The old saying ‘offense wins games and defense wins championships’ sure applied to America’s Super Bowl this year. The underdog Seattle team shutdown the favorite Denver team and their Quarterback Peyton Manning to secure the win! Before the game the Denver team was a 4 to 1, favorite with most believing that they would dominate and easily walk away with the Championship.
Parallels to this idiom exist in boxing, for example as a young fighter works his way up the boxing totem pole, it is quite common for him to have a lot of KO’s putting on an offensive show, neglecting defense providing entertainment value for the fans. As the fighter moves from prospect to fringe contender protecting that status becomes a priority because of the risk involved and the paychecks earned, so fighting with more defense takes place. Also at this level of development that same young fighter is fighting more skillful opponents who they can’t just blow out, there’s more give and take and taking less/giving more is the game.
As they advance from contender to championship fighter, they ‘tighten up’ up their fighting to another level, brushing up on their fundamentals fighting even more defensively. Taking one or more punches to land one of their own is no longer fashionable, all of the tough guys they fought on their way up who fight this way are now journeymen, gatekeepers or opponents for other up-and-comers. They on the other hand are championship fighters and want to remain in this league, longevity is also a concern. The paychecks have extra zeroes added to them and taking a serous beating can set this championship level fighter back months or even years. Starting at the end of the line isn’t an option after a well crafted apprenticeship and master status has been attained. The KO’s they were getting during their rise have diminished to a KO every now and then and going the 10 or 12 round distance is premium. What is also premium is not taking a beating along the way to a 12 round decision.
Holding an opponent to a low connect rate while connecting at a higher rate yourself is one criteria for getting a decision in a fight, it may not be exciting but it is TRUE! Slipping punches, ducking punches and catching punches, then countering, may not be as exciting as trading punches toe-to-toe, but it sure beats the alternatives; getting KO’d or worse complications that occur after some fighters leave the ring for good.
Getting hit a lot isn’t a good thing for the health of a fighter and only a small few fighters who are/were defensively challenged ever became champions or remained champion long. Just yesterday Canelo Alvarez stated that movement will be the key for him to defeat Alfredo Angulo, he knows standing there in front of Angulo trading punches isn’t to his advantage. In his previous bout against P4P King Mayweather, Alvarez was unable to hit the Mayweather with anything significant, but was also unable to get out of the way of anything that Mayweather threw at him. Angulo is a much bigger puncher than Mayweather!
Every fan wants an epic battle where the best man guts out an impressive toe-to-toe battle against his worthy opponent, defense be damned!
Every fighter knows to become or remain champion that defense is the key that will open doors to victory, longevity and legacy.