There’s no substitute for good boxing

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Baker Geist Updated
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To satisfy the financial needs of those who make money in the sport of boxing, pre-fight hype is essential to generating mainstream interest in a fight.


With today’s wide availability of technology and an endless supply of YouTube videos and social media posts that allow boxers to constantly promote a fight through trash talk, the hype surrounding an event often overshadows the fight itself.

Saturday night, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, welterweights Jamal James and veteran Antonio DeMarco proved that no amount of hype can overshadow the entertainment provided when fighters slug it out simply for the love of the sport.

I won’t lie. I didn’t expect much from the fight. I hadn’t heard much about it before fight night, it was following a lackluster undercard and it had all the makings of a homecoming showcase fight for James. DeMarco (33-8-1 24 KOs), is a tough fighter, but wars with the likes of Jorge Linares and one-sided losses to Adrien Broner, Jesse Vargas, Rances Barthelemy and Omar Figueroa Jr. made me believe the fight was already decided.

As I watched DeMarco test James throughout a back and forth slugfest, I realized how wrong I was. DeMarco came to win, repeatedly pushing James up against the ropes with hard punches, even hurting him early in the fight. James responded well, using slick boxing skills and composure not always found in fighters when things don’t go as planned.

James (26-1 12 KOs), used a combination of slick boxing skills and a desire to constantly return fire in front of his hometown crowd to edge out a unanimous decision victory. The two landed a combined 373 punches on one another in a fight — that purely for its action — should be considered when determining the fight of the year; although it’s hard to argue against the significance of Andy Ruiz Jr. upsetting Anthony Joshua.

Whether James’ career continues on an upward climb remains to be seen. He is not yet ranked as a top 10 welterweight in Ring Magazine or the Transnational Boxing Rankings — although he shows the skill and heart to get there. DeMarco is a former lightweight champion who may retire or continue on in a gatekeeper role for up and coming prospects.

For one night, however, they reminded everyone that a boxing match — without the hype of many top-level fights — can still be entertaining and provide the type of excitement any sports fan can appreciate.

For that, they should both be commended.

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