Sunday, December 16, 2012

Leo Santa Cruz Outlasts Alberto Guerrero

Love the bantamweights.  They don't rest;  they don't quit;  it's non-stop action.  That's the way it was in LA when CBS broadcast a free championship fight. It was the build-up to the CBS and Showtime broadcast of the Amir Khan comeback. 

A pure case of the prelim IBF championsip bouts topping the 'main event.'   The short of it is that  Leo Santa Cruz won a unanimous decision, but struggled in the early rounds, as Alberto Guerrero showed he knew what boxing was about.

Guerrero knew he couldn't slug it out with tough guy Santa Cruz so he boxed, and boxed,and boxed.  He did it well enough so that you couldn't accuse him of running.

 What Guerrero did was smart, and he had fast hands, fast enough to land deft combinations often enough to have Pauli Malignaggi, suddenly a boxing commentator)  praising him profusely. 

Malignaggi  had a bad case of wishful thinking, though.

Malinaggi obviously favored the hit and run style of Guerrero and was sort of praising himself by default.  I wasn't so much impressed with Malignaggi ever but I have grown to appreciate him.

he did a fair job of  providing commentary for the match, so...whatever.

Meanwhile, back in the ring, Santa Cruz has sustained some damage at Guerrero's sharp punching but the issue was always this: 

What would happen when Guerrero tired?

 He had never gone 12 and he began to slow in the middle rounds, and toward the end was getting tagged pretty much when trying to leave the engagement.   Santa Cruz seemed to have good luck firing the last punch, a left hook, as Guerrero ended his cobinations. 

Santa Cruz eventually broke him down and that was that. But both guys showed heart and neither had any intention of quitting.  Mexican fighters don't seem to have the word "quit" in their vocabulary. 

A cynical promotor might have called this IBF title fight "Class Warfare" or something similarly lame because the two fighters had vastly different backgrounds.

 Guerrero is a college boy, a middle class college kid who is also studying to be a lawyer.  But if his performance last night was any indication of future success, I'd say he'd be a bang-up shylocks.  He was strong, determined, and a "pretty fighter" with decent pop in his punches (though not a KO artist.)

Leo Santa Cruz had an interesting background story, too.  His was a narrative of crushing poverty and disappointment, the large family living in a small apartment until Leo's boxing proceeds allowed them to buy a small bungalow that was still crowded.

Leo's brother was supposed to be the fighter in the family but was diagnosed with Lupus.  So Leo Santa Cruz took up the family leadership, fighting for the family honor, for his brother's medical treatment, for better living conditions.

  I know a little bit of poverty myself, currently not so much, but early on I could go toe to toe with the best of them (and the worst).

So I'm glad for Santa Cruz who should go on to get bigger fights.  But Guerrero wasn't the type of guy you could pad your record with.  The funny thing was that, at the end, Santa Cruz felt he had to apologize for not knocking out Guerrero.

Maybe  he had metal fatigue.  The kid's a fighter.  This was his fifth fight in the 2012 year and he was looking like a champion.

Oh, and did I mention that Amir Khan KOd Carlos Molina in Round 10?  The boxing writers say Molina was overmatched. In other words, they gave Khan an easy fight to give him confidence.

Khan boasted to Danny Garcia, present at ringside, that he would have beaten him if they'd fought tonight.  But the night he did fight Garcia wasn't his night, as they put it in "On the Waterfront." 

"It wasn't your night, Kid.," Rod Steiger tells Marlon Brando.  So Khan's next fight will be the one that tells if he's on the "one way street to Palookaville," as the dialogue has it in the movie.

So I end with this terribly literary analogy.  I'm doing it on purpose.  I've lived it both ways.  And now I'm doing it "my way."  LOL.  Peace out.

No comments: