Friday, January 30, 2015

KeAndre Gibson VS Nelson Lara: What is war good for?

Let's catch up on the FS1 broadcast from Golden Boy from the 26th. The war was good for. . .some entertainment and paying some bills, I suppose. But I don't think it was that good for Gibson.

The setup: 

Gibson: KeAndre Gibson was talked up plenty as a hot prospect, commentators in attendance are Paulie Malignaggi and Brian Custer. Malignaggi and Custer mark Gibson as a former sparring partner of Mike Jones, Canelo Alvarez for his match with Floyd Mayweather Junior, Devon Alexander for his match with Amir Khan and for Malignaggi himself. So, the man's gotten a lot of good work in the gym. Paulie says he has very fast hands, is a solid boxer, is more of an outside fighter, so he'll be looking to keep the smaller Lara on the outside, basically. Brian Custer calls him a "prize prospect" and says former Olympic boxing coach Kenny Adams, who has had at least somewhat of a hand in training a lot of talented fighters, including Diego Corrales and Johnny Tapia, is now training Gibson. Custer quotes Adams as saying KeAndre is one of the best prospects he's ever. This is quite a compliment to live up to.

Gibson is an undefeated St. Louis prospect, fighting at 140-147, with massive shoulders and muscular physique. He looks like a man who could knock a house over, but he comes in with only 5 knockouts in 13 contests. You tend to think if a guy can punch all that hard his opening 10-15 fights will showcase that. With punching power, looks can often be deceiving. 

Lara: Nelson Lara is a gritty Nicaraguan journeyman who's been stopped by Fidel Maldonado Junior, Juan Ruiz, Alberto Mosquera and Ali Chebah. He comes in with a 15-6-4 record and he is set up for an assumed defeat on FS1. I don't say this to be dismissive because he's taken most of his losses to prospects like Gibson, but he's also taken defeats and draws to other journeymen as well. So, he isn't regarded as a gatekeeping type of journeyman. But he is gritty and there's nothing wrong with the matchmaking, all things considered.

The action:

As talked up as Gibson was, he elected to stand toe-to-toe with a Lara who seemed to decide very early and admirably that he would go out on his shield if he went out at all. And he didn't go out at all. He took a tremendous amount of punches and landed enough to show Gibson his tactics were somewhat baffling. While Gibson decisively took his decision, and while he performed for the crowd in a way we should appreciate, he helped Lara make a hard night's work for both of them.

I'd be concerned about Gibson's jab being underutilised. Paulie said KeAndre was an outside fighter, but this whole fight seemed to be directly dictated by him choosing a phone-booth affair. Gibson looked to do his best to force a stoppage in the final few rounds but at no time did he show the stopping power in his punches that he'd need to finish the determined Lara. KeAndre Gibson wide UD8 Nelson Lara. Gibson was cut slightly on his left eye, if I'm not mistaken. Lara was marked up and swelling under the right eye but nothing too dramatic looking. That's the damage report. FS1's punch count had them throwing a combined 1,367 punches over the 8 rounds. They put on a good show. Of course, Gibson threw less and landed more in most every exchange but to quote Paulie Malignaggi: "The score cards may not reflect the competitiveness of Lara in each round." It was a real fight, forgetting the assumed outcome.

What it means to me: 

For KeAndre Gibson: He is good entertainment and you can't knock him for that, but as a prospect, he's just not a hot one. Based on his performance with Lara, I find it hard to believe he would be able to match any of the top ten fighters at Light Welterweight or Welterweight in the near future. Not fighting like that. He's getting good work in the gym. He's getting rounds in as a pro, but he's not putting anyone on notice by doing this. I wouldn't mind seeing him back on television a bit. I enjoyed his fight. But, if I were a betting man, I'd not be betting on Gibson. I mean no offense. The ring generalship just isn't showing to me. If "The Sugar Kid" was a little sweeter to himself, I'd have more faith in his becoming a contender.

Paulie Malignaggi: "A guy like this has too much talent to be fighting as much as he does."

For Nelson Lara: He's a true fighter, and there's no shame in having an up-and-comer in with him. He takes his shots and makes the best of it. Every fighter needs some Nelson Laras in their way. He's a necessary type of fighter and commands some respect for his place in the sport.

For FS1: A very nice opening pick for the fans. Thumbs up on the result.

Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing

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