KP’S NOTEBOOK: BOXING DEATHS & BERNARD HOPKINS!
MEXICAN BOXER FRANKIE LEAL PASSES AWAY
Los Angeles, CA- It’s sad to hear another fighter has succumbed to the brutal and sometimes perceived as inhumane sport of boxing. While there are many stipulations included in the sport to create an illusion of fighter safety, the reality is that in a sport where the point is to inflict damage to your opponent, mainly to the head, there are going to be serious repercussions.
Frankie Leal (20-8-3,13 KOs) died Tuesday after a KO loss Saturday to Raul Hirales (20-2, 9 KOs). He earned his most important victory, an upset over then unbeaten prospect Roberto Marroquin(19-0 at the time) in April 2011, and was a formidable journeyman fighter with a winning record who appeared to give it his all. In this time in which his family and other members of his team are mourning, it is also a time to reflect on not just fighter safety but to reflect on what fighters give to fans for our entertainment.
MORE THAN JUST BLOOD & GUTS
Fighters of Leal’s caliber are the lifeblood of the sport and need to be respected and get more attention. The reality here is that the majority of fighters don’t make the six and seven figure purses of the prizefighters featured regularly on HBO or Showtime. Many like Leal fight numerous times in a year (in Leal’s case five times in 2013) and acquire far less money, with some being paid $1 and given tickets, and with that comes far less if any fanfare. I don’t claim to have any real solutions to the problem of fighter deaths further than the many that have been proposed before. A much larger problem is a fighters well being after their careers are over. The reality is most who punch for pay don’t have a wealth of options to make a living afterwards. Let me put it to you like this, the long term damage from boxing is not always forgiving.
BERNARD HOPKINS DEFENDS IBF TITLE SATURDAY AT AGE 48
Philly boxing legend and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins(53-6-2, 32 KOs) defends his IBF 175 lb. title for the first time against mandatory challenger Karo Murat(25-1-1, 15 KOs) at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City Saturday night, live on Showtime.
Hopkins is a marvel at 48, but this fight in my view should be Hopkins last; win or lose. He has nothing left to prove, and as good defensively as he has been throughout his career, all it takes is one night for a fighter to get old to lose to fighter of Murats caliber.
IS IT TIME FOR HOPKINS TO GET OUT WHILE HE’S AHEAD?
It’s likely that if Hopkins does lose, he can do so without withstanding too much damage. As we have seen far too often with this sport is all it takes is one sustained beating, and those effects can last a lifetime. Bernard doesn’t need the money and his legacy is defined as the oldest fighter to ever win a major title. It isn’t as if his fights are all that entertaining these days either. Don’t get it twisted; I am huge fan of Bernard. Well at least I was until this latest crusade. Lets not hope that what this writer perceives as “greed” comes back to haunt the fighter known as the “Executioner“.