The Hurtin Game

Photo by Al Applerose

The Hurtin Game GGG Style

By David A. Avila

Is there a difference between prizefighting and boxing?

Prizefighter Gennady “GGG” Golovkin showed boxer Willie Monroe Jr. that difference before more than 12,000 rabid fans at the Inglewood Forum. Boxing is technical, tedious and methodical a la Floyd Mayweather or Monroe. 

Prizefighting is quite simply exciting.

Golovkin’s dominating performance and intense pressure attack on the defensive-minded Monroe had fans on their seat. It took less than three rounds for the knockout specialist to deliver a Stinger-missile like strike on Monroe’s noggin and send him to the mat. Eventually the end came in round six. Fans were the winners.

Real prizefighters are constantly on the attack. They’re not trying to out-score the other guy with sophisticated blocking and holding maneuvers. Prizefighters are out to knock the other guy senseless or beat them up enough that judges easily can determine the winner. Golovkin epitomizes a true prizefighter.

Older fans constantly refer to the 1980s as a “Golden Age” for boxing when “Iron” Mike Tyson was rampaging through the heavyweight division with evil intentions. Few of his fights lasted more than three rounds and some less than three minutes. In the smaller weight class Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez was doing the same. He did it for more than 100 fights.

Last Saturday, Golovkin showed he has that same intent to not only win, but do it emphatically by delivering someone on the seat of their pants. On the same fight card, Nicaragua’s diminutive Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez wowed the large crowd with his own knockout prowess.

We are seeing a return to real prizefighters like Jack Dempsey in the 1920s, Joe Louis in the 1940s and Rocky Marciano in the 1950s. Those fighters did not try to hold opponents who got too close or run if the pressure was too intense.

“You can run, but you can’t hide,” was heavyweight great Louis’s mantra.

Boxers like to say the object is to “hit and not be hit,” but they fail to mention that includes holding opponents like a Boa constrictor as Mayweather and other so called boxers like to utilize. Holding is supposed to be against the rules but referees often overlook it. 

Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao set a record with 4.4 million television pay-per-view buys. Most of those people that bought the event were extremely disappointed. They expected an exciting prizefight and instead got a boring boxing match.  

This past weekend a couple of prizefighters from Kazakhstan and Nicaragua showed fans worldwide that prizefighting is not dead. Golovkin calls it “Mexican style” fighting because of his affinity for Julio Cesar Chavez who used it to perfection in the 1980s. But in reality its prizefighting in its truest form.

Boxing is for amateurs who wear head gear, and are bent on outscoring their opponents with slapping punches.

Prizefighting is about hurting or knocking out the opponent. It’s what most fans prefer in a boxing ring.