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Old 05-21-2012, 08:48 AM   #16
smitty78
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

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Not long ago I read Lewis's book and he reckons Rowsell was the best fighter he ever had. That was a bit of a surprise to say the least
Yeah Rowsell was probably the most unlucky fighter who ever lived. Was as hard to hit as Whitacker, great boxing skills unfortunately forgotten today. The Gairy St Clair of the 90's a genuine world class fighter who would outbox the majority of the world's best at his weight.

Check out the cowboy in action

[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sgcdltcTDI[/ame]
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

I'd suggest the OP rematch the first two fights, but only the first round. I think you'll find a couple of notable differences:

1) In the first fight, Jeff actually comes out cautiously aggressive. He's quite in a stand-up style, but looking to come in when the opportunity presents itself. When he does, Nelson willingly gives ground.

2) In the second fight, it seems to me Azumha's No. 1 tactical adjustment is to be the aggressor from the start. He gets Jeff on the ropes three times, I think, in the first minute. Jeff's stance is no different from the start of the first fight (he came forward from a crouch in the first fight, but not much in the first round and pretty much only when countering). When Jeff does get Azumah on the ropes at about the 1:30 mark, Fenech takes about a half-step back to give himself punching room and Nelson immediately comes forward and gets himself off the ropes, another tactical adjustment. And then comes the big-punch knockdown.

To me, it seems clear that Azumah took the approach that he had learned that Jeff was much better coming forward so he tried to take the play away and become the aggressor. Jeff didn't handle it well, and then comes the haymaker and Jeff has reason to be cautious the rest of the way -- he doesn't want to run into another one of those. A boxer once told me, "Everybody's got a game plan until they run into a rock."

So I think Nelson found a solution for Jeff's aggression and then landed a game-changing punch. Don't look at Jeff in the first fight when he's having his way, has already felt his man out and has found a comfort zone, and apply that to how he started the second fight -- I thought he started the second fight much as he did the first, but Azumah had him out of his comfort zone by becoming the aggressor.

There's also another factor that may or may not have come into play: as noted in the commentary just before the first bell of the second fight, there's a record crowd for Australia on hand. They are there to see their man right a wrong and fully expect Jeff to win and to do so convincingly. That was, I am sure, the atmosphere all during Jeff's training camp leading up to the fight. In short, there was tremendous pressure on Fenech, probably more than he had ever faced. It can take a toll -- some obviousy handle it better than others. But factor in that pressure after the first-round knockdown and maybe something in the back of Jeff's head kicks in that says, 'I cannot get knocked out.' Instead of fighting to win, he's fighting not to lose, or not to get laid out in front of his countrymen. Can't prove that's the case, but it's a possibility.

You choose to dismiss the malaria thing, but from what the commentary says and what I had vaguely recalled, no one suggested Nelson was at an absolutely debilitated state -- but that he was RECOVERING from malaria. I did a quick Google search and found an article from 2011 where Nelson was involved in a malaria prevention program in his home country, which to me lends credence to his claim. It would be taking things a long way, indeed, for him to work with his country's national healthy department so many years after the fact to provide cover for an excuse for a loss that happened so long ago. If he was weaker because his training camp was less than it should have been because of his malaria bout, it quite well explains Zuma being stronger in the rematches. Jeff may have sensed immediately that this was a much stronger and better-prepared opponent in the rematch.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:31 PM   #18
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

Great thread with some great posts. Cheers.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:52 AM   #19
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

Nelson still had the effects of being sick during the first fight.

The think the reason Fenech couldnt bull him was because he felt the strength difference in the rematch. Azumah`s punches even sounded different. He wasnt the same guy.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:34 AM   #20
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

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Originally Posted by Saintpat View Post
I'd suggest the OP rematch the first two fights, but only the first round. I think you'll find a couple of notable differences:

1) In the first fight, Jeff actually comes out cautiously aggressive. He's quite in a stand-up style, but looking to come in when the opportunity presents itself. When he does, Nelson willingly gives ground.
I also noticed that in the first fight, and oddly enough, as I said in my opening post, his legs betrayed him ever so slightly from a Nelson right hand.

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2) In the second fight, it seems to me Azumha's No. 1 tactical adjustment is to be the aggressor from the start. He gets Jeff on the ropes three times, I think, in the first minute. Jeff's stance is no different from the start of the first fight (he came forward from a crouch in the first fight, but not much in the first round and pretty much only when countering). When Jeff does get Azumah on the ropes at about the 1:30 mark, Fenech takes about a half-step back to give himself punching room and Nelson immediately comes forward and gets himself off the ropes, another tactical adjustment. And then comes the big-punch knockdown.

To me, it seems clear that Azumah took the approach that he had learned that Jeff was much better coming forward so he tried to take the play away and become the aggressor. Jeff didn't handle it well, and then comes the haymaker and Jeff has reason to be cautious the rest of the way -- he doesn't want to run into another one of those. A boxer once told me, "Everybody's got a game plan until they run into a rock."

So I think Nelson found a solution for Jeff's aggression and then landed a game-changing punch. Don't look at Jeff in the first fight when he's having his way, has already felt his man out and has found a comfort zone, and apply that to how he started the second fight -- I thought he started the second fight much as he did the first, but Azumah had him out of his comfort zone by becoming the aggressor.
I will need to rewatch the second fight and look for the adjustments you mention. I think it's a very reasonable observation and thanks for pointing it out.

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There's also another factor that may or may not have come into play: as noted in the commentary just before the first bell of the second fight, there's a record crowd for Australia on hand. They are there to see their man right a wrong and fully expect Jeff to win and to do so convincingly. That was, I am sure, the atmosphere all during Jeff's training camp leading up to the fight. In short, there was tremendous pressure on Fenech, probably more than he had ever faced. It can take a toll -- some obviousy handle it better than others. But factor in that pressure after the first-round knockdown and maybe something in the back of Jeff's head kicks in that says, 'I cannot get knocked out.' Instead of fighting to win, he's fighting not to lose, or not to get laid out in front of his countrymen. Can't prove that's the case, but it's a possibility.
I think fighting when expected to win brings an entirely different type of pressure. I had entertained the idea that fighting on home soil with huge expectations from his countrymen may have had an effect on his psyche, since I've seen affect in other fighters as well.

Of course, we will never know, but it's perfectly possible that Fenech may have been affected to some degree.
It sounds almost scandalous to suggest Fenech may possibly have been fighting after the knockdown to not lose.
I'm not sure I buy into that, but a fighter's psyche is a fragile thing sometimes, even among the most self-assured fighters, and one never can truly tell.
That knockdown definitely seemed to take something out of him. He seemed to have an expression of "I can't believe this." written on his face, as if in mild shock.

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You choose to dismiss the malaria thing, but from what the commentary says and what I had vaguely recalled, no one suggested Nelson was at an absolutely debilitated state -- but that he was RECOVERING from malaria. I did a quick Google search and found an article from 2011 where Nelson was involved in a malaria prevention program in his home country, which to me lends credence to his claim. It would be taking things a long way, indeed, for him to work with his country's national healthy department so many years after the fact to provide cover for an excuse for a loss that happened so long ago. If he was weaker because his training camp was less than it should have been because of his malaria bout, it quite well explains Zuma being stronger in the rematches. Jeff may have sensed immediately that this was a much stronger and better-prepared opponent in the rematch.
I chose to dismiss a lot of excuses fighters make after a fight, especially if they lose. Fighters lie all the time; look at Haye and his broken baby toe. Any old excuse is good enough.
Perhaps if this had been mentioned before the fight, I would have a much easier time believing it.

I've seen the effects of Malaria first-hand, and it's an illness that absolutely floors the person affected. It can take months to recover from, and I just can't see a fighter recovering from Malaria fighting that kind of fight against a strong determined opponent and looking formidable in the process.

Him being involved in Malaria prevention operations doesn't neccessarily add credence to his story, imo. The first thing one would do when involved in this sort of operation is to take Malaria pills and whatever other preventative measures are available, so it's quite possible he would be the last person to catch the disease.

Hate to sound cynical, but I'm not buying what Nelson said.

Thanks for the long and insightful reply.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:50 AM   #21
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

If he was weakened by previous illness that affected his training, it explains Azumah not having the strength or fortitude to get himself off the ropes in the first fight. He certainly looks like a different animal the second and third time around.

Hard to tell what goes on in a fighter's mind. Jeff had his way the first time around and may have been taken aback when Zuma came out smoking the second match. Rewatching, I got the distinct impression in the first round that Fenech was thinking he'd let this unexpectedly aggressive, stronger-than-he-reckoned Nelson blow off a little steam before beginning his attack -- and then he got hit with that rock, changing everything. For a spell, at least, he goes into survival mode and is ever-wary after that of Nelson's power, changing the entire dynamic of the fight.

In cases where there is a large gap in talent or physical tools, rematches are usually decided in the first fight -- the superior fighter has already established his dominance and it's a matter of when and how. In a case like this, where Nelson is clearly on the same level as Fenech (or as it turns out, a higher level), you can throw the first fight out the window. It's round 1, not round 13.

If a guy (in this case Fenech) goes in thinking he has an edge that he does not, in reality, have, then making that mental adjustment is in the least very difficult. Doing so when a world-class opponent is in front of you is a proposition that a frontrunner like Fenech had not previously experienced.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:38 AM   #22
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

Nelson was always making excuses for performances.Every one in the book at some point.Some maybe true but he sure made a habit out of it.

No way you can box a 12 or 15 round fight unless you've more or less recovered from something like Malaria.He could well have not been in the best shape, but it's more likely because of taking Fenech lightly, Jeff being a smaller fighter moving up who often relied on strength and aggression and by that point with well documented hand-problems.
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:41 AM   #23
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Default Re: Fenech v Nelson II...what happened there?

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**** happens. At the time I refused to acknowledge the character faults that Fenech had but in hindsight there were a few. eg In the Carlos Zarate fight he thought he'd lost on a TKO due to a head clash that resulted in a cut, and was about to lay into Zarate after the fight was over. He simply didn't take too well to things not going his way

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