Monday, October 20, 2014

A touch of class for boxing

Saturday night on a two-fight card televised by HBO, the sport of boxing for all its bravado, machismo and at times unnecessary trash talking, demonstrated a touch of class in every sense of the word. Not, one, two or even three fighters displayed such class and charisma, but actually four featured fighters, three active participants and one interviewee, shed a positive light on a sport that could use one.

The first and probably most prevalent example was shown by featherweight champions Nonito Donaire and Nicholas Walters who fought for the WBA Super World featherweight title. This was an exciting fight, which resulted with the undefeated Walters (25-0, 21 KO’s) knocking out the former multi-division champion Donaire (33-3, 21 KO's). After a rock’em, sock’em back and forth five plus rounds, it was Walters who dropped Donaire in the sixth with a right hand that ultimately forced the referee to call a stop to it.

There was no argument from 'The Filipino Flash’ Donaire, but what came next was even better. First Max Kellerman interviewed new star in the making Walters, whom was not only gracious in victory, but praised Donaire for being a great fighter and champion and thanked him for the opportunity. Then Donaire, when asked by Kellerman what happened, gallantly stood there and openly said, “He kicked my ass.”

Donaire made no excuses, even when Kellerman offered a couple such as age or moving up in weight; as a matter of fact he responded by saying, "I trained extra hard for this fight." He too praised Walters for his skill and effort and afterwards, the two hugged (pictured above) and were overheard heaping praise upon one another. What stood out the most was Walters emphatically telling Donaire that he needs to quell any talk about retirement.

If that positive display was not enough, in between fights, HBO’s Jim Lampley interviewed current WBO World welterweight champion Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KO’s). Algieri, fresh off his upset victory over former champion Ruslan Provodnikov, is the next opponent for the ever-popular Manny Pacquiao. As Lampley asked the questions, Algieri responded eloquently.

Educated, well spoken and well mannered, he did not bite when Lampley tried to goat him into trash talking Pacquaio. Instead Algieri told Lampley, he genuinely likes Manny Pacquaio. He stated, “This is a sport; a competition. I don’t need to hate my opponent to go out and do my job."

Considering all the sudden notoriety that Algieri has received in the last few months, it’s refreshing to see fame has not polluted him; and after meeting this kid personally and talking to him back in May of this year, I don't think it will.

Finally, in the main event on Saturday, the sport's fastest rising star multi-organization world middleweight champion Gennady 'Triple GGG' Golovkin (31-0, 28 KO's, made quick work of his challenger Marco Antonio Rubio, finishing him within two rounds. Afterwards Kellerman interviewed the native of Kazakhstan in the ring.

Golovkin, not only displayed elegance while using his new found language of English during the post fight interview, but he acknowledged the large Mexican crowd in attendance in Carson, CA by speaking to them in Spanish; quickly endearing himself as a fan favorite among Hispanic boxing fans. Even his call out of Puerto Rican star WBC champion Miguel Cotto was done with the utmost respect.

So much for the foolish antics of a knucklehead like Adrien Broner or even the promotional nonsense at times by boxing's biggest star Floyd 'Money' Mayweather. Boxing definitely put its best foot forward in and out of the ring on Saturday night; best of all, it was done so by some of it's brightest young stars displaying a touch of class for a change.

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