perhaps redefined the technique.


By now, all serious fans are familiar with this monster’s style of starting slow but using a high punch volume and incoming pressure to wear out his opponents setting them up for brutal closure.

But there are three addition factors that accentuate his particular brand of seek and destroy. First, his granite-like chin allows him to keep the pressure on; secondly, his stamina is great and he gets stronger as the fight progresses; and thirdly (and most startling), is his unique way of virtually jogging after his tiring foes, something guaranteed to deplete anyone’s spirit. Michael Katsidis is another who does this, but he doesn’t have the chin to compliment it.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Monzon, Galaxy, Cuevas, Duran, Chavez, Katsidis, Cotto, Pavlik, Vic Darchinyan and others seem to belong to this special club. But now, an incoming force out of Tijuana who continually attacks until his opponents can no longer continue has become president.

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Article posted on 02.08.2008

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