On Saturday night, Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime Boxing provided fight fans an exciting night of boxing. The card featured undefeated super featherweight contender Chris “Primetime” Colbert (16-1) against a relatively unknown late replacement opponent, Hector Garcia (15-0). This fight would culminate an evening already filled with thrills and surprises from the opening bout.
The hype train that was Chris “Primetime” Colbert derailed Saturday night when Hector Garcia defeated him. In what is considered, for now, the upset of the year. Garcia jumped on Colbert from the opening bell and beat the prime out of “primetime.” Colbert didn’t have an answer to Garcia’s in-your-face style of fighting. When backed into a corner, the usually elusive Colbert couldn’t slip more than one punch consecutively-he would slip one and get caught with another. He didn’t use his footwork to control the fight and keep the bigger Garcia off him. And for some unknown reason, Colbert decided it was wise to lay on the ropes. He gave up his 4-inch reach advantage and subjected us to his terrible rendition of the “rope-a-dope.”
In the fifth round, sensing desperation, Colbert decided to take the fight to Garcia in the center of the ring. A tactic that was mildly successful while it lasted. Colbert showed that he was vastly faster and more skilled than Garcia for two rounds. That was until he ran into a Garcia counter that reminded Colbert why he was reluctant to engage in the previous rounds. Colbert’s body language had defeat written all over when he got up from the knockdown. After getting up, Colbert was hesitant to exchange punches with Garcia. And in the final two rounds, he literally ran away from Garcia. I guess Colbert figured he wasn’t going to win the fight, so he might as well start training for his next fight and get some roadwork in.
Many of you may think that I am being highly unfair in my criticism of Chris Colbert. Some of you are probably saying, “damn, Jake, he probably had an off night.” I’m not suggesting he didn’t. I’m not criticizing Colbert for losing. But instead, the way he chose to lose. Yes, I’ll repeat it; he chose to lose. In typical Colbert fashion, during the prefight interview, he obnoxiously told Jim Gray that he didn’t view any video on Garcia before their fight. He told Jim Gray that he would make adjustments during the fight as he’s done in previous fights. Obviously, a wrong decision because he failed to adapt to anything Garcia was doing.
Given that Garcia was a late replacement, if Colbert had taken just a few minutes to watch his previous fights, he would’ve seen that he possessed every tool to neutralize Garcia’s pressure. But instead, he chose to be pompous, obnoxious, and take on the persona of a rock star without achieving anything. He forgot that fighters like Garcia in gyms across America are waiting for their moment. And when adversity was staring Colbert in the face, he had to decide whether to flee or fight. Instead of bravely facing his inevitable defeat, trying to win and take a “puncher’s” chance at victory, Colbert made the most egregious choice a fighter can ever make; he chose to run.
Fighters lose; it’s part of boxing. Most fighters have losses on their records, even the legendary ones. Astoundingly, they are equally revered in their losses as they are in victory. After being brutally knocked down by Joe Frazier in the fifteenth round of their epic battle, Muhammad Ali didn’t have to get up. A battered Ali, who had a badly swollen jaw, willing himself off the canvas to finish the fight is one of the most iconic moments in boxing history.
I get goosebumps when I envision a partially blind “Sugar” Ray Leonard, staring at Thomas Hearns from his corner. As the voice of legendary trainer, Angelo Dundee pierces the crowd, telling Ray, “You’re blowing it, son, you’re blowing it.” Down on the scorecards, Ray chose to catapult himself out of that corner. He then knocked Hearns out in the 14th round to win the fight. What about Diego Corrales, who Jose Luis Castillo twice dropped in the epic tenth round of their brutal war? Corrales got off the canvas the second time and knocked Castillo out 34 seconds later. Boxing fans immortalize these warriors because they choose to be great in the face of adversity.
Chris Colbert chose not to do the things that great fighters are remembered for. As a result, he lost the fight, lost a chance to fight for a world title, and lost what little respect he had from the fans and his peers. Fighters and fans alike made it known immediately what they felt about Colbert’s running. The fans’ discontent was apparent as boos rained down from the crowd during his post-fight interview. Fighters who didn’t appreciate Colbert’s trash-talking and false-celebrity antics quickly took to social media to mock his abhorrent performance.
Garcia’s choices reaped vastly different results as opposed to Colbert’s actions. Garcia didn’t sit around and wait for a phone call so he could be mincemeat for a contender. No! He chose to be disciplined and stay ready, hoping for such a call. Hector Garcia recognized the opportunity that was before him. He seized the moment and decided to go for it all, not knowing what the outcome would be. As a result, he beat a highly touted contender and is now recognized by boxing fans; and will be fighting for a world title all in a matter of three weeks.
Can Chris Colbert rebound from this loss and become a world champion? “Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.” The famous quote uttered by our favorite mythical boxing champion, Rocky, perfectly captures what separates most champions from contenders. Now, compare that to what Chris Colbert said, “I wasn’t going to go in there, do anything stupid and get caught with no dumb shots.” Does that sound like a future world champion? Does that sound like a fighter that’s “about that life”? Based on his words and performance, it’s hard to believe otherwise.
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