Ronda Rousey won’t be affected by her boxing, Holly Holm isn’t much of a puncher, Ronda will be okay.
Yep, that was a lot of the sentiment going into the biggest and most hyped fight in MMA history this past weekend between bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey 12-0 and former boxer/kick boxer Holly Holm 9-0.
Some even went as far as saying Ronda is a pit-bull and doubted that Holly could even hurt Rousey if she caught her clean. Holm, who was a former professional boxer and veteran of 38 fights, had only scored nine knockouts in the ring. So in the boxing world, Holm was considered more of a technician than she was a puncher.
However, even though women’s combat sports are still in their infancy, having fought 38 times as a pro boxer, one must conclude that for her era and time Holm is an elite female striker.
Having followed and participated in the sport of boxing for exactly 50 years, I’m amazed when I hear it said about world class/elite fighters that because their record isn’t littered with knockout wins, they’re devoid of power.
Statements like that project ignorance and a lack of knowledge. For the last 10 years I’ve had colleagues, friends and fans ask why opponents of Floyd Mayweather just don’t tear after him and take his head off because he can’t punch. In other words, “Mayweather doesn’t win by knockout so he cannot hurt you, so why not just go get him. Take a few of his shots on the way in because it won’t hurt or bother you…then give him a beat-down.’
Oh I love cookbook analysis! I think the same sentiment was going around when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Marvin Hagler. From ringside it looked as if Leonard couldn’t hurt the ever durable Hagler, so it should’ve been a piece of cake for Marvin to just go knock him out. The only problem was, Hagler never could pull it off and lost a close decision.
Here’s a newsflash, elite world class professional fighters can punch, every one of them! No, they’re not all walking life-takers, but they hit plenty hard enough to hurt and control any opponent they confront in the ring or cage. And when fighters the likes of Ronda Rousey aren’t used to getting hit by an elite striker, it hurts. And not only does it hurt, it often times causes them to panic, and that’s what happened to Rousey when two minutes into the first round Holm started to tag her on the way in with lead left hands from her southpaw stance. No, Rousey wasn’t in pain or discombobulated, but she wasn’t liking it and that made her more desperate to try and get close to Holm so she could take her down and keep from getting hit further.
As Ronda panicked from getting hit, instead of stepping back and looking for a counter strike or take down, she became more aggressive and started to move in faster. It was easy to see that she was a little winded after the first round but pressed even harder in the second. The problem for her was, she was coming in more wild and open, which made it easy for Holm to time her and nail her good on the way in. Actually, Rousey was missing and looked like Clubber Lang swatting at air against Rocky Balboa in the rematch of Rocky III.
Soon Ronda was throwing spaghetti arm punches that had no effect on Holly, who could see Rousey was really winding down. Finally, after peppering Rousey real good on the move from different angles, Holly saw that Ronda was nearly flinching while looking to defend herself; Holm staggered her for a second with a left hand and then finished her with a left round kick to the head. Rousey was finished and there was no need for Holm to even attempt to ground-n-pound her…it was over!
The bottom line here is, Holm’s punches bothered Rousey a lot and Ronda didn’t like it. After getting hit cleaner and harder than she had in any other MMA bout, Rousey panicked and came undone. Holm was cognizant of that and kept her cool like she often did as a boxer. Ronda made it easy for her by lunging like a street fighter and being wild, and that led to her getting taken apart and stopped.
As a boxer, Holly Holm isn’t much of a puncher…but put her in with someone like Rousey wearing 4 ounce striking gloves who hasn’t been punched by anything close to an elite striker in the Octagon, well, Holly looked like she hit plenty hard enough to hurt and control someone who was the supposed Mike Tyson of MMA, in Ronda Rousey. So much so Rousey wasn’t even nearly her toughest fight in the ring or the cage.
Yes, the record says Holly Holm knocked out Ronda Rousey with a head kick. However, in the second round Holm stopped and planted, catching Rousey with a beautiful hybrid left that dropped Ronda and basically had her out on her feet and falling all over. When she tried to steady herself the left kick finished her….but had Holly touched her with either hand after the final left, Ronda was going down and out just as she did from the kick.
I wonder if Ronda and her followers still think the 34 year old Holm can’t punch, at least hard enough to prevent Ronda from doing what she wants to do? Oh wait, there’s no need to ask Ronda that because we have the answer via the result of the fight and how it unfolded.
Yes, the former pro boxer who wasn’t considered a puncher knocked out the former baddest woman on the planet with one punch before she erased any and all doubts with a kick to the right side of Rousey’s head.
Holly Holm isn’t a debilitating puncher, but like in the ring, she proved in the Octagon that she punches plenty hard enough to win.
Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com