Boxing: Exposed?

02.09.05 - By Travis Marks: Whenever a blue-chip fighter loses in a way that we don’t expect, the word oftentimes that comes up in conversation is “exposed.” The phrase usually goes fighter “A” exposed fighter “B”. Saying that someone was “exposed” means that they were sham not really that good. The fighter had pulled the wool over the eyes of the entire boxing collective, and finally someone had given sight to our blind eyes. Knee jerk reactions are now commonplace in this society. Instead of looking at an entire body of work, decisions are made on one or two fights.

When Roy Jones Jr. was shockingly knocked out by Antonio Tarver in the rematch of their ultra competitive first fight the word “exposed” popped its ugly head up. Boxing fans, writers and pundits alike began saying that Tarver exposed Roy’s glass chin. Somehow Roy Jones Jr. had gone 15 years as a professional hiding this incredible secret. Did people stop and think about the first fight between these two combatants?

The punched that knocked Roy out was a straight left. If you study the tapes of the first fight you would see that Antonio hit the former pound for pound king with many straight lefts while he laid exhausted on the ropes. Clearly buzzed on occasion Roy was never really hurt. At the end of the fight Antonio hit Roy with a vicious left as the bell rang, it stopped Roy in his tracks but Roy was never in jeopardy of going down. Roy showed his “beard” in that fight as well in many of his other bouts.

Former featherweight champion Prince Naseem Hamed was on top of the boxing world before he faced Marco Antonio Barrera. Barrera was known to be a guy who didn’t shy away from slugfest. He had engaged in toe to toe battles with Kennedy McKinney, Junior Jones and Erik Morales. Barrera was a great opponent for Hamed because after all, the Prince loved slugfests as well. When they fought Barrera boxed not slugged with Hamed and that left the undefeated champion bewildered. After Barrera was awarded Hamed’s title via unanimous decision it was the thought of many that the Prince had been exposed. Did people stop to think Barrera had switched his style up for that fight? Had it been considered that there was turmoil going in Hamed’s corner? The dismissal of Hamed’s lifelong trainer Brendan Ingle coupled with the unwise addition two top trainers (Manny Steward and Oscar Suarez) left the champion confused when he sought advice after each round during the fight. Hamed was not exposed he was just unprepared for the fight. He was never really hurt in the fight. He was not even down in the fight which had become common practice for Hamed in his fights previous to the one with Barrera.

After defeating archrival Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Shane Mosely was on top of most pound for pound lists. He was compared to two all time greats who shared the same moniker. Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard’s name came up time and time again as the boxing world reign praise on Mosely. But after Shane suffered his first professional defeat at the hands of Vernon Forrest, a man who had beaten him previously in the amateurs, it was thought of many that Shane had been exposed. Shane instantly was a fighter who could not beat tall boxers who had educated jabs. It’s amazing how short the attention span of the boxing public has gotten. Oscar De La Hoya is a tall fighter with an educated jab. Shane was able to beat Oscar. Shane wasn’t exposed he simply has a difficult style match up against Vernon Forrest. There is a popular truism in boxing that repeats itself over and over again that styles make fights. Shane Mosely versus Vernon Forrest is a true example of that. Eddie Futch who is an all time great trainer once said of Mosely, that he would either beat or given both Sugar Rays major problems if they ever fought but at the same time felt that Vernon would be Shane’s conqueror.

The word “exposed” should be used more carefully. In this age of internet message boards and short attention spans the word aberration seems to have been forgotten. Fighters should be judged more on what they did for their entire career instead of one moment.

Article posted on 03.09.2005

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