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2 comments   Listen   Print   article:291498:7::0
In the Media

article imageOp-Ed: Age matters in boxing

When Pacquiao, 29, won over de la Hoya, 35, in 2008, some critics said Pacquiao fought an aging fighter. Another age discrepancy is apparent in a recent match.
The Pacquiao-de la Hoya fight became a one-sided affair which made de la Hoya surrendered in eight round - the first in his glorious career to back down to avoid being knocked off by a smaller, younger guy.
On Saturday night, May 1, 2010 two pairs of fights at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, a discrepancy in age matching once again had happened before our very eyes. First match was Saul Alvarez , 19, vs Juan Miguel Cotto, 36, and the other, Shane Mosley, 38, vs Floyd Mayweather, 32. Alvarez edged Cotto via a Technical Knockout while Mayweather outpointed Mosley most of the fight, except round 2.
Sooner or later an aging fighter will deteriorate no matter how well prepared he is during training. Come fight time it will be a totally different scenario. Not to undermine fighters who have aged and still going strong but no matter how we see them fight and win battles inside the ring, the physiological and physical conditioning would reveal its ugly head at crunch time like a candle slowly fading away. Muscle reflexes slow down, even the mind seems to dwindle because the mind is preoccupied more with the need to survive and defend itself.
Age discrepancy had caught up with Jose Miguel Cotto who was TKO'd in the ninth round after absorbing series of hard blows from Sau Alvarez. It was clear as the fight progressed, that Alvarez being younger than his opponent, had the plus factor.
The fight that didn't live to expectation between Mosley and Mayweather just became another one of those age-mismatched, one that could be judged as unconvincing. Mosley's old age was undeniably a negating factor to carry out further battle with a younger and dominant figure like Mayweather. The plan Mosley had against Margarito a year ago didn't work because this time, age had caught up with him.
Like the case of de la Hoya, Cotto and the rest of great fighters, like Tyson, Jones and Hopkins who thought that age wouldn't matter, really matters particularly when fighting younger and hungrier opponents.
Bottom line then is that the win of Pacquiao over Dela Hoya was a mismatched in terms of age and a doubtful win to accept. Similarly, the win by Alvarez over Cotto, and the previous mismatches due discrepancies in the age of the fighters that fought in the past shouldn't have happened.
The different boxing bodies that commissioned fights should look deeper into age mismatches rather than just body weights of the fighters. Perhaps over four years separating the age of fighters should not happen or when a fighter who reach the age of 35 should not fight a younger or older opponent if his age discrepancy is over five years than his opponent. With this policy in place, it will protect the health of the fighters rather than just fatten their wallet.
Meanwhile, in the same category was the win of Mayweather against Mosley. It was a doubtful win. One that should bring back therefore the negotiation for Pacquiao, 32, and Mayweather, 33, to square off, with or without the overly abused drug testing. With only months separating the age of the two fighters, fight fans will surely expect a real battle culled from youth, strength and conditioning without fear of who is older and wiser.
Because in boxing age counts no matter how we rearrange the equation.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
article:291498:7::0
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