If Vanes Martirosyan could have asked for an opponent to make him look good on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, he would have. That’s where “home” is for Martirosyan. With two exceptions — a bullshit technical draw against Erislandy Lara and a loss to Demtrius Andrade — he has spent his career looking good against hopelessly overmatched opponents.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who you are, Mario Alberto Lozano stepped in on three weeks notice after original opponent Luciano Cuello bounced for “economic reasons.” Lozano (28-5, 22 KOs) didn’t make Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KOs) look good, despite losing handily (all three judges and TQBR had the fight 100-89 for Martirosyan).
He did reinforce Vanes’ faults, though. Vanes is trigger shy. He bounces — it isn’t foot work, he’s just bouncing. Vanes doesn’t move his head, at all.
The fight was frustrating on multiple levels. Watching a fighter systematically avoid engaging is maddening. Watching a fighter systematically avoid engaging against an opponent over whom he holds advantages in every possible metric is down right fucking infuriating. Neither man looked like he wanted to be in the ring, and I for one, hoped Martirosyan would put us out of our collective misery. He didn’t.
Four years ago, these were all fixable aspects of Martirosyan’s game. They’re damning at this point. He is who is, and we should expect no more from him going forward. Changing trainers and promoters is ego. Vanes Martirosyan has shown what he has. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with being a second tier fighter, as long as you recognize it. I get the impression that Vanes and his team won’t do that for a while.
In the co-feature, Washington, D.C. lightweight Anthony Peterson earned a wide unanimous decision over Marcos Jiminez. That Peterson (33-1, 21 KOs) would be fighting for only the third time since he taint punched his way to a DQ loss against Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in 2010 was lost on many. It was apparently not lost on Jiminez. The challenger appeared tentative throughout. Jiminez (20-5, 13 KOs) fought as well as he could. That just wasn’t enough to make it interesting. It was a dull affair. The judges scored it 98-92, 100-90 and 99-91. TQBR scored it 100-90.
Rabies Watch: Commentator Teddy Atlas was nothing special tonight. He got a little animated when trying to make a point, but that’s normal.
ESPN has dutifully kept up with Magomed Abdusalomov. Good for them. They have also asked for donations to help out with his medical care. I have a few questions: Where is his promoter? Where is the commission? Why are the people/companies that should have planned for this not handling the situation?
Here’s the thing: Everyone fucked up. Everyone. He should have gone to the hospital sooner. His corner should have stopped it. The doctor should have found something. Etc etc etc. No one can save you from yourself, though. Mago could have bowed out at any time. No one made him keep fighting.
We can blame others for a great many things, but ultimately the buck stops with you. No one makes you do anything. Magomed Abdusalamov chose to get off his stool each round. He chose to keep fighting. He will live with that. It is truly unfortunate that such bravery comes at such a cost, but it does. The bravery that fighters show is one of the reasons we watch boxing. We tell ourselves that if the brutality ever becomes too much that we will walk away, but very few people do. Bravery cannot exist without danger. If you want to see humans display extreme bravery, you will have to accept that you must also see tragedy. Magomed Abdusalomov was simply too brave for his own good.