30.07.04 – By Fred De La Riva: This last weekend we were supposed to see how much Bojado had progressed in his boxing career. The 21 year-old was called the “second coming” by many a fight fan. Hell, I’ll admit it. I jumped on the Bojado bandwagon too, but have since jumped off. It’s not because the kid doesn’t have the talent. On the contrary, he is blessed with great hand speed and good power. He has had a decent team behind him and plenty of television coverage, but he lacked one thing.
Some people call it “cojones”, while others call it desire. Still others call it a “warrior’s spirit. I just simply choose to call it heart. Don’t get me wrong. Anyone who steps in the ring is no chicken. Their job requires them to be hit in the face, the belly or even (gasp) the groin, but this article isn’t about that.
As soon as Leija began his counter attack to the body in the 3rd to 6th rounds, Bojado’s spirit left him. You could tell by the look on his face. Bojado wasn’t mentally prepared to be challenged by the 38 year-old Leija. No matter how much Buddy McGirt, his trainer, tried to keep in the fight, the “little voice” in his head wouldn’t let him and neither would Leija. Let’s face Bojado isn’t Evander Holyfield and he had as his opponent a man who had faced the legend Azumah Nelson four times.
And don’t think I am picking on Bojado, because I am not. A few day earlier I also witnessed the extremely talented Zahir Raheem virtually give up in his corner. If it wasn’t for the tremendous job his trainer did, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Raheem would have walked out of the ring. His raw talent gave Rocky Juarez fits and had Raheem had a bit more of “fight” in him (and a competent referee), he would have had an easy victory over Juarez.
As a fan, I tend to sometimes lose patience with these types of fighters, but I really shouldn’t. After all it is the fighters who risk their lives by getting their faces pounded, not me. All I do is pound these keystrokes onto my laptop, but I digress. Anyone who has been involved in a competitive sport, know that there comes a time when you are asked to reach deep inside, to ignore the pain, the fear and the fatigue. The most talented of athletes more often than not pass these tests, the rest of us don’t and so we become passive participants and maybe even just observers. In sport as dangerous as boxing though, not passing these “tests” and becoming a passive participant is risky. Bojado and Raheem should look inside themselves and really decide if this is the profession for them. These two young men have their entire lives ahead of them and it might be better for them to walk way from a sport that can be unforgiving and sometimes lethal.
The writer welcomes your comments.