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Sergei Liakhovich files a formal protest regarding his loss to Deontay Wilder

Deontay Wilder Serguei Lyakhovich(Photo by Michael Snyder / The Desert Sun) By Ivan Ivanov: According to a press release in “fightnews.com” and other sites, Liakhovich and his attorney will file an official protest with the California State Athletic Commission citing illegal rabbit punches that have caused his stoppage in the first round at the hands of D. Wilder. Photos of the fight show that they have a point, Wilder clearly landed on the back of Liakhovich’s head. Whether it was intentional or not, Deontay managed to get his very long arms around the guard of his opponent and behind the legal punching area.

Boxing battles should not be won in court and modern technology allows for instant replays. Even if a referee sees the foul, he may not be qualified or determined enough to make a call that could alter the outcome of a fight. Wilder did not commit a blatant intentional breach; it could be that Liakhovich leaned into the trajectory of the shot, although this may be a far-fetched excuse. Or Wilder may lack the accuracy of those “real” boxers who started training at the right age.

Deontay Wilder is a late starter in boxing. People who turn to boxing late are usually very gifted athletes with tremendous physical qualities, size, natural speed and endurance. Michael Grant, Jameel Mccline, Ken Norton were all impressive physical specimens who would beat the best boxers at any other sport. Be it a track and field discipline or even a street fight, they would use their natural athleticism to their advantage. Any other sport but boxing, it can be unforgiving to late starters.

Boxing technique must be mastered during the teenage years of an athlete. This is the time when boxing motor skills can become a second nature; they become an indelible conditioned reflex. An “older” athlete with no boxing experience can master boxing technique quickly and he could punch very hard in the early rounds of a fight. When fatigue and concussion pile up however, discipline and game plans can easily crumble. After a boxer is hurt he sometimes can’t remember his own full name, let alone drills and game plans. This is the time when real boxers stand out from late starters. When a boxer is hurt, he reverts to subconscious habits, he functions on muscle memory. If he boxed as an adolescent, he will have boxing muscle memory, if not he is alone with his instincts. The instinct of self preservation will take over and a late starter will not look like a boxer anymore even if he remembers to try.

Deontay Wilder started boxing at the age of 20 and he progressed very quickly. He even won a bronze Olympic medal which is always a commendable achievement. He used to be a decent cruiser-weight amateur and he scared no one at that time. I’d like to believe he has acquired his ingrained “boxing second nature” but I would not bet on it. When the time comes for him to face a competent real boxer, my money will not be on Wilder.


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