The Little Man's Plight
By Martin Wade (August 13, 2004) 
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Boxing Fans! Excuse my Ebonics, but allow me to say “I’m is back ya’ll!” Back from a vacation odyssey with my teenaged daughter, back from a world of coordinating ensembles and monuments of square footage known as discount shoe outlets. To top things off, a brotha had computer problems! Damn, when you have a big mouth like me a computer glitch is like an Arturo Gatti shot to the ribs, ouch. Now that the Boxing Junkie is firmly off the wagon, I want to ask for a little reader participation. Now close your eyes, allow the year of 2004 to go by in your mind and tell me what you see. I’ll tell you what I see, Judah on the end of a jab, Mosley’s 'monkey' riding him to defeat, and Pacman’s early fury dowsed out like a small campfire. Need more of my 'vision'? How about boxing's most gifted (Jones Jr.) getting caught in a lanky lefty’s 'no fly zone', hell, you can even add Acelino 'my wife is way too hot for this' Freitas as 'exhibit A' to tell you where this little ditty is headed. That’s right fight fans, as in most things physical (which boxing surely is) size matters. 2004 is a prime example that in most cases a good big man beats a good small man.

There’s a reason why NBA benches are littered with worthless seven footers, why Iverson will soon see the wisdom in passing as he nears 30. Examine the Cheshire cat grin of hall-of-famer Barry Sanders when asked if he ever felt he wanted to return to football. It’s an expression of 'why? I beat the system'; the system being Mother Nature. The laws of anatomy are cruel, and nowhere are they crueler than boxing. If fighter A can hit fighter B from across the room, and fighter A has to reach just to connect cleanly, then fighter A is what we like to call S.O.L. The case of Freitas is a prime example, he couldn’t stand in front of Corrales, yet he had to exert himself just to survive and then throw lighting fast power shots (very taxing) hoping to get Chico out of there. Chico, (who by the way I tabbed as 'the Man' months ago by way of his height) had the luxury of pacing himself and staying technically sound. By round seven, Chico had the look of a utility vehicle about to roll downhill on Popo, and Popo knew it.

Very rarely do fighters defy anatomy and consistently overwhelm bigger, taller men. The two cases that exist are when the fighter either possesses freakish reflexes like a Mayweather and a younger Jones or power like a young Tyson who had both. In the case of Mike Tyson, his whole style was a function of anatomy and it would be naïve to believe that he could fashion a 'Foremanesque' revival. Remember, Big George was a very big man for his era, and even bigger when he returned to the ring. James Toney is a master technician, but frankly boxing fans have gotten way too much mileage from what he did to an old, smallish Holyfield. The jury is still out on 'Lights Out', and at 5’10" the question is can he deal with a 6’8" Ukrainian that sticks a broom handle in his face and holds him when he gets close? It may look sloppy and amateur to a razor sharp Toney, but his observations come from ringside, not the Tua seats. Watching the confidence of a Tarver or Corrales is watching the confidence of a big man who knows that he can only beat himself. Even the great Ali entered the terror dome against Smoking Joe with the supreme confidence that nature will afford him four shots before the Philadelphian got inside. Ali’s true pain in the ass came from a man who stood eyeball to eyeball (Norton) and was awkward as hell. So before I ring in the 'Chico is the Man' catchphrase I call for the Sacramento native to pick on someone his own size.

In my book Diego Corrales is the fighter of the year based on his level of competition and ambition to stay busy. I also believe he is the comeback story of the year in light of his emotional and technical resurgence in the ring. In all due respect to Joe 'Phil Jackson' Goossen I will be more impressed if he can take the little guy (Mosley) and get him to volume punch (against Winky Wright) in November. For fighters like Chico, freakishly tall within a division I hold to a Tommy Hearn’s 'Gold' standard. Chico must move up and beat fighters at 140 and 147 for me to say that he is pound-for-pound. The only fight left for Chico at lightweight is against a very big Jose Luis Castillo, who not long ago didn’t know if he could make 135 any longer. After that the fine young warrior should look north, in search of men that can match him physically for bigger stakes. Who knows, with a victory over Castillo and a name opponent at 140 Chico may draw the ire of the 'Pretty Boy' and a chance at true redemption. A mega fight in 2005 may favor Mayweather but I’d advise fight fans to consider Mother Nature before plunking the money down. You see Floyd will slow down long before Chico loses any power or gets any shorter. Remember Leonard/Hearns 2?

Until the Next 'Jones'
The five foot (mumble) 'Boxing Junkie'
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