— Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank
Pro boxing equals entertainment. It should not be confused with amateur boxing and its hit and run methods of scoring.
Prizefighting rewards the art of hurting another inside the boxing ring. Last week’s split decision win by Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez over Cuba’s Erislandy Lara proved that once again.
Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux (13-0 8 Kos) looks to show that he can deliver a pro performance against Thailand’s Sod Kokietgym (63-2-1, 28 KOs) on Saturday in Macao, China. The Cuban southpaw defends the WBO and WBA junior featherweight titles. UniMas will televise.
Can Rigondeaux change his conservative ways?
Rigondeaux comes from the classic school of Cuban boxing, which in other words means the elite amateur boxing style. I emphasize amateur boxing that teeters toward counter-punching and movement. The Cuban southpaw had more than 300 amateur fights so the style is engrained.
Pro boxing fans rarely favor this style. Yes, there is a slight percentage but they’re in the minority. If you put a dozen of those fighters in an arena you couldn’t sell many tickets. It’s not entertaining enough.
Floyd Mayweather employs this style but if not for a win over Oscar De La Hoya he would never be a huge ticket seller. Before that match in 2007, Mayweather fights rarely sold tickets. He blames Top Rank but he needed a big name that could sell tickets to fill an arena. The first time he filled the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was due to his Mexican opponent Jose Luis Castillo in 2002. But when he fought the exciting Diego Corrales there were a mere 5,000 fans in that same arena.
Last week Lara tried Mayweather’s formula but came up short. Technically Lara has the same capabilities as Mayweather but has less offense. The Cuban slickster thought he was gaining points for making Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez miss. But the objective is to score points by hitting and hurting your opponent. Lara’s combinations when seen on slow-motion replay showed that those speedy combinations were mostly missing.
So he missed gaining the decision. Had he employed Mayweather’s pot shot philosophy the Cuban would have run away with the decision. Canelo expected more action too.
“I thought he would fight me toe-to-toe,” said Alvarez.
In Macao, don’t expect Rigondeaux to come out guns blazing. Oh, he has the firepower but he’s much more careful than a bomb de-fuser.
“I plan to be more aggressive to be more impressive. But let me make this clear, I have been a world champion and an Olympic gold medalist for one reason – I do not make mistakes in the ring. I fight my fight, not my opponents’ fights,” stated Rigondeaux this week.
Need I say more?