By Bart Barry-
Saturday at Philadelphias Liacouras Center in a super welterweight title-unification fight broadcast by Fox, Dominican slugger Jeison Banana Rosario beat-down Philadelphias Julian J Rock Williams, stopping Williams in round 5 and snatching his WBA and IBF titles the right way.
In the beginning it had all the trappings of ahomecoming coronation slick graphics, venue, dazzling biography, managementorganization, Watson, sycophantic commentary team and then a curiosity turnedup in the corner labeled Designated Opponent right about the time introductionsgot made.
Sampson Lewkowicz.His is not a flawless eye for talent but its very close, and multiplesbetter than PBCs. Most famous for hiseffective discoveries of Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez, for seeing pasttheir blemished records, a few years ago Lewkowiczsaw which of the Hermanos Benavidez had the true upside, and when he was rightand promoter Top Rank wasnt and tried to poach their ways out of suchshortsightedness, Lewkowicz went to the mat with them and won. Lewkowicz, an Uruguayan, of all things, seesqualities other talent scouts do not.His stable is not huge or assembled at premium prices but comprises atype of prizefighter youd be foolish to schedule for a homecoming showcase.
Which is exactly what PBC did, of course. Theres more to this story, surely, dependingwhich lens you watch it through a bout of flu in camp or a hellish stylematchup some sage or other warned somebody about but theres exactly nochance the braintrust at Fox on PBC on Fox, preeminent though they be,anticipated what befell Williams.
What told very early on and does not portend wellfor Williams in the rematch is how little Williams flush punches affectedBanana. Despite what trickeration drivesreplay selection between rounds Williams technically proper rightcrosscounters did nothing to shortcircuit Rosarios attack or even much dissuade it. Had Williams sliced open Rosarios eyelid orhad Williams own eyelid proved more durable things might have gone differently,but thats all in a fight, and if Williams sight problems came via reopenedscar tissue, as explained during the broadcast, if in other words Williams wasalready accustomed to fighting through blood in his eyes, he sure didnt actlike it.
Let us not pile on Williams for the sins of hismanagement company, though; good people opine Williams is good people. Its hard to cheer against him as it is toimagine his becoming a world titlist in a different boxing ecosystem theenduring lesson of Pacquaio-Thurman.
In his fascinating book The Soul of the Ant suicidal19th-century South African poet Eugne Marais posits a termitary, thelaboriously constructed habitat of what termites Marais studied for a decade,functions as an organism little different from the human body, stretching hismetaphor to include termites of ferocious mien acting like white blood cellswhilst constructionworker termites act as red blood cells. Whatever modern reductionists have proved ordisproved about this metaphor in a century since its publication, it iswellbuilt as it is imaginative, with cells, in the form of near-mindlesstermites, racing through their termitary to ensure its health, like bloodracing through human veins and arteries.It calls to mind a similar if more modern metaphor of the world wide webacting as our species brain whilst its billions of cells labor away obliviousof our contribution to its thoughts or thinking.
So let us stretch these stretched metaphors toinclude in our beloved sports ecosystem (ostensibly red) blood cells likeSampson Lewkowicz and Jeison Rosario, cells scheduled for anonymity all theirdays till an unscheduled tear happens in boxings protective membrane andsuddenly they burst out in violent spurts.Rosario, dropped thrice at Sams Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in 2017by Nathaniel Gallimore a year before J Rock decisioned Nate the Great, wasessential as he was replaceable; boxing needs such men to make coronations forother men but doesnt expect them to be memorable to any but their friends andfamily.
What do you know about, say, Herb Gorilla Siler?
He was a 20-12 heavyweight who died 19 years agoand surely beloved to someone even while anonymous to all but a handful ofaficionados. Too, he was the firstknockout of Cassius Clays prizefighting career four years before there was aMuhammad Ali. Essential as he wasreplaceable in boxings ecosystem, Gorilla is a permanent part of TheGreatests resume even though men like Tony Esperti and Jimmy Robinson werejust as likely to make the same history had their schedules properly coincided.
Let coincidence neither lose an idea like: At26-1-1 eight months ago in Virginia, J Rock was the homecoming b-side forundefeated titlist Jarrett Hurd, raised but 30 miles from the EagleBank Arenawhere Hurds coronation was to happen. Aless cynical scribe, then, should marvel at PBCs marvelous matchmaking,bestower of rich parity, rather than mock the organization for apparentincompetence.
Well. In mydefense I watched Saturdays match live on Fox in the hopes of seeing J Rock dosomething ultimately decisive in a competitive scrap. The scrap was competitive and somethingdecisive surely did transpire.
Im on the Banana wagon now, while we wait forwhatever Naoya Inoue does next.
Authors note: Hearty congratulations to us! Asannounced late last week, 15rounds.com was the 2019 home of not only oursports co-best exemplar of courage, Marc Abrams, but also our sports co-bestexemplar of benevolence, Norm Frauenheim.Two, more-deserving winners cannot be found.
Bart Barry can be reached via Twitter @bartbarry