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November 06, 2012

EVAPORATING LEGACY, THE BOXING TOUR DE FRANCE
By The Nonpareil Hilario

Pierce Egan coined the phrase 'Boxiana' in the early 1800s. Let's consider this term for a moment... It conveys a sense of Wisdom, Purpose, and Purity.  Whereas 'Boxing' can be understood as the Rocky films—crude and bombastic. Boxiana harkens back to the days of Willie Pep, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis and even Jake LaMotta. As a result of this tutelage, Boxiana has air lifted thousands of boxers from poverty and resuscitated them financially.  There have been just as many non-participants who have benefited from the sport, whether through social, emotional, economical, psychological or spiritual. Collectively, they should represent the sport with the same gratitude owed to purposeful parents. For the viewer and writer, Boxiana should firstly demonstrate will and grace; that when two men are engineered properly, they can attain degrees of true fistic poetry—as profound and moving as a Wordsworth or a Hughes.

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We should all view any successful professional who can honestly claim countless 15 round fights in their resume with higher esteem. They are physical versions of the seldom unseen calm before the storm. Their team of brilliance consists of corner-men who are the members most trusted to offer comfort to the boxer’s life during battle. These angles are underappreciated by many pundits and television network executives.

Good has been replaced for great; due diligence replaced by cut and paste.

Previously, I wrote two articles that educated fans regarding a good boxer, Floyd Mayweather, and his carefully maneuvered career since 1999—while avoiding his most threatening peers to date. Without bias, Pound for Pound, the Best Manager and Fraud Alert chronicled that Floyd's deception is equivalent to Lance Armstrong's Tour De France scandal. Floyd managed to miss, an unprecedented  eleven viable opponents of substance, while Lance rode the tour using substance. Both are a disgrace to the sport that befriended, clothed, nurtured and fed them. As microwave dinners slowly replaced home cooked meals, so too has the Internet and social media morphed Runyonesque journalism to biased analysis—remote control research. Websites merely cut and paste the others story and sprinkle a few different words to distinguish themselves.  It’s easier to repeat one another, thereby creating a myth that Floyd is “great” and the number one pound for pound fighter for nearly a decade. These pundits have acted with Watergate-type negligence. They refuse or are unable to be creative in thought and assume their individual stance to bring education and integrity within their coverage.


The only exception that comes to mind is Springs Toledo, who spent his own low income dollars to fly—with lady friend in tow—from Massachusetts, to Colorado, and back to Massachusetts, all to bring you archived facts for the Jackie Chase story. He also spends countless hours in Harvard's library so you are enabled to walk five feet from your bed -to your laptop and read another unearthed gladiator that clearly deserves your attention. He always introduces a fresh topic, doesn't mention racketeer acronyms disease, and brings justice to an otherwise forgotten gem, all while their survivors can re-live the glory this family member contributed to Boxiana.  I speak of his unique and timely series on The Black Murderer's Row and sending The Cocoa Kid to Boxiana's International Hall of Fame, among other new language dissertations he's presented.

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I was compelled to write this third installment because people are still crediting Mayweather—even now—with impressive ring generalship. The height of ring generalship is measured by the content of your adversary.  A pertinent example would be the ring generalship of Ray Leonard -Thomas Hearns 1.  This was a confrontation that made both men fistically confess to one another as often—and as fluidly, inevitably, rhythmically—as the changing of the tides.  Or more recently, what Sergio Martinez demonstrated while charming Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams, twice.  Chad Dawson, while still under his winner's high after dethroning Bernard Hopkins, challenged Andre Ward.  Unlike Floyd, Dawson dared to be great by seeking the most dominant boxer within weight range.  Mayweather has never shown the willingness and eagerness that Chad orchestrated and carried out.  Ward's ring generalship should be praised.  If Dawson experienced weight issues, its irrelevant.

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Today, top paid boxers are often labeled ‘past their prime’ by these repeating journalists who creep into the fans’ minds, hypnotizing them.  Due to their employers (more often than not) being ESPN, Showtime, or HBO, the fan, including boxers themselves—think that these talking heads must have an ‘in’ on information. Remember folks, TV often means tell-a-lie-vision.  It has taken your capacity to separate fact from Floyd.  Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto aren't passed their primes anymore than Archie Moore was when he beat Joey Maxim in 1952.  Six years later, in December 1958, Moore went up and down like an elevator versus Yvonne Durelle to win this historical bout in Canada.  Ol' Arch near the end of his career, was 46 years old with 184-22-9 when he drew with Willie Pastrano, then 26, who boasted a record of 54-10-6. It seems that today's journalists don't go further than their high school diploma in boxing education.  Too often they don't factor in the decision or resilience of a boxer if he chooses to dig deep on any given night, like when Pete raided Oscar De la Hoya in 1997, or more recently, how Vic Darchinyan demoted Luis Orlandito Del Valle. Another is when James Douglas’ belief in self overthrew Mike Tyson's invincibility for an unforgettable night in 1990.  James' inner resolve was not only an unseen force, but the media cannot empathize with a boxer’s psyche, especially without having their own ring experiences to draw upon.  Their story deadlines clutter their lifelines, and dims their analyses.  The fact James' mother had just passed away was the hint of the storm to come—the tragic calm before the inevitable destruction.  Going in, very few saw this; as a result, Buster made many eat crows feet.  As a result, this has been historically deemed an ‘upset.’  Respectfully, upset would’ve been the proper term if James was a one-leg amputee, but the media creates misconceptions that fans—over time—become slaves to.  If Tyson at that time was pre-occupied with fame, material gain, and vaginas, it’s irrelevant.

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If Margarito hired a third-party skillful engineer to incorporate height, reach, and balance stratagems to defeat Manny Pacquiao, it would've have served him well.  Tony is in pre-school compared to Archie Moore in boxing years; he has less than 60 bouts as a pro, no 15 rounds under his belt, and is fighting on today’s twice-per-year schedule. Manny's impressive ring generalship dwarfed Antonio size advantages.  When Cotto jabbed, he made Manny think and readjust.  Manny's ring generalship discouraged Miguel from using the most significant punch in boxing and the easiest punch to throw without exerting yourself heavily during a contest.  Miguel stopped using his navigator and got tangled in Manny’s mangle.

Today's boxing coverage has manipulated and insulted you the fan, insisting that ‘past his prime’ is a realistic bar of decline.  In an era where twelve frames is the maximum duration, and many ‘top level’ buxehjous (a term meaning boxers in Kriolu, The Nonpareil’s tribal tongue) compete once or twice per year, it's very difficult to note where or when a man has slipped until he's fully and fundamentally fallen. A good example is Hopkins looking younger than Dawson in their sequel.  Here are several reasons why a boxer gets ‘old’ while young: their ‘between fights lifestyle’ begins taking a toll over years, in far more profound and impactful of a way than in-ring performances and/or outcomes do, coupled with poor nutrition and sleeping habits.  In addition, a plateaued boxer becomes a dull spirit.  John Ruiz and Micky Ward were after the midpoint in the careers.  Currently on this path one can find the Klitschko brothers, Nonito Donaire, Canelo Alvarez, Mayweather and Brandon Rios.  They are not progressing to Boxiana’s Ph.D.  A boxer—who continues to fight while not refining their inner and outer gifts—is a predictable foe (Glen Johnson) and a most critically, danger to themselves, and the sport they profess to love.  Hopkins, it seems, always wants to learn.  While everyone is stuck on his age, and focused on the inevitable rise in his years, they fail to recognize that Bernard is sharpening his skills, hardening his body to the demands of Boxiana—they fail to notice that as the years inevitably increase, so to does his IQ.  After hearing me explain why it is absolutely critical to transform a boxer that desires evolution, Willie Pep Jr. quipped “Hilario, I remember my father and Bill Gore going over a brand new way of delivering the jab...and this was well beyond 160 bouts into his career.”

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Dan Rafael and Steve Kim on Jim Lampley’s show agreed on the ‘been there done that’ adage that has been making the rounds on the Boxing Media circuit regarding Manny’s decision to face nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez a fourth time.  Neither man has beaten the other convincingly, so why not attempt to settle matters?  Floyd never accepts a threatening foe, but Manny is ridiculed for accepting a threatening foe - a fourth time!  This writer is not comparing Mayweather to Pacquiao, or vice versa; rather, merely analyzing the treatment these men receive..

Mayweather has been outlandishly praised for ring generalship against selected name brand opponents; this includes Shane Mosley and Cotto, both warriors, and years past their most threatening days—days when it was feasible that they would have shown Floyd his own limitations, and forced him to prove, to both himself and the public, how he would've handled himself.  Sadly, time is closing in on a potentially false legacy, one that has not only robbed the public of era-defining fights, but stolen from Mayweather the very thing he most bombastically asserts—greatness.


You’re surrounded! Come out with your hands up, … and step away from the Mayweather ether!

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Send questions and comments to: Hilario@Think1stBoxing.com



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