Boxing is kind of like Hip-hop in a way that there is something for everyone. But more so in the fact that there is gold if you keep digging.
Last weekend’s fight was a debacle, and it was embarrassing for the sport. I really feel bad for the people that was looking forward to seeing Chad Dawson do something and for someone like Bernard Hopkins to bring in that kind of fight. What was gold was what my fellow writer Critical Optimist deems our newest instant classic: Llinares/DeMarco.
I won’t repeat what has already been said, but I can’t help but feel like what I watched was a ghost of boxing’s past. Indeed, after a quick search of boxings 100 greatest of all time, who I was looking for came into clear view: Alexis Argüello , also known as El Flaco Explosivo. Passing away just two years ago in a shade of controversy, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a similar slow-starting, high-pressure, and highly adaptive style fueled on pure focus in Antonio DeMarco. Only possible through mentally muting the increasingly incompetent HBO boxing announcers and our generation’s obsession on sports statistics, looking at the Llinares/DeMarco fight was more a demonstration of a breaking of will rather than the display of some so-called technical excellence the announcers praised Llinares for. DeMarco picked his punches well, each punch seemingly equivalent to some 20-odd punches in Llinares’ numerous flurries. Each of DeMarco’s punches had murderous intentions, while Llinares’ punches were mere flicks trying to increase his tally of punches as if that was the contest they were having.
I can’t berate Llinares’ too much, he is an excellent, highly-skilled fighter that no doubt learned immensely from this fight. His style might have suited a slower slugger like a lightweight version of Maidana, for he would have fell with his pretty uppercuts. I just feel that our boxing media has leaned too much in the favor of the so-called “high-action” fighter which has now lost almost all its meaning after the Llinares/DeMarco fight. “High-action” fighters will still get worked by a fighter focused on getting his or her punches in a place where you’ll feel it, the fans feel it, and then the opponent feels it. Its a punch coming from the soul and resonates through, giving primal satisfaction to all who witness it.
Admittedly, Pacquiao is to blame for the sudden breeding and promotion of “high-action” fighters. Manny’s high volume punching stats hides the skill involved to will these punches towards the jawline, not the cheek, and the temple, not the ear. Those punches are what get heard loudly when witnessed, profoundly more than stats distributed to hungry pundits online the morning after.
All in all, you now gotta respect what the olden ages refer as “busy” fighters in Alexis Argüello (when provoked) and Aaron Pryor, in one of my favorite historic fights of all time. These guys would’ve easily broke the compubox, which’ll get confused since every punch is a power punch. And yes, that’s for not 12, but fourteen rounds. It’s easy to wax nostalgic on those days, when all that was on TV on fight night was the round and the time remaining, and that was only when the round was ending. Now our screens are littered with things that really don’t matter in what is supposed to be a fight between two people. sigh. Thank God for Antonio DeMarco and long live the fighters who fight with their souls in their fists, may their fights be remembered in motion rather than statistics.