Sunday, April 14, 2013

Efficiency is the Least Admired Skill in Boxing

Last night Guillermo Rigondeaux was the best boxer, hands down, in the world.   Whether he remains so (he's old, after all; a good deal older than his promoters would tell you) is neither here nor there.  He was operating at a level of sophistication, while reducing Nonito Donaire to a novice, that viewers (one of whom was Donaire's trainer, Robert Garcia) were ill-equipped to decode.  Unfortunately, boxing fans have been taught to value effort--the visible trappings of a struggle--more than they do consummate efficiency. It's not enough that a fighter is trying;  he has to look like he's trying.   So if a fighter doesn't move too much, doesn't throw more punches than are necessary, feints and drops his shoulders in subtle ways, and doesn't put himself at risk if there's a way not to, viewers grow restive, which is what they did last night.  I admit that it bothered me to hear the crowd booing the best performance in recent years.  People were disappointed that Rigondeaux didn't engage enough.  Why should he have?  He won every minute of every round, with the exception of being tagged with a hard shot that dropped him in the 11th (also largely unnoticed was that he was unhurt, and handily dominated the remainder of the round).  It's worth noting, too, that when Donaire opened the final round by going for broke, Rigondeaux immediately upped the ante and nearly scored a knockout (had there been a 13th round, it would likely have been the last of the fight).  


At 3:38 AM, Blogger Eddie Goldman said...

I'd like to see Arum shill Iole in the ring with Rigondeaux, whom they slam as "in no way an entertainer."


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