Agony and ecstasy, Garcia sinks Campbell in 7

Like a pale martyr in his shirt of fire

A Life Drama (1853), Alexander Smith, Poet, 1830-1867

The pain etched across Luke Campbell’s face as he sank, first to one knee, and then to two, drew silence from those who have never experienced the agony his body was submerged in. Prizefighters and pugs watching on, winced. Phantom pangs, recreated by their memory, of an excruciating purgatory similar to that which Ryan Garcia’s whistling left hook had sentenced Campbell to.

A head shot is the more familiar path to a knockout, it draws a roar, an exultation from the gathered as the victim’s eyes roll, their legs fixed or shapeless at the moment of impact. Body shots are a seemingly clandestine conclusion, darker and a more gratuitous coup de grace the pain of which only boxing’s Templar can truly understand.

In landing the shot that inflicted this exclusive hell on the fallen Englishman, Ryan Garcia secured the statement victory his resume needed and substantiated much of the promise he is swathed in.

Continue reading “Agony and ecstasy, Garcia sinks Campbell in 7”

Canelo disarms and dismantles Smith. An education in pressure

There is no pressure at the top. The pressure is being second or third.

Jose Mourinho, Football Coach, 1963-

Many words and phrases enter into boxing’s lexicon. Some pass, like ‘drug cheat’, others linger, hold, like Henry Akinwande, and are as misunderstood as the heavyweight octopus too. Others feel contrived and crash against our senses like finger nails on a chalk board; “downloading data” one unpopular example, “purse split” another. Often these new terms describe something old, something eternal, but the descriptive refreshes and repackages the classic, adds a veneer designed to appeal to a younger audience and infer wisdom in the speaker.

Beneath this modernism, or bullshit as we used to call it, remains the skill, the truth, the meaning. In Saul Alvarez’s performance last night, dismantling a world class fighter six inches taller and with a barge pole reach, the flame haired Mexican added a 2020 definition to the often misunderstood ‘educated pressure’.

If you didn’t know what it meant, nodded bewildered on hearing the term used without appreciating what it looked like, how it could be distinguished from any other type of ‘pressure’, then last night was a definitive exemplar.

Continue reading “Canelo disarms and dismantles Smith. An education in pressure”

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