The Boxing game has changed. Gone are the days when titles mattered. Kicking tail and taken names is no longer looked at as the path to success. Today it is all about the numbers. How many victories does a fighter have? How many Knock Outs does a fighter have? These are the things that have come to matter most. 27-0 that was the number of victories vs defeats Adrien Broner had before he tasted his 1st loss. Andre Berto was also 27-0 when he hit his 1st brick wall adding a 1 to the loss column. While both Adrien Broner and Andre Berto would become world champions before losing their 1st fight both of their respective paths to those titles were paths of very little resistance. Broner won his 1st major title when he was 21-0 defeating Vicente Martin Rodriguez for the Vacant WBO super featherweight title. Andre Berto was also 21-0 when he won his 1st major title defeating Miguel Angel Rodriguez for the vacant WBC welterweight title. Neither fighter fought and defeated a reigning champion in the division to win their respective 1st title. Coincidently neither fighter to this day has shown the ability to handily beat World-Class competition and neither fighter has shown the ability to make significant adjustments in the ring when necessary .
24-0 was Gary Russell JR’s record going into his 25th professional bout against Vasyl Lomachenko. Vasyl who had an extraordinary amateur career winning 396 out of 397 fights, capturing 2 Olympic Gold medals in the process, sported a professional record of 1-1. Vasyl lost his second professional fight to Orlando Salido. In that fight it was clear that Solido’s professional experience made the difference.
With a record of 24-0 on paper Gary Russell Jr. should have out boxed, out worked and out classed Vasyl Lomachenko. However Lomachenko would seemly dominate Russell Jr. for the better of 12 rounds. Lomachenko would use lateral movement and timing to render Gary Russell Jr’s offense ineffective. Although Russell Jr. at times was able to cut off the ring and force Lomachenko to fight, his ability to capitalize on those opportunities were limited. In exchanges Lomachenko would get the better of Russell Jr. landing a barrage of punches to Russell Jr’s body, effectively breaking him down in the process. Gary Russell Jr. would show no variation in punch speed, punching power and attack style throughout the fight. It is these variations when made that often change the direction of a fight. These variations are more often referred to as adjustments. Adjustments and a fighter’s ability to make them throughout a fight are indicators of a fighters experience in the ring. A fighter’s ability to make adjustments during a fight is also a way to gauge the level of success they may have in future bouts against tougher, more experienced opponents with varying skill sets.
All three fighters mention above; Adrien Broner, Andre Berto and Gary Russell Jr have had spectacular victories. Some of these victories have come courtesy of jaw dropping knockouts. There is no question that these individuals are talented and have the physical attributes to be top notched fighters. What is questionable is the level of experience they have amassed fighting the competition they have respectively been exposed to. Should these fighters have fewer fights under their belt but with better opponents? Is it the level of competition they have faced in the past that failed them? Or, is it the lack of variation in the types of fighter they have fought in the past that have left them with an in ability to really make meaningful adjustments in ring. These are the question we as spectators may ask but it is up to the fighters themselves to answer them. For it is their career and their legacy that hold in the balance. The right experience will take a fighter to victory, the wrong experience will lead to a fighter defeat.