Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Roberto Garcia VS Norberto Gonzalez: ESPN Makes Good Pick, Judges Make Good Scores

If we're being realistic, what we had for a main event was two men who are definitely not likely picks for future world titlists at any of the weights they are accustomed to fighting in. I get that. That said, this seems to be a talking point amongst fans and their judgment of how good a main event this made for ESPN. I say we got a very good main event and that it was predictably good. It's true, these are not likely future world titlist level boxers, but they are more than good enough to make an excellent fight and they were clearly well-matched like you could have predicted. These men have exactly what you need for a good main event. Boxing fans are often the hardest to please of all sports. That is not ESPN's fault here. While they may have not done themselves any favors in allowing Roberto Acevedo onto their broadcast, they made a good value pick on Garcia/Gonzalez.

What I like about what happened is that Gonzalez is very similar, although probably not quite on the level of super middleweight contender Marco Antonio Periban, who I feel is a bit more likely to pick up some major title somewhere. He moves and fires quick, educated combinations with great discipline, great consistency, regardless of the difficulty in doing so. He can do it while hurt, he can do it while exhausted. He's a pro. The fact that he just didn't seem to have the pop in his punches to deter a tough guy like Garcia didn't stop him from doing what worked from the standpoint of scoring. From Garcia's end, he is disciplined as a patient, confident stalker. He's underrated in what he does. While he was at a disparity in speed and maneuverability, he didn't let it bother him. He knew he could take Gonzalez's shots, he knew he could hurt Gonzalez when he got off flush and he never seemed to waver from that understanding. It takes a strong mind to keep up the fight he needed on Friday night and he had it.

This was a very interesting match of men and even though Gonzalez seemed to genuinely and strongly disagree with the decision (as opposed to putting on for show), I felt it was on the money and that Garcia had just pulled away down the stretch. I didn't have him ahead by much because it was only ten rounds but I did have him ahead and I strongly believe if it were scheduled for championship rounds he'd have broken Gonzalez down, for as little as that might mean now. They were in the same neighborhood on skills but Garcia was simply built tougher and it made the difference, it looked to me, narrow as it was over ten. Sometimes all it comes down to is taking it a little better and giving it a little harder.

As with close fights, there were plenty of fans calling "robbery" no matter how ridiculous that is. I don't feel Garcia got enough credit for shots that were bouncing off his guard. He took plenty of shots but he wasn't careless in there. It was still very, very close and I can see it scored other ways, especially with the point deduction, which was valid enough. Garcia was pretty roughhouse but it wasn't anything to get up in arms about. The referee kept it from getting to that point. A split decision is about what I had expected and that's just fine with me. Good judging.

Congratulations to Garcia for staying in the fringe, to Gonzalez for raising his stock when television gave him the opportunity, as I see it, and ESPN for seeing a small diamond in the rough-the rough being what you have when your budget doesn't allow the star roster available to the likes of HBO and Showtime. This match may not have been a classic but it was damned good. I'm up for seeing both of these fellows again.

Please note: Boxrec currently has an error, saying that Gonzalez is the one who had a point deduction. It was Garcia, for a shove with the left elbow after largely a night where Garcia did a lot of bumping and shoving off to create space. Like I said, he was fighting roughhouse but it was kept in check.

Teddy Atlas' unofficial scorecard:

Total Score: 96-93

Garcia Rounds: 3-6, 9 & 10
Gonzalez Rounds: 1, 2 & 7
Draw Rounds: 8

Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing

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