Every once in awhile I go onto Fightnews and see a listing for a main event on a spanish language network that just wilds me out. Usually, you have a fight between a couple guys that 3-4 years ago would have headlined on Showtime or HBO, or been straight up money as a undercard attraction on a PPV. This week, we as boxing fans get one of those moments because two really good featherweights that were never quite good enough to win a featherweight title are gonna fight each other.
Now, I know, it is not ideal. Juarez is deep into potential palookavilla. If I were willing to be honest with myself for a moment and really consider his well being as a human, I might be horrified to show such excitement when it comes to watching a guy who rightfully should have lost 8 of his last 9 get in there with Escalante and his punching power. Juarez is 32, but he's an old 32. He didn't look at all good against Andrew Cancio in a losing effort in that fight, and Cancio himself has subsequently been exposed as mediocre. Escalante's 2 round termination of Leonilo Miranda sure looks a lot better than anything Cancio has done or might ever do, and he's lining up to take on a Rocky Juarez more and more likely to be affected by punches.
But I gotta level with 'ya. I'm one of those people - the people that was okay with Juarez getting a million title shots that he never won at. One of the people who was excited to see Juarez underachieve time and time again in the ring. Sometimes, guys achieve. They hit the peak suddenly when everything comes together, and for however long that wave can be ridden, they hop aboard and take it. In recent years, we've seen that at a variety of weight classes. Oleg Maskaev cleaned himself up and managed to knock out Hasim Rahman at the very worst possible time for Hasim and earn himself a little money and credibility for once. Nate Campbell rebounded from several bad losses, including the astoundingly embarassing KO defeat against Robbie Peden on Fox Sports, to beat Juan Diaz and claim a bunch of belts at lightweight. Jorge Arce's career has been buried more times than I can count, and yet he's now the most desired opponent for the best 122lb fighter in the world.
Now, Juarez probably isn't going to achieve. He's probably not really gonna test Escalante in any serious way. The truth is that he's more game than a post-Wittier Vivian Harris, but that probably puts him at far greater risk physically. But truthfully, if Juarez was really thinking about his health, he would never have boxed in the first place. Or he would have walked away after, god, the Litzau fight perhaps? I understand that by watching the fight on Telefutura and being bombarded with Tecate advertisements, they got me like the dumb mark that I am. I even am willing to concede that perhaps this isn't the best thing for Rocky Juarez too by getting in the ring. But he's a grown man, and I'm a guy watching boxing. We've both made our choices, and if we continue to do what we do, we're going to have to live with those consequences. His will be physical, mine moral. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I'm hoping for a lively contest on Telefutura against all hope, and if that makes me a bad boxing fan, well, I'm not sure there's such a thing as a good one to start with.