Quijano: Takeaways from that Ngannou debacle

Last Round

Much was expected from Francis Ngannou coming into that fight with Anthony Joshua, mostly on account of his impressive albeit lone performance on top of a boxing ring against Tyson Fury.

Indeed, he surprised the boxing world by more than holding his own against Fury and an argument could even be made that he deserved the nod. For the record, it was close, but I thought Fury did enough to preserve his integrity but by the slightest of margins. (That happens a lot in the boxing world, and its history is replete with closely fought bouts that often result in controversial verdicts)

So here is my takeaways from that fight.

Fury is flaky and can be mentally quite unstable as he himself has admitted that he has a bipolar disorder. Recall that he once retired from pro boxing at the height of his powers. This can result to inconsistent athletic performances and coming into that fight with Ngannou he looked in terrible shape, even for him. It’s highly possible he took Ngannou very lightly and his underestimation nearly cost him that fight.

Ngannou can be a very decent heavyweight fighter with power in both hands. But he can be regarded as just another one of those prospects who have knockout power but little experience under their belts. More seasoning is needed before he can be considered a legitimate contender. It’s different in the heavyweights. Because they punch so hard, anybody is capable of finishing the other off, regardless of pedigree. But short of landing that lucky punch, you will still need to get those rounds in to be able to establish a foothold in the heavyweight landscape.

Power is key, but that fight shows there are levels to this. Right off the bat, Ngannou showed his inexperience when he changed stances. Perhaps realizing he had difficulty landing against Joshua early, he shifted to a lefty stance which opened him up immediately. True enough, two seconds later, Joshua unloaded a straight right- a favorite weapon against southpaws, which caused the fight’s first knockdown. I don’t think Ngannou ever recovered from that. In boxing, stance-switching is frowned upon and only the most talented can get away with it;

You get stronger doing repetitive movements. This is a bedrock mantra in boxing. A boxer’s punch doesn’t get stronger because he lifts weights. It gets stronger by throwing an accumulation of punches time and again. It takes years of practice and implementation. Yes, Ngannou is naturally strong and he can hit. But in a boxing ring against one of the strongest punchers in the division, it’s a different ballgame. Notice in the last knockdown, how his leg folded under him after tasting that lethal one-two combo from Joshua. That’s real boxing power.

We can expect more crossover fights like these. There have been several precedents already and they are all fun and intriguing to watch. Remember how a fat and out of shape James Toney thought he can exclusively punch his way to victory in a UFC cage? It only took Randy Couture less than a minute to prove him how wrong he was.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on Tito Ramon Lim , and on my favorite writer, my sister Jeehan who celebrate their birthdays this week. Cheers!


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