Mark Salgado dropped a split decision on his second professional fight.
You’re not supposed to lose in boxing. So much to the point that fighters pad their record against lesser fighters that offer them nothing in the way of competition. Fighters don’t grow, but fall victim to their own hype. And when they eventually lose, it’s accepted for fighters to claim that they were robbed and be a poor sport about the result. Many fighters switch coaches after their first loss. They’ll blame everyone but themselves.
Team Salgado has a strong culture supporting Mark. There’s no finger-pointing and no excuses. Personally, I have my thoughts on the fight – but I’ll let you all come to your own conclusions by watching the fight up on YouTube as posted by Boxtalk101. But when I spoke with Mark after the fight, he only talked about what he could have done differently – how he could have fought on the outside more and not ended up in so many clinches holding and hitting. “I didn’t fight my fight” was all he said. Jesse echoed his sentiment, saying “we’re only going to get better.”
Luciano Ramos is a rough customer and it was entirely his business to make this an ugly fight. At 140lbs (above Mark’s weight class), I’m sure he thought he could be physical and try to tire him out by putting his body weight on him (Mark is very strong for his weight though). Ramos has also fought two undefeated highly touted prospects prior to Mark. He dropped Mandeep Jangra in his debut, before losing a decision, and lost to Charlie Sheehy in his second bout. On Saturday night, Luciano Ramos pushed Mark’s head down, used his forearm to push Mark’s chin up, led with his head, and wrestled with Mark. Jesse expected this and warned Mark about it, but he still got dragged into the ugly type of fight Luciano wanted. When reviewing the footage, 5 minutes out of the 12 minutes of action were fought out of the clinch, with Ramos holding and hitting often. Ramos threw his overhand quite often, and although he did land a few, he would lunge straight into a clinch immediately after and start wrestling with Mark afterwards. Even out of the 7 minutes of non-clinching action, Mark never found his rhythm. After one moment where Luciano was warned for using his forearm to push Mark’s face away before hitting, Mark got frustrated and they got into a furious exchange on the ropes.
I wrote last week that Olympic alternate Charlie Sheehy executed a perfect gameplan against Ramos, and that I expected Mark to try to replicate his performance. I personally thought Mark still did enough to win the fight, but he clearly didn’t keep Ramos on the outside and box the way he planned to.
It’s important to be honest with yourself. You can fight horribly in a win or fight well in a loss. A win can mask deficiencies when fighters get caught up in the echo chamber of their fans and friends telling them they’re the greatest. Losses provide the greatest learning opportunity – one which most fighters decline the moment they start claiming fights are fixed or blaming their coaches. The best fighters can always judge their performance, win or loss, impartially and find things they need to improve on.
Mark and Jesse’s comments after the fight show that, regardless of which way the decision went, they’re judging their performance and not the decision. Best believe they’ll come back stronger.
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About the Author:
Coach Ian is an ultra-marathon runner and a volunteer coach at the non-profit boxing organization, Dreamland Boxing, in San Jose, CA. He competed in boxing for both Dreamland and collegiately at UCLA. His goal is to empower all to be the best that they can be, in boxing and in life. You can find Coach Ian on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.