Monday, August 29, 2016

Robert Guerrero vs David Emanuel Peralta: The Boxing Glove Big Fight Review: The Ghost Is Busted By The Pirate.

No matter how much you love it, following Boxing can often make one cynical. The mismatched fights, and the dodgy decisions, the catch-weight fights, and the big matches that never happen, can all be a long term health hazard for even a die hard devotee of the sport. Yet every once in a while a fight will come along that will reaffirm what is right about the sport. David Emanuel Peralta’s upset win over Robert Guerrero last night, (August 27) showed once more how at its purest, boxing can change a mans life with a suddenness which few other sports can ever match.

Before yesterday Peralta was an unknown, plucked from his native Argentina to be used as fodder for Robert Guerrero’s latest drive at yet another title shot. Yet if this was considered a precooked warm up towards greater things for ‘The Ghost’ someone forgot to give Peralta his script, and not for the first time in boxing history, the ‘warm up’ proved to be a little too hot to handle for the favourite.

Fighting in front of his home fans, at the Honda Centre, Anaheim, California, Guerrero (33-5-1, 18koes) was hoping to use this match as a showcase, to press for a rematch with WBC world welterweight title holder Danny Garcia, who out pointed ‘The Ghost’ in January. Instead, the loss to Peralta (26-2-1, 14koes) may well indicate that ’The Ghost’s time as a world title contender has come to an end. Guerrero has now lost 4 of his last 6 contests, going back to May 2013, and including three failed bids for a world welterweight title. It looks increasingly likely that a 4th bid for one of the welterweight titles will be (or rather should be) out of Guerrero’s reach.

For the 33 year old David ’El Pirata’ Peralta, victory was a life changing event. Having turned professional in 2005, Peralta is one of the many South American fighters who toils in relative obscurity, fighting where and when he can, with a vague dream that one day he might get that big break, and hopefully the money and recognition which goes with it. It is clear from looking at his record that Peralta has been fighting just to keep active, and get fights. Over the past 5 years he has fought just eight times, running up a less than dazzling 5-2-1 record. Last night was his first fight in fifteen months. In fact so precarious were Peralta’s boxing dreams, that he had been working as a cab driver, and seriously considering retirement from a boxing career which had never taken off.

Then an offer to fight Guerrero came out of the blue, a sudden lottery ticket win for the Argentine. But Peralta did more than simply take his cash, and his first trip to America, and go through the motions with ‘The Ghost’. He came to America with the courage and desire to actually win.
From the start Peralta had the look of someone who would not be content to just be a soft touch. He has a tattoo of death on one shoulder, and a tattoo of a lion on the other shoulder, because, ‘death is always ready to pounce’.  Having a mentality such as this, undoubtedly helped Peralta seize his sudden chance at the big time. 

Like most Argentine boxers, Peralta has that mixture of toughness and technique, which always makes them formidable opponents. This, mixed in with an idiosyncratic awkwardness, and a confidence which was visible from the start, and it soon became clear after the first bell, that ’The Ghost’ was not going to have an easy night.

Guerrero started the early rounds well, landing with the better shots, as Peralta tried to find the range with his jab and straight right hand. Peralta is tall at 5 feet 11, and has long arms (though surprisingly, according to Box Rec, not as long as Guerrero’s) but uses his height and reach very well. The Argentine’s punches have a loopy awkwardness about them, but as the fight progressed they proved to be surprisingly fast, and surprisingly accurate. Despite Guerrero edging the first two rounds, Peralta had already made it clear that he hadn’t come to America just to get paid and see the sights.

In the 3rd round Peralta gave a clue to things to come when he caught Guerrero with a solid right hand and a left hook. He was also displaying the nimble footwork which would frustrate the more flat footed Ghost, throughout the fight, including a quirky little shuffle which Peralta does with his feet every time he changes direction. When later in this round Guerrero tried to rough the Argentine up on the inside, he found that Peralta could more than hold his own in this area as well. Even a cut over the Argentines right eye, caused by a butt during some rough inside work, late in the 3rd round, failed to stem the underdogs growing momentum. Interestingly the referee saw the cut as being caused by a punch, and this was just one of a few interesting calls he made during this fight.

By the 4th round Peralta was beginning to land with frequency with his jab, and his left hooks and right hands were finding their way increasingly through Guerrero’s defence. ’The Ghost’ was now increasingly looking for the big punch, and it was Peralta who was beginning to dictate the pace of the fight. 

Peralta’s success increased as the fight progressed, with Guerrero looking at times frustrated and befuddled. Peralta’s movement saw him move frequently out of Guerrero’s range, but then just as quickly he would be back in range to catch Guerrero with the jabs and solid right and left hands, which ’The Ghost’ struggled to avoid.

At times during the second half of the fight, Guerrero upped his pace in an effort to turn the tide of the match, but Peralta never seemed troubled by any of ’The Ghosts’ shots, and showed a good chin during some entertaining exchanges. Too often though Guerrero was guilty of being one paced, as if stuck in 3rd gear, when he simply was not throwing enough leather, and this resulted in Peralta winning some close rounds due to his higher workrate.

In the 9th round a right and left hand drove Guerrero back and he fell down into the corner, with just the ropes stopping him from hitting the canvas completely. Yet the referee failed to rule it a knockdown. In fact the referee failed to acknowledge the incident at all, not even indicating that it had been a slip or a trip. Guerrero rose quickly, (without any count of course) and tried to act himself like nothing had happened. However, knockdown or not, Peralta was now clearly winning the fight.

Over the final three rounds Guerrero was aggressive, but it was Peralta who seemed to be putting that bit more into his work, as he caught Guerrero with the better punches, with the same right and left hands that had been haunting ’The Ghost’ all night. At the final bell, despite his exertions Peralta seemed to be as fresh as he was at the beginning of the fight, while Guerrero looked drained and weary.

The scores were 113-115 for Guerrero, 116-112 for Peralta and 115-113 for Peralta. One of the positive factors from this fight is that there was no ’hometown’ decision for Guerrero. Perhaps though, Peralta was lucky that the referee was not one of the judges. There was little protest from Guerrero’s hometown fans, many of whom seemed to have been won over by the Argentine’s performance. 

The Boxing Glove saw Peralta winning by 116-112.
In his post fight interview Peralta was understandably ecstatic, as he explained the impact just getting this shot at Guerrero had made upon him…
‘I wanted to retire before this fight. I was a cab driver, driving cabs in Argentina. I was offered a chance to fight in the U.S. and came away victorious. I came to fight and I knew that I would win. He is a very good fighter, but I hit him with the harder shots. I thought I knocked him down but if the referee feels its not a knockdown I have to respect that. Now I want to fight bigger names. No way I’m going to retire now. I’ll be ready again to fight soon, this was no joke and I can beat a lot of great fighters. Hopefully I get good fights after this performance. I won’t be a taxi driver anymore’.

In the fickle world of boxing, lets hope that Peralta will be able to build upon this victory. It has taken him ten long years to achieve his overnight success.  Whether he will get fights with any of the other big names in the welterweight division only time will tell. It is to be hoped that after winning the fight of his life, Peralta will not be once again left disappointed by the political machinations of the sport to which he has dedicated his life. This is a ‘Rocky’ story that deserves to run a little longer. 

On the undercard of Guerrero vs. Peralta, Alfredo ‘El Perro’ Angulo (24-6, 20koes) was outpointed over 10 rounds, by Freddie ‘El Riel’ Hernandez (34-8, 22koes). In a bloody and bruising brawl, which was made at super-middleweight, despite both men being little more than blown up light-middleweights, Hernandez overcame a badly cut left eye to both out-slug and out-box Angulo. 

As always, Angulo seldom stopped coming forwards, trying to land his heavier shots, but it was Hernandez who was landing the more punches, frustrating Angulo with his reach and superior speed and movement.

The biggest surprise was when Hernandez showed that he could stand and trade with Angulo. Never a defensive master, at times Angulo’s defence seemed non-existent against Hernandez. His speed and timing were also very poor, a telltale sign of the wear and tear caused by too many brutal ring wars. After ten rounds the scores for Hernandez were 98-92, 97-93 and 97-93. The Boxing Glove also saw it 97-93. 

If he cannot get past a fringe contender like Hernandez, then it is time for Angulo to consider his future in the ring. Angulo is the kind of fighter that you want to root for, and see do well. ‘El Perro’ is a throwback to the fighters who feared noone, and would walk through walls in order to win. He still has all the heart in the world, but this one time asset is becoming increasingly dangerous for ‘El Perro’ as his skills continue to diminish and every fight he has becomes a brutal struggle of survival. It is time for this brave warrior to hang up his gloves for good.

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