BoxingWriter.co.uk Fighter of the Month – January 2021

The year has begun, though fights have been sparse there has been sufficient highlights among them to rekindle the long since dormant BoxingWriter.co.uk Fighter of the Month. An award with a parade of the great and garrulous among its previous winners, none of whom were aware of their success nor received any prize of garland for the achievement. But don’t let that distract you.

In 2018, the award briefly reemerged in an amalgamated form with MyFightTickets.com, where a three-man panel decided on the winner. However, this latest reboot of the original 2008 concept will return to that simpler myopic format.

There were two performances that caught the eye in January 2021, though I was sad to read Cosme Rivera’s fight was postponed. The 44 year old was a strong contender for this prize regardless of the outcome, for I had a nostalgic yarn to weave about the veteran Welterweight.

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Garcia dares where Spence and Crawford dither

No time like the present

Mrs Manley, Novelist, 1663-1724

On the 17th December Manny Pacquiao became 42. This week marked 26 years since his professional debut. In the period in between he has boxed 71 times. All of these numbers are remarkable. In the modern era, they are other worldly. A pandemic halted his latest run in the Welterweight division and Conor McGregor’s humbling last Saturday has likely cost the Filipino Senator his largest available pay day. Perverse though the idea of their meeting was.

There is now a strong suggestion Pacquiao will face Ryan Garcia, a fighter not born when the first of those 71 contests, a four rounder on 22nd January 1995, took place. It is hoped the match will be the genuine article, a Lightweight upstart venturing to Welterweight to unseat a legend, and not the exhibition tag subsequently tied to the proposition.

Sure, we’d prefer a lightweight round robin and Spence v Crawford, they’re the earnest, timeless match ups boxing craves. But complain about Pacquiao v Garcia? Come on.

Continue reading “Garcia dares where Spence and Crawford dither”

Conor, the boxing conman, departs. Garcia and Pacquiao to reassert boxing’s authority

As blood seeped from his nose, the veneer of alpha stripped from his name and with millions of dollars leaking from his future, Conor McGregor lay prone on the canvas. Pain flooding in beneath the Trojan horse of disorientation that smothered his senses. The Irishman appeared to pause. At first in shock but then with a sense of revelation, of the realisation that he was no longer what he was or what he thought himself to be.

Damage was smeared across his features. The malevolence of his persona hacked out by the fists of a capable opponent. Faces, familiar and new, bobbed into view. McGregor continued gazing toward the lights, perhaps beyond, like a husband outside a shop, staring to the heavens, contemplating whether he’d remembered everything on the list he’d left at home.

Dustin Poirier’s punches had pummelled McGregor’s to defeat. An upset victory that changes much in the world of MMA, and perhaps too, the boxing world McGregor was planning to return to.

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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”

Ryan Garcia, along with his doubters, will discover the truth tonight

The wait in the dressing room before a boxing match — that last hour — would be enough to strip a man that never boxed before of whatever pride, desire and heart he THOUGHT he had.”

‘Iceman’ John Scully, Boxer, 1967-

The period before a fight always strikes me as the most fascinating human experience. Not one I would wish to submit myself too. As someone averse to rollercoasters or any other pursuit in which there is no side door, no coward’s exit, the notion of spending the hours of fight day contemplating the impending confrontation strikes me as the most haunting examination of a man’s psyche.

And your preparation. The truth of whether you’re ready. Not the ready of the press conference answer, the ready that only you, the one who must climb the steps and perhaps the man beside you, really knows.

Tonight, 22 year old Ryan Garcia will make that walk, spend that day, as will Englishman Luke Campbell, both have doubters, both will surely have doubt whispering to them too.

Continue reading “Ryan Garcia, along with his doubters, will discover the truth tonight”

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