Boxers, the best of them, aren't like you and me.
In situations where you or I would cave in, capitulate, they soldier on.
So when a boxer appears to wave a white flag, and people perceive them to be “quitting” it sends a shockwave into some fans' minds. It is as if a minor God admits to being less than omniscient…
So, when Lucas Matthysse went a knee in round 10 against Viktor Postol on Saturday night, and didn't seem to be trying to get to two feet as the referee did his count, it affected fight fans.
This is “The Machine,” a guy cut from a sturdier brand of cloth than us mortals.
We perceived him to be a “go out on his shield” sort of guy, and he didn't…
Now, all of us know, or should, that it is of course easy for us to opine on that sideline. Easy for us to characterize a guy as “quitting.” But in the heat of that battle, we are not armed with all information available. Some more info became more clear when Matthysse told Max Kellerman after that he felt a pop in his left eye, and that because of that he chose to not fight on.
People heard that and shook their heads, some of them. The best in breed ignore those “pops,” don't they?
I think, in most situations, it is best to hold off on final judgement, if we feel it neccessary to render that, until we get all the info that can be mustered. To that end, I reached out to Eric Gomez, an exec at Golden Boy, promoter to Matthysse, and asked for an update on the eye.
“Lucas will see an eye specialist tomorrow (Wednesday),” Gomez told me. “He is still in pain.”
This a new age, one of enlightenment. Fans and athletes better understand the toll that blows to the head and body exact. That is good…But it has changed, I think, how some guys that might have chosen to be “go out on their shield” sorts of guys react when faced with a choice to capitulate and soldier on. It is a complex issue which touches buttons in us we aren't even aware of. It is in that context, that most complex context, that we are seeing this Matthysse capitulation issue.
Bottom line: let's see what his injury was before we stick a (permanent) label on the guy, if we feel the desire to do so.