Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Favorite Knockouts: Hernandez KO8 Litzau

It is surprisingly rare for two truly evenly-matched competitors to step into the ring with each other. Generally, it happens in only two situations: Either two prospects, to try and establish which one is "for real", or at the very pinnacle of the sport, where the best (sometimes) fights the best.

A significant amount of modern boxing coverage, though, falls under the category of the "showcase fight". The guy being groomed to be a star is trotted out against an opponent who looks credible on paper, but is pretty much expected to lose and make the prospect look good, feeding anticipation for the prospect/contender's next fight.

But the nice thing about boxing is that the opponent can always be a spoiler. Here, Jason Litzau was the prospect, and Jose Hernandez was meant to be the main course in his coming out party. And for most of the fight, it looked like it. Hernandez did show he could hurt the chinny Litzau with a first round knockdown, but Litzau controlled the rest of the fight, with Hernandez stalking but unable to land. Until Round 8 (go to 1:40 if you want to skip the first round knockdown).

I saw this fight, and the energy was electric. A genuine, underdog, come-from-behind, one shot knockout that was itself a beauty to behold. Hernandez parlayed this into a decently high-profile fight against Rocky Juarez (which he lost), and has since faded into obscurity, fighting and losing one more fight to a journeyman in 2009. Litzau has labored on the fringes for awhile now, getting annihilated by Robert Guerrero in his one title shot. Litzau himself is playing "opponent" for Celestino Caballero's jump up to Junior Lightweight at the end of the month.

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