Monday Morning Cornermen (Nov. 20 edition)

In this new section of The Sweet Science, we step back and take a critical look at the fights that took place on the previous weekend, we compare our own previews with the way the actual fights went on, and we take your opinions and questions (along with those of special guests) to create a final analysis to another weekend of boxing. Follow us every Monday at #MMCatTSS and @TheSweetScience , and send us your thoughts at diegomorillabox@hotmail.com

Death, Taxes and Tete 

If you’ve seen the already viral video in which South Africa’s Zolani Tete defeats Siboniso Gonya in 11 seconds with the WBO bantamweight title on the line, you probably already did the math. And there is only one possible result to this equation. It is truly, absolutely, most definitely and heretofore eternally impossible for anyone to one-up Tete in his achievement of defending a title with only ONE punch thrown, while limiting the opponent du jour to absolutely zero punches at all. In my Sunday Report Card I called Gonya’s lone attempt at anything resembling a punch a “measuring jab” that would actually be better described as a “one-rep warmup or stretching exercise, at best”. You take that pawing movement out of the picture, and what you have is the most literal one punch demolition in the history of championship boxing, period, bar none, sign-seal-and-deliver-it-cuz-this-is-it. A record? Yes. A breakable one? Nope. Even if someone manages to score a one-punch KO in less time, it’s still the same single punch performance! My advice, dear folks at Guinnes? Spend a little bit more on Mr. Tete’s printed picture for your wall of fame, because he’s going to be up there for a while now, with “a while” meaning “the rest of human history up until people stop punching each other,” which is pretty much another way to say “never.” Som’n like that.

Wake Up Calls for Everyone

A fighter rises from the canvas to stage a comeback rally and finally win the fight and keep his career alive. Sounds familiar? Well, there’s a reason for that. You saw that in every boxing movie ever, from Rocky to… well, Rocky VIII or wherever they are right now. And this weekend, you saw it in more than one main event from Ireland to Las Vegas. Frampton was dropped in the seventh and came back to beat Garcia. Nyambayar visited the canvas against De La Torre in the second and rallied to keep his “O”. And everywhere else, the favorites of the day got cut and hurt but persevered to keep their careers going. A sign of the times? Fights becoming closer and more competitive everywhere? Not necessarily. But it is always great to see the basic premise of boxing as the theater of the unexpected perpetuating itself in rollercoaster performances. It keeps fans engaged, fighters focused and screenwriters busy. Just another week of good, old, anything-can-happen boxing, that’s all. And when it is this good, you really don’t need anything else on TV.

Hey Mr. Wu… What Shall I Do?

Breaking news for this week in boxing and politics: a rich guy who jockeyed his way into a position of power failed miserably to produce any of the positive changes he promised to implement, and his grand plans to overhaul the whole system and make things great again ended in disappointment, failure, and ultimately impeachment. Yes, you guessed it: we’re talking about the departure of Mr. Ching-Kuo Wu (who else?) from the helm of the mighty mighty AIBA, boxing’s only governing body (the rest are “sanctioning bodies,” in case you wonder). The institution in question announced that both them and Mr. Wu have parted ways, somehow amicably, which means they’ve found a way not to sue each other for decades.

But this also means the end of Wu’s desire to basically own boxing, in all of its facets, forever. Wu’s master plan included the creation of the mildly successful World Series of Boxing, a semi-pro competition designed to “bridge the gap” between old-school amateurs and budding professionals by means of a team competition in which fighters retained their Olympic eligibility while collecting fees for each fight or on a yearly basis, and the catastrophic APB, a pro-style competition which was shut down recently for the foreseeable future, with no prospects of ever reviving.

Sure, AIBA as an organization is responsible for whatever happens to those competitions and the careers of those boxers who invested their time and effort in competing there. But right now it will be interesting to see how that once grand plan to finally unite boxing under one single FIFA-like institution worldwide will continue under the interim presidency of Franco Falcinelli from Italy, their newly appointed leader. Wu was known for collecting a lot of enemies by trying to force boxing commissions worldwide to pick between AIBA titles and competitions and the rest of the governing bodies, and now that he is gone we have to wonder whether this marry-me-now-or-lose-me-forever extortion scheme will continue.

Colon’s Misguided Struggle for Respect  

You probably saw the videos or the photos already: a man holding a large sign over his head is escorted out of a weigh-in ceremony by security, while protesting the presence of the fighter who ruined his son’s life. We’re talking about the heart-breaking flash appearance of Richard Colon, father of Prichard Colon, during the weigh-in of Terrel “Tyger” Williams in Flint, Michigan, last Thursday, before Williams’ fight against Rosemberg Gomez.

Colon made the trek from Florida to stage his protest in honor of his son, who is now in a coma and considered to be brain damaged to the point of being permanently committed to a bed, unable to walk or even talk. Colon’s situation is the result of numerous rabbit punches applied by Williams in their fight back in October of 2015, but as much as Williams is at fault for applying those punches, it is also the role of Joe Cooper, the referee of that fateful bout, and to a large extent of the boxing commission of Virginia, as well as its ringside doctor Richard Ashby, which should receive some extended scrutiny in this disaster.

Granted, Colon accepted to continue fighting after telling the doctors that he felt “dizzy and hurt”, and that places some of the blame on himself. But as much as Williams is at fault for defiantly punching Colon again after being warned by the referee, it is also true that Cooper attempted to dismiss the gravity of the situation by urging Colon to stop pretending to be hurt and to continue fighting. And as much as Williams deserves to be the subject of Richard Colon’s grief and rage, Cooper should be equally called out  for his role in the fight, as well as the state commission and every person involved (from cornermen to other officials) who failed to knock some common sense into a dangerous situation.

The seriousness of Colon’s injury and the gravity of the whole situation demands a greater analysis that exceeds the limits of this humble column. But as much as Williams is to blame for his arrogant and reckless behavior in the ring, there is an entire culture of misguided testosterone prevailing over safety procedures that begs for an immediate revision. Colon will be there, waiting for it, as a silent reminder of Williams’, Cooper’s, his own and, to a large extent, our own collective shortcomings.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

 

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