By Aron Agerton in Sports
March 1, 2012
As a writer, I like to see what my contemporaries are up to. And one of the best today has an informative look at one of the biggest fights on UFC 144’s card and maybe ever. For the original story and more on MMA around the world go to HeadKickLegend.
Last night, Tim Boetsch came back from being significantly outstruck by the rangey jab of the taller, bulkier Yushin Okami. Okami had been utilizing a southpaw jab all night, something which typically only works for truly great strikers or against pretty mediocre ones. Okami occasionally ate a heavy right hook counter to his continuous jabbing efforts, but things looked grim for Boetsch as Okami started mixing in heavy body kicks. Then, once the Japanese middleweight had stunned Boetsch on the feet and was failing to land through Boetsch’s covering up, Okami threw some beautiful hooks to the body. The sign of an intelligent fighter is to take all the free body shots your opponent lets you while he is covering his head (something Kid Yamamoto failed to do when he had Vaughn Lee hurt earlier in the night.
Out of seemingly nowhere however, Boetsch stunned the bigger, sharper Okami and proceeded to provide a terrific finish, laying the Japanese fighter out against the fence. While for the most part Boetsch was significantly outstruck, he did show a brilliant infighting technique in finishing the fight. Okami is an amazing fighter when he turns to blanket mode – he can smother his opponents without allowing them to get anything off, and it was this ability to smother an opponent which Boetsch had to navigate his way around while he had Okami wobbling. While Okami tried – like a smart fighter should – to tie his foe up, Boetsch cross-faced Okami and utilized a technique which hasn’t been seen much in boxing for many years; the infighting uppercut made famous by Jack Johnson.
Jack Johnson was the first black heavyweight champion of the world and an incredibly controversial figure both inside and outside of the ring. He was known as a defensive genius and this was largely due to his ability to tie his opponents up at will and do damage there. As much a wrestler as a pure boxer, he used underhooks, headfighting and bicep control to destroy Jim Jeffries – undefeated heavyweight champion of the world and a man who enlisted Frank Gotch and Farmer Burns as wrestling sparring partners in his camps. Both Johnson and Jeffries understood the value of wrestling to a fighter. Johnson’s money punch was an uppercut from infighting range while holding his opponent just as Boetsch did. Notice how Boetsch turns his hips so far that it looks as it he is going to throw it perpendicular to Okami. Now see this nicely posed photograph of Johnson demonstrating his technique for the San Francisco Call during the build up to his fight with Stanley Ketchel.
Johnson was an absolute master at these short range, full body uppercuts and it is highly recommended that you watch his videos – the man was dirty boxing in an era of swingers. Johnson was so powerful in the clinch that he often literally held his opponents up when they were about to fall simply so that they didn’t get away with an 8 count break from his assault. Here is a video of his destruction of Tommy Burns, Johnson really hits his stride against the Canadian at around the 1:55 mark. Brutal uppercuts from then on.