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When special plans go wrong

Jean Pascal Sergey KovalevBy Yannis Mihanos: Special plans can make a difference in a fight and even turn somebody into legend. Nevertheless, in life, there are always two sides of the coin and boxing could not be an exception. Things can happen in reverse too. Prior to the rematch against Sergey Kovalev, former WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal made claims that he and his coach Freddie Roach were preparing something special, something that their opponent didn’t expect.

Some serious expectation was built prior to the fight but in the end all it took was a few seconds for Pascal to realize that it ain’t gonna happen. Not now, not in this lifetime. All it took was one punch in the face to realize that no special plan can work against this kind of power and opponent.

So sometimes that is all it needs for the special plan to be blown to pieces and go to hell: a punch in the face.

Special plans can fall apart in many ways. Injuries are another way. Boxing belongs in the hurting business. It is no secret that this is the basic ingredient.

Having a serious injury during the fight can alter special plans to the worse: swollen or complete shut eyes, wounded knees, broken cheekbones, broken wrists, damaged shoulders or ankles, you name it. Serious injuries can debilitate a fighter and lead him to the inevitable outcome. Special plans go to hell by controversial decisions. This is a good one.

Every year there are a few fights who no one except the 3 judges expect to go the other way. It seems that some people behind the scenes are from hell too…. Corruption is a real thing.

So fighters could come with a special plan in their hands, feel extremely confident but some kings of darkness have their plans too, and they can pull some strings here and there.

As I told you, boxing is a hurting business. It can hurt the same from the inside to the outside of the ring. However, this is not the worst scenario possible… The worst possible scenario is when a special plan not only goes to hell but also takes you with it. This is when best fights can turn into biggest tragedies.

One such fight happened in 1990 when the legendary Cesar Chavez Sr faced the skillful contender Meldrick Taylor.

Taylor had a special plan for that fight. With his speed and excellent technical skills planned to outmatch slower Chavez and win the fight comfortably on points. In the fight, Taylor followed the plan; he danced around Chavez and kept on winning points in each round. Everything was going as expected and the audience was beginning to sense the upset but as the final round settled in, Taylor appeared with nothing left in his tank, he was a moving wreck, he could barely run or hide, he could barely attack or defend, he was just too exhausted.

It did not take long for Chavez to seize the opportunity and unleash a ferocious attack. Punch after punch, attack after attack, Chavez brought Taylor to his knees and make him almost unrecognizable in the face.

A few seconds remained for the end and Taylor had become a lamb to a slaughter, a sad spectacle to watch. Finally, the referee took the decision and halted the fight. It was very controversial because he was probably still winning on points but the referee saved his life. The medical account after the fight was heavy for Taylor; he had suffered multiple injuries.

Taylor went through hell in that fight, and never returned. After that day he was never again the same fighter. For the only thing he must be grateful for is that he is still alive today. Boxing can indeed become a horror show at times.

On the other hand there are those fighters in history who have done the complete opposite: from hell and back, taking severe punishment, going down from knockdown but somehow manage to get up, comeback and save the game. This will be the final theme of this article series.

“I’ve got this, this is too much, I’ll do it my way, I can do better than this, to hell with the plan.”

Some cannot cope with pressure while others hope to shine with or without special plans, they are by nature unpredictable, the fans love them, they are the icing in the cake because they bring more excitement but the coaches hate them because they do not obey them.

When any of this happens special plans go to hell. All hard work, time and effort is wasted and of course money too. Everything goes down the drain. The price is high.

Fighters who are problem makers basically create problem to themselves. Tough guy Ricardo Mayorga was a model of that.

Therefore, that is about it. Many kind of situations, many kind of scenarios that push a special plan to go to hell.

In many of the upcoming fights like the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley, Gennady Golovkin vs. Dominic Wade, special plans are getting prepared. It remains to be seen whether they will work at the favor of their fighters or not.


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