by Paul Strauss: When did take downs (ala MMA) slip into boxing contests? Boxing is supposed to be the sweet science confined to footwork, punching, blocking, and slipping punches and numerous other refinements. An occasional clinch is permissable, but when done in excess, penalties are imposed. But, “take downs” are strictly “verboten”. If a fighter wants to engage in such tactics, he is encouraged to take up a different sport such as martial arts or MMA.
Last night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, The Joint in Las Vegas, NV, Richard Abril 18-3-1 (8 KOs) was subjected to at least two successful take downs and multiple head butts on the part of Sharif “The Lion” Bogere 23-1-0 (15 KOs) Abril’s upright body was mauled by The lunging Lion and tossed down to the canvas. It’s probably doing MMA a disservice by comparing what happened in last night’s contest to MMA. No, what happened last night was just plain ugly. Abril was forced to do his best to ward off the flaying swings, head butts, attempted headlocks, and hip tosses engaged in by Bogere, which lacked the grace or nobility of a lion.
Apparently Bogere got confused. After all he was fighting in a place called The Joint. Maybe he felt justified in his attempts to gain the upper hand with less than skillful attempts, because his opponent enjoyed a five inch height advantage, and a longer reach. He soon learned Abril knew how to use both of those advantages to cause him great difficulty. To criticize Sharif Bogere and try to get readers to believe he is just a crude inexperineced fighter would be a tough sell. But, Saturday night, Bogere chose to put aside most of those skills, such as trying to skillfully slip punches, time his counters, and use well planned feints to freeze Abril, Instead, he did his best to imitate an out of control barroom brawler.
Saturday night, poor Referee Russell Mora was faced with the task of trying to administer some kind of fairness to the chaos. He couldn’t help but see that Abril, out of desperation to protect himself from getting mugged, engaged in grabbing and holding. For Abril, It was either that or get head butted, clubbed on the the back of the head, or wrestled down to the mat. Even so, Abril sustained cuts in the fourth and sixth rounds. Regardless, Mora felt he had no choice but to slap Abril with a penalty point. What did Mora hope would happen? Maybe the penalty point would teach Abril to stand there and take it like a man?
As the fight progressed, Bogere tired, and his wild bull rushes subsided a bit. Abril picked up on the lull, and stepped up his own much more skillful attack, using a long jab and accurrate right hands. Those crisp blows further slowed Bogere, and now he was the one holding. Mora saw his chance to even things up a bit, and this time slapped Bogere with a penaly point.
All the unpleasantness shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Afterall, it’s boxing, not wrestling, MMA, or barroom brawling. To describe Sharif Bogere as an unskilled fighter would be foolish, but Saturday night, he seemed to purposely set aside those skills, and engage in that kind of barrom brawl type b.s. Fighters who do so should be cautioned right from the get go by the referee. Certainly that is already done to some extent with the pre-fight instructions, but it needs to be done more effectively, and before the fighters ever leave the dressing room. They should be told in no uncertain terms that any attempt on their part to forego the rules of the sweet science, and attempt to turn the contest into something resembling a traffic accideent will be met with the harshest of penalties, up to and including disqualification. Then the officials should have enough guts to follow up.
For example, If a fighter repeatedly exhibits a tendency, intentional or not, to throw wild inaccurrate punches with such ineptitude that his body and/or head consistently crashes into his opponent, then the referee should advise him to take up another sport. It doesn’t necessarily have to be verbal, either. A good way of doing that would be to penalize the hell out of him, which Mora should have done with Bogere last night .
Obviously, Bogere has skills, but maybe he needs to be reminded to use them. It’s hard to believe any real boxing fan enjoyed watching the kind of crap passed off as skilled aggression last night. True effective aggression in boxing involves cutting off the ring, setting traps, timing, slipping and countering, and so forth. In other words, it involves skill and that’s why it’s called the sweet science. Science is supposed to involve knowledge, not ignorance.