Saturday, April 6, 2013

Brandon Rios vs. Alvarado: Where Are the Skills?

Was That Boxing?
What a disappointing boxing match between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado. Actually glorified street fight would be a better term for what I saw. Disappointing because of the lack of basic skills the two fighters, especially Rios, displayed. Not only are fights like that bad for the boxers but also bad for the sport of boxing.

Lack of Basic Skills
Boxing is not boxing until the fighters exhibit basic skills; otherwise it’s just a good street fight. Except for the occasional waving of his hands in front of his face, Rios does not know how to block or parry a punch, much less throw a counter. Alvarado is barely any better. And although Rios shows he can actually throw a decent jab, he rarely let it go. Round 9, for example, showed Rios throwing only 15 jabs (that’s 5 a minute), when he needed the jab to get inside Alvarado’s reach and close the distance. Rios' power punches would have landed more often after measuring Alvarado with the jab, keeping him unsteady and off balance. The best power punchers have always used their jab. Look at how Tyson used to get inside the reach of much taller opponents, or how Julian Jackson would measure his victims with jabs before knocking them out cold, and how Hearns would flick about his skinny left arm, covering his opponents’ eyes until that right hand put them to sleep .  

The punch stats also showed that Rios and Alvarado averaged only 5 body punches a round. The commentators were praising their toughness but what they fail to realize is that if either of the fighters worked the body early on, the fight would not have gone past 8 rounds. Rios never even bothered to cut off the ring to be  in a position to work Alvarado's body. Chavez Sr. (the real champion) worked the body of his opponents for the first three rounds, allowing him to stop 87 opponents, most notably when he knocked out Meldrick Taylor with only 2 seconds left. (Taylor lost nearly a pint of blood and was never the same again.)  Alvarado is given credit for using his legs and jab more often than in the first fight. That’s like giving credit to a basketball player that actually makes more free throws than he misses.

No Help To The Sport
Both fighters, but especially Brandon Rios, is doing nothing to improve the sport of boxing. Sure the fight can be called exciting, but so was the fight between SpongeBob and two ladies.
Boxing like that doesn’t show any real skills and gives the impression that boxing is just a matter of being tough. When that happens people tune out to see other tough sports, such as cage fighting, beach volleyball, and roller derby. Not only is fighting without basic skills bad for boxing, but also bad for the fighters’ health. As tough as Rios is, he will not be able to take those kinds of punches for too long. His matches along with the sparring which I assume is equally as defense-less, will take away any kind of career longevity and most probably cause health issues starting in his thirties. Weird thing is that Rios was a very accomplished amateur and was even an alternate on the Olympic team. No reason why he should be a head-first fighter. You can be exciting and have basic boxing skills. Just ask Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Julian Jackson, James Toney, JM Marquez, Sergio Martinez, and Nonito Donaire. Just don't ask Spongebob.

1 comment:

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