An interesting Heavyweight bout took place on Friday, June 12th. Unlike recent events that have taken place since the sport of Boxing began the initial steps of trying to resume in the midst of the ongoing global COVID-19 epidemic however, this fight did not receive much attention, despite it being a bout between two former world title challengers. This observer is referring to the battle between longtime contenders Mariusz Wach and Kevin Johnson.
Perhaps one reason why this fight was not given as much attention as compared to recent events that yours truly has covered was due to the limited access to this fight in terms of being able to view it live as it took place. Yours truly had originally intended to try to cover this bout along with my previous coverage of closed door Boxing cards, but I also could not gain live access. In an ever evolving technological world however, access can come on a delayed basis as is the case with this fight, which allows me to now provide the reader of this column some thoughts and analysis.
The bout between the two longtime contenders took place under similar circumstances as did the recent cards in Mexico and Las Vegas. A closed door atmosphere in Konary, Poland at the Palac w Konarach hotel. As was the case with the previous events, the atmosphere was one that was small, intimate, and without fanfare. What will remain a focal point for most fights that will take place under the circumstances of COVID-19 will be the condition of the fighters in having to prepare to compete under scenarios that are not the norm.
Unlike my previous coverage of two cards that have taken place in Las Vegas, I was unable to observe much as to what protocols were followed due to COVID-19 as I was only able to access footage of this bout, which was the main event of a seven bout card. From what I did see, it appeared as though similar protocols to what has been put in place in Las Vegas and Mexico were being followed.
As for the fight itself, if it were fought under circumstances, which the sport was operating in its normal state, the storyline would be what does either fighter have left in them. While that does certainly still apply, it was logical to at least wonder how the circumstances of the ongoing epidemic would impact this fight. What did work in both fighters favor was that both are seasoned veterans of the sport and are used to competing at a world-class level and each have been in world title contention at one time or another in their careers.
Both men however, came into this fight off of losses and in the case of Kevin Johnson, had lost four of his last five bouts. Based on this and also taking into consideration that both fighters are forty years old, it was also logical to question what type of fight this would be. Although both fighters had their share of moments throughout this ten round bout, the fight was largely dictated by Mariusz Wach by consistently coming forward and using his 6’7 height and eighty-two inch reach to keep Johnson from being able to get his punches off first and being forced to play the role of counter puncher. While this is a role that Johnson has played throughout his career, inconsistency in terms of his ability to be aggressive has worked against him in many fights having lost sixteen of his fifty-one career bouts prior to this fight where several opponents were able to outwork Johnson over the course of a fight.
In this fight, Johnson to his credit did come forward more in spots, but he was not consistent throughout. While he was also able to counter Wach’s offense periodically throughout the bout, he was unable to get the ebb and flow to go in his favor. In contrast to Johnson, Wach was consistent in throwing offense and landed several right hands to the head behind his jab throughout. It was this as well as his overall activity that allowed Wach to earn s convincing unanimous decision at the end of the ten round bout.
Even though this fight did not offer much in the way of highlights, it should serve as an illustration of how basic fundamentals sometimes can be enough to win a fight convincingly. As has been the case throughout much of his career, Kevin Johnson’s inability to get his punches off first as well as general inconsistency proved to be his detriment in this fight. While anything can happen in the sport of Boxing, it is difficult to say whether either of these fighters will be able to re-emerge in the discussion of Heavyweight contenders.
For Mariusz Wach, the victory over Johnson should at minimum open an opportunity against someone rated in the top twenty in a sanctioning organization’s Heavyweight ratings. When and against whom that fight might take place will likely be dictated by the circumstances of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Although some might say that Kevin Johnson should consider retirement after suffering his seventeenth loss and being years removed from where he was considered s player in the Heavyweight division and challenging for a world championship, he is still a seasoned fighter that has competed against many of the top Heavyweights of the last fifteen years. If Johnson is going to continue to compete, he must find a way to be consistent offensively. With the COVID-19 epidemic remaining a factor for sports as well as everyday life for the foreseeable future, fighters with Johnson’s resume and reliability in being willing to take fights on short notice and face anyone could be in position to take advantage of the circumstances the sport of Boxing finds itself in. It goes without saying however, unless you are a fighter blessed with punching power that can end a fight at any moment, a fighter needs to be offensive if they want to win on the scorecards. Something that Kevin Johnson should keep in mind if he intends to go forward with his career.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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