Monday, July 10, 2023

The Pacheco Brothers And The Benefits Of The Body Attack

Originally, the days that followed the fourth of July holiday here in the United States in the sport of Boxing was to shine a spotlight on the 147lb. Welterweight division, a division which later this month will crown it's first undisputed world champion since the 1980's when undefeated world champions Errol Spence and Terrence Crawford put their records and portions of the World Welterweight championship on the line. There was however, supposed to be an encounter of significance in the division on July 8th as undefeated contender Vergil Ortiz was to meet top contender Eimantas Stanionis in San Antonio, TX, which would have determined a mandatory challenger for the winner of the upcoming Spence-Crawford clash. 

Unfortunately, Ortiz, who has seen his fast-rising career stall due to dealing with medical issues that had previously caused postponement of this bout earlier this year, was forced to withdraw again just days before the fight when he fainted while training for the bout. The subsequent hospitalization that followed resulted in Ortiz being medically disqualified by doctors and thus forced him to withdraw from the bout.

The bout, which was to be the highlight of the post-July 4th weekend being cancelled although likely a disappointment for those who were looking forward to the encounter, an interesting dynamic would instead highlight the weekend on July 7th in Monterrey, Mexico where two brothers, each unbeaten, bookended a card promoted by Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing. 

In the main event, rising Super-Middleweight contender Diego Pacheco faced what some considered to be a significant test in the form of veteran Manuel Gallegos. From the opening bell, Gallegos attempted to put constant pressure on Pacheco and tried to walk him down in what was a relatively small ring. Although this may seem at least on the surface to be a wise strategy in trying to cut off the ring and establish the tempo of combat by theoretically making an opponent uncomfortable, Gallegos took significant punishment as he came forward, particularly from hooks to the head.

It is often said that one of the best assets a fighter in any combat sport can have is a good chin, otherwise known as having the ability to take a good punch or strike and keep coming forward. Gallegos did indeed have this quality even as he was taking shots from Pacheco that made yours truly shake his head in disbelief. The ability to absorb such significant amounts of punishment is truly something that is God given. For fighters blessed with such an ability, if one wants to call being able to walk through punches to one's head a blessing, it can at times expose a vulnerability. A vulnerability that many fighters over past decades, one of the most notable among them being Hall of Famer Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr., were able to make careers out of breaking down and exposing. The body.

After three rounds of landing everything he could throw at Gallegos' head as well as taking the best of what his opponent could dish out, Pacheco would find the answer that would bring Gallegos down in round four when he landed a left hooks to the body that sent the "Game" Gallegos down. Although Gallegos would get to his feet, a follow-up barrage from Pacheco would end the fight giving the twenty-two year old Pacheco his nineteenth victory as a professional and his sixteenth knockout. While there is not much to say beyond this being an illustration of a fighter being broken down, what it also demonstrates is the benefit of executing a body attack.

 As one Pacheco ended the evening with a knockout win, another Pacheco began the evening by doing the same. This observer is referring to Diego's younger brother and unbeaten Heavyweight Federico Pacheco. Federico, who stands 6'5 and weighed in over 250lbs. for his bout on the undercard faced a fighter named Oscar Heredia. In what was his fourth fight as a professional, the nineteen year old Pacheco focused on working behind a consistent jab and mixing in hooks to the body. It would be a left hook to the body that would send Heredia down in his own corner in the closing seconds of the second round. Heredia was able to beat the count, but the fight was stopped after the round by his corner.

This was my first time having an opportunity to see Federico Pacheco compete and similar to what his brother was able to do later in the evening, there is not much to say or much one can analyze. What can be said however, with regard to why the element of a consistent attack to an opponent's body is beneficial is that it takes an opponent's ability to move and evade punches away gradually because it effects the opponent's legs. This can also prove to be a useful approach in circumstances where an opponent is able to avoid and defend against punches to the head, which can prove beneficial as a fight progresses in terms of being able to open opportunities to the head. There is also the obvious additional benefit of the possibility of landing a punch in the right spot on an opponent's midsection that can bring a fight to an end suddenly because it often can have a paralyzing effect where an opponent has no choice, but to go down and try to catch their wind, which more often than not, results in said fighter being counted out because it is extremely difficult to move once struck in an area of the body that paralyzes you where you have trouble breathing, whether it be to the liver, ribcage, or solar plexus.

Although the elements of the benefits of a body attack is something that has been proven countless times throughout Boxing history and, despite the midsection being an obvious sensitive area of the human anatomy, it is a form of offense that many fighters today on every level of the sport for whatever reason seem to neglect. Nevertheless, the Pacheco Brothers were able to show in their respective bouts, what the benefits of the body attack could be when executed properly. As for what's next for both, it is difficult to say where Federico Pacheco is in terms of his development with only four professional fights, three of which have come by knockout against limited competition as he is obviously in the beginning stages of his career.

For older brother Diego, he appears to be nearing world championship contention and given his alignment with promoter Eddie Hearn and Hearn also now promoting fellow undefeated Super-Middleweight contender Edgar Berlanga, it appears obvious that their paths are likely to cross, especially if the goal for both men is an eventful challenge of current India Super-Middleweight world champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. The question might be whether or not either fighter's respective teams or perhaps even Hearn are willing to roll the dice and make that fight in the immediate future given both fighters similar standing current, each's growing fan bases, and both being potential challengers for Alvarez down the line.

"And That's The Boxing Truth.

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