The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Weekend Thoughts

– All I have to say about the Jens Pulver speech is: Terry Funk.

– Miguel Torres. His fight was interesting as one half of tonight’s accidental seminar on footwork (more below) but as it pertains to him alone- he’s in trouble. There is no shame at all in losing to Joe Benavidez and Brian Bowles, excellent fighters both; but the way Torres lost those two fights, especially tonight’s, could speak to some bigger issues. Getting KO’d by Bowles was a function of how hard the (now former) champ hits and how low Torres holds his hands and how little he moves his head- it’s a technical issue for the most part, and thus solvable with some technical refinements and an adjusted game plan. But you always learn a lot about a fighter in their next fight after a first KO loss, and what Torres showed tonight was not so good.

Instead of keeping his hands up and moving his head more, or adjusting his striking range against a much shorter opponent, he mostly just ran. There’s circling and footwork, which is done for a purpose; Dominick Cruz and Devon Alexander demonstrated good examples of that tonight. But moving around in a way which does not initiate any attack or clearly stifle a particular strategy of the opponent is not an example, and by doing so Torres completely conceded the initiative to Benavidez who was able to pick and choose his times for kicks and shots. The old Torres took a risk of being KO’d, but was aggressive and dangerous as a striker; tonight’s version looked so spooked at that possibility that he lost much of his aggressiveness and was outstruck by a guy with far fewer tools. Put succinctly, he looks gone in the head. Losses can be come back from, indeed rather easily in WEC where few fighters have the star power of Torres; but once a fighter is mentally rattled as Torres appears to be, that’s a harder problem to shake. Right now, he needs his next 2 or 3 fights to be smaller affairs lower on the card against non-strikers, to let him regain his confidence and work out a new technical approach to the standup game. In a year he can be back to title contention.

– Devon Alexander looked fantastic tonight, which is to say he looked the way he usually does with a few added improvements. He got hit, and hit decently hard, by a strongish puncher in Juan Urango, but he took it very well- says a lot for his chin. More importantly, when you break it down there’s an additional insight into mental toughness and boxing ability to be gleaned from that aspect of his performance. The punch Urango found the most success with was a right hook, thrown lunging as a lead against Alexander’s circling retreats to his right. And yet, Alexander- who has a good trainer and is a smart guy- did little to adjust to that punch. Why? Because he was baiting him. Alexander’s best punch the whole fight was a counter to the Urango hook, as Alexander would quick-stop his retreat at times and plant briefly to throw a hard right uppercut against a lunging, off-balance and shorter opponent. Alexander wobbled Urango a few times with the punch, at least as often as he mistimed his counter and was hit with Urango’s cross, and the punch which caused the first knockdown and for all intents and purposes ended the fight was the uppercut thrown precisely that way. It was a perfect trap, offering Urango his best chance to be effective at the cost of exposing himself to a risk greater than the reward he gained by taking advantage of the opportunity. It was really masterful boxing, and a perfect example of aggressive counterpunching at work- a far cry from the dipsy-doo jab-grab-and-dodge machine Alexander has been at times. If he keeps fighting this way he’ll have the style as well as the ability to be a real star.

– A word on footwork as well. Alexander as noted used his footwork perfectly to set up his offense and largely nullify Urango’s, forcing the man into taking counterable risks. That’s ring generalship and effective use of footwork within a fight. Compare again to what Miguel Torres did, which was a fine example of bad footwork: he would circle circle circle, stop, and then charge in along straight lines. He did nothing to force Benavidez out of comfortable positions or into excessive risk-taking, could not really control the timing of the fight as Benevidez was still able to get in with leg kicks when he wanted and get the big takedown in the second round, and set up very little offense of his own. What did all that circling achieve? Just because you’re moving, doesn’t mean you’re going anywhere.

– Scott Jorgensen is an utterly terrifying man, a skilled and athletic fighter on a great run of late. The visual impact of him dropping his semi-conscious opponent in a heap and casually walking off after only 31 seconds of the first should help make him a star, and given the general chaos at bantamweight these days, why not give him a title shot? Bowles could be out for a while, Torres just lost, Cruz already beat Benavidez….

– I should say something about the Showtime boxing card, but what is there to say? The Darch is still an awesome fighter and looked as good as ever, the kid he fought is triple-tough and has an unreal chin, the opener was a great fight with another insane and fucked up robbery on the cards at the end. That’s boxing. I just hope they get their shit together and finally make Darch-Donaire II. That fight needs to happen.

– And finally: the best comment ever.

All in all an educational and entertaining weekend of fights.


March 7, 2010 - Posted by | Boxing, MMA

1 Comment »

  1. Donaire is afraid of the reckoning!!!

    Comment by Tony M. | March 7, 2010 | Reply

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