Opposite Day, Big Oops, Strong -vs- Slick, Googly Like Zab Judah, The Virtue of Toughness, and Other Thoughts

A few thoughts from tonight’s fight card:

  • The Chris Avalos-Chris Martin bout could easily have been a shutout.  Personally I thought it would be 8 rounds to 2 or 9 rounds to 1 in Martin’s favor.  It is absolutely inexplicable that judge John Mariano scored the fight 98-94 for Avalos.
  • Speaking of Chris Martin – Okay, the win against Avalos looks great on his record.  It’s a nice marquee win that won’t lose its luster.  But what on earth is the deal with coming in overweight to a title fight?  I know it was a minor title, but a title of any kind has to be respected, especially by a guy like Martin, who’s trying to make his way up in the world.  I hope that Martin learned a huge lesson from this experience, but since he won the fight and will reap the rewards of that win, he’ll probably forget to learn the lesson.
  • I was tempted to present the Lateef Kayote-Alfredo Escalera Jr fight as a strength versus slickness battle, but I’ve decided not to.  The fact is that although Kayote is strong as an ox and Escalera is a soft-bellied fighter with little muscle tone, there was really no discrepancy in slickness or craftiness.  Escalera was a little more elusive than Kayote, but not appreciably so, and Kayote showed some veteran-type craftiness in their fight.  Among Kayote’s tricks were these devious treats: (1) holding and hitting, (2) trapping Escalera’s arm under his own and hitting, (3) shoving with the shoulder to create punching space.  If slickness is defined as knowing how to manipulate circumstances to one’s advantage, Kayote has got plenty of slickness.  In fact the deciding factors in this bout seemed to be two: Kayote’s strength and Kayote’s conditioning (compared to Escalera’s lack thereof).
  • It doesn’t happen often that a fighter gets so out of equilibrium that he puts on a Zab Judah-like show, but we were treated to such a show from Daryl Salmon, courtesy of  Andy Kolle’s right hand.  I was unsure how Kolle put Salmon down, so I did the reporterly thing and asked.  “Right hand,” said Kolle.  “I missed him with a left and came back with a right.  Hit him right on the button – right on the chin!”  Since Kolle and Salmon were chest-to-chest when the punch was thrown, I couldn’t see Kolle’s right hand when he threw it.  Now Daryl Salmon is a credible fighter, but not a high-level fighter, so once again we resume hoping that a meaningful fight is in Kolle’s future.  We can expect Kolle and his team to be characterically tight-lipped about that, though.
  • Toughness is an interesting attribute.  Some guys have it, and some just don’t.  I happen to think that it’s something that you’re born with, which can be cultivated but not learned.  There was an interesting illustration of the limitations of toughness in tonight’s Vanda-Medina fight.  Medina came in grossly overweight and out of shape for his fight with the always-fit Vanda, and Vanda teed off on him for three full rounds before referee Joe Cortez mercifully stopped the punishment.  I have heard it said that in boxing, toughness is a great virtue in a fighter, unless it’s his only virtue.  Matt Vanda combines toughness with fitness, focus, and fury.  Medina was tough enough to take Vanda’s shots, but like a car hitting on only one cylinder, he didn’t last long.
  • Ismail Muwendo’s manager, Scott Tolzmann, wants you to know that he and Muwendo have Gary Eyer in their sights.  They have another opponent penciled in for their slot on September’s Seconds Out Promotions show, but the counterpunching slugger Eyer is their preferred target.
  • The next planned show here at Grand Casino Hinckley is a ways out – November 13th is the very preliminary date.  The next combat sports event at Grand Casino is probably going to be on October 2nd, and it may well be at the other Grand Casino – Mille Lacs.  Incidentally, I learned tonight why Grand Casino Mille Lacs doesn’t host boxing shows: the Mille Lacs portion of the reservation is dry and the Hinckley portion is not.  So at Mille Lacs there can be no liquor sales to supplement ticket sales as a revenue generator, and as we all know, money talks.
  • Tim Taggart Sr told me that his son had to turn down a spot on this card because of a religious obligation, but he will be back in the near future.  He also told me that Tim Jr is improving as a boxer, and that his fight this past spring against Nick Whiting was his first outing with a new, more professional style.  Taggart won that fight on May 22nd in Mahnomen decisively by unanimous decision.
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