Golovokin’s and Chocolatito’s Performances Continue the False Narrative of Exposed Fighters
The March 18th HBO pay-per-view delivered two fantastic fights to the boxing enthusiast.
Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) looked less than invincible–again–as he traded shots with Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29 KOs) in what turned out to be a much more even-paced fight than most figured.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-1, 38 KOs) continued his quest toward a perfect 50-0 in a tough-as-nails slugfest with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (48-4-1, 38 KOs), but came up in short in a losing effort via majority decision, despite taking headbutts at an alarming rate without any consequence from the official.
And then, as Jim Lampley so eloquently described George Foreman’s knockout victory over Michael Moorer in 1994, It Happened.
Boxing fans from all over the world were quick to get behind their keyboards and declare both Golovokin and Jacobs as fighters who were “exposed.” Once again, two prizefighters put everything on the line in one of the most dangerous sports around the globe, only to have every piece of credibility questioned, and oftentimes shattered, because in one fight, on a single night, their records were either met with a loss, or the overwhelming majority of public opinion believes they didn’t perform as advertised and somehow came up on the winning end of a decision deemed a “robbery.”
Robberies are going to happen. It doesn’t make the sport any better, but it’s not continuing to fall in line with the oft-used cliche of giving boxing a “black eye.” The sport has been around for over a hundred years, and in that time there have been questionable decisions, fights controlled by the mafia, fighters falling from phantom punches, and promotional bodies swaying judges to preserve potential future mega-fights down the line.
This doesn’t make every close fight a robbery. And it doesn’t make boxing crooked every time something of this nature occurs.
I understand that labeling a fighter as exposed after a loss or a less-than-stellar performance is the popular thing to do these days. But people need to get away from being so lazy in their assessment of a fighter, his or her strengths, or resume up until the time of being “exposed.”
Is it hard to believe that fighters are human? Boxing isn’t a video game. It’s not choreographed. You can’t play boxing–not at the level of any of the fighters on HBO’s pay-per-view card. Fighters can’t look like marvel comic heroes every time they step into the ring. And believe it or not, there are circumstances that fighters deal with leading up to a fight—making weight, personal tragedy, pre-fight injuries, and so on.
Losses are a part of the sport. It hardly means a fighter wasn’t worth a damn, despite winning 40 straight fights and claiming multiple titles along the way.
It’s very difficult–especially in today’s world–for a fighter to be matched up with nothing but top-ranked killers, back-to-back-to-back. Losing to a fighter that isn’t as accomplished or doesn’t have as much experience shouldn’t always lead to a fighter being “exposed” in the popular dialogue. Boxers don’t compete as often as players in the NBA, MLB, NFL or NHL, so it’s reasonable to view a major fight with a little bit more importance than say, game 69 of a 162-game season, but being quick to label a fight something it isn’t takes away from the sheer enjoyment of it, and the respect that should be shown to every fighter brave enough to step between the ropes and dodge punches for a living.
Boxing is very subjective, especially the writing about it, and that’s a layer that provides a lot of great debate and information to everyone who enjoys the sweet science. The human element of reacting to blood, sweat and tears shed by fighters when the lights shine the brightest should never be lost. But it doesn’t hurt to look at elements of the fight game through a different lens every once in a blue moon.
Try it next time.