Nov 28, 2010

Boxing intangibles: Jason Litzau and the Heart Factor

When you’re a boxing fan and you see a matchup, certain things jump out at you when you see the tale of the tape. You look at weight, height, reach, and age. When you also factor a boxer’s record, you have a good idea of what you’re going to see in a fight. What you don’t see is a little bar that measures a fighter’s heart.

Last night Jason Litzau stepped into the ring as a 13-1 underdog against Celestino Caballero. For a brief background check, they were trying to put Caballero against Juanma Lopez or Yuriorkis Gamboa and after his performance last night, he can kiss those plans goodbye. Here’s the thing, nothing in Litzau’s career indicates that anyone should take him as serious contender facing someone of the supposed caliber of Celestino. Caballero is 5’11 and for a lightweight (130 lbs) that’s gigantic. Hell a lot of welterweights (147 lbs) don’t pass the 5’9 mark (Andre Berto, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao and a host of others). So off the bat, you got like, well this should be a short night for Caballero. Last night was anything but a cake walk and it shows what happens when you take someone lightly and they have a chip on their shoulder. Last night Jason Litzau had a chip the size of Rhode Island on his shoulder and he muscled his way through Caballero to knock it off.

Here’s the thing, everyone was worried he might get hurt, no one gave him a shot in hell and all around, he faced so much chatter of how he had to be careful that this lit a fire in Litzau he probably didn’t know he had. The kid’s story has him with a troubled past with an abusive alcoholic father that taught him and his brother how to steal. He turned to boxing and still mixed with the wrong crowd and when he met his fiancĂ©e, he decided to clean his act. Last night he ruined the plans for a boxer who was being talked about to have million dollar fights with the boxing world’s elite. Pretty big step he’s taken and though he showed boxing skills last night, it was all about heart. He refused to let anyone tell him something could not be done. He refused to enter the ring as a loser and he refused to simply settle for a paycheck. He took a poorly prepared, arrogant boxer who was looking wayyyyy past him and taught him a very tough lesson in what it means to be a boxer. You don’t take ANYONE lightly and when you step into the ring, all the hype in the world won’t matter, because it’s just two guys with gloved hands trying to knock the other out.

And just because I see it fit to put it into this post, that’s why I don’t like Floyd Mayweather. Floyd may have all the skills in the world but he’s never put himself at risk and all he’s shown is skill… no heart. And all you Floyd fans can bask in his boxing wonder, but you can never tell me Floyd has heart… because he might… but he’s never shown it, hence me never getting on the Floyd bandwagon.

So to Jason Litzau and his heart, I say congrats kid. You made boxing fans proud and showed that if you want something, you don’t wait for someone to give it to you, you take it.



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