They say that mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship are crushing the sport of boxing. The cage fighters get to brawl like two guys in a street fight. The kings of the ring are limited to strictly punching with heavier padded gloves to find a way to out-point or knock out their opponent. Its true that ratings and attention have gone the way of the cage, but boxers fight for 12 rounds and can be saved by the bell…Don’t count Boxing out.
In case you missed it, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Productions was in Austin hosting the Lightweight Lightning at the Frank Erwin a few weeks back. I didn’t see Oscar, but heard rumors that he was in the building. However, during one of the fights, I noticed that, ex-champ, Jesse James Leija was in the corner of a San Antonio fighter. The early fights were a bit slow and fans became a little restless.
It got pretty funny when one of the drunk guys in the row behind us yelled out, “Throw in the flag!” His boy next to him begins to correct him, “Stupid, its throw in the towel. Not the flag.” Everyone within an earshot started laughing. This is known as a Wronger where I come from. Wronger – This is when someone messes up a known phrase or word. “Throw in the flag!” is a total wronger.
Back to the boxing…Austin’s very own, Jesus “El Matador” Chavez, was in one of the headlining fights vs Michael Katsidas. Chavez fought as he always does, in your face. He was determined to bring a victory for himself and the local crowd. Unfortunately, Katsidas had his number. Taking advantage of the fighting style and slowing age of Chavez, Katsidas charged at Chaves and bullied him around the ring. It almost looked like a UT secondary putting a shoulder on a wide receiver. He would charge Chavez, and drop his shoulder into him and push him. Chavez was unable to use his strength of dodging and weaving punches and then hurting and stopping opponents with his counter punches. Katsidas’ relentless, head-first attacks literally became the deciding factor in the fight when a head butt caused a gash to open up in Chavez’s forehead. The blindingness of the blood in his eyes and the frustration of finding the open shots on Katsidas drew Chavez and his corner to call it quits and not come out for round eight. It was sad to see this happen to one of Austin’s greatest champions, but it was a valiant effort. During the post fight interview, Chavez hinted at retirement.
Speaking of retirement, everybody reading this blog had to of heard that De La Hoya retired last week. It was sad because De La Hoya brought so much to the sport. Always battling with the better fighters of the day, he made money for Pay-per view and he made money for me. 😉 I loved it when my friends would bet me against him. Thankfully they have been too cautious to bet during some of his last fights and I got to keep my money. Oscar is one of the last fighters left of the great boxers of the late nineties and early millennium. Oscar won a gold medal at the Olympics, carried several title belts in different weight classes, and had some of the most memorable fights in boxing history. One of his most remembered fights was against the World famous, Mexican fighter, Jesus Chavez. Oscar demolished his childhood idol in a bloody massacre. He earned the respect of many, but also angered many of those that felt he should have taken it easier on Chavez. Chavez was aging and he had lost his speed and strength. De La Hoya was the new and younger champion of boxing and it seemed as if the Latino boxing torch was passed over to him that night.
Its interesting how life can go full circle and repeat itself. Manny Pacquiao reminded Oscar a few months back when he ran circles around him in the ring. Pacquiao was faster and stronger and frustrated Oscar to an 8th round TKO. Oscar hinted at retirement that day and we all know what happened. Pacquiao is the new star in the boxing’s lighter classes. He’s going to take on Ricky Hatton and this is going to be a thrilling show. Manny comes into the fight with a 48-3-2 record with 36 KOs. Hatton steps in with a nearly perfect record of 45-1 and 32 KOs. Manny uses his speed and strength and usually head hunts his opponents while Hatton is a stalker and a wrecking force to the body. This will be a good one…very technical, action packed, and someone is probably going down. Call your cable company, start the BBQ, bust out the drinks and kick back for the main event…Don’t count Boxing out!