By Cliff Rold
All have heard some derivative on ‘threes,’ or more succinctly, that things happen in threes.
It is often brought up when old time Hollywood stars pass from being. The first falls and some wait for the next two shoes to drop. One may hear it in connection to weddings, seeing one friend fall to matrimony and then two more announce nuptials.
There is a word for it of course.
A phrase as well: Self-fulfilling prophecy.
Belief in some rule of threes reflects the comical, and often whimsical, desire to see something strange or grand at work.
It’s probably not real. It’s more fun to think it is.
Anyone connected to, or rooting for, 2004 U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo (26-3, 15 KO) this Saturday will want to believe. A likable, earnest professional since 2005, Escobedo rides a four-fight win streak into the one big moment thus far to elude him in the paid ranks.
This Saturday, matched with WBO 130 lb. titlist Adrien Broner (23-0, 19 KO), Escobedo gets his title shot.
Three is a number that for whatever reason has been liberally applied across the human spectrum; in nursery rhymes (Three Billy Goats Gruff), Sinatra songs (Three Coins in a Fountain), and even religion (Three Wise Men). Escobedo will hope to plant his flag on the category of three major fistic upsets in relatively close proximity (and how close the proximity can be is of course varied depending on how willed the superstition is into reality).
In recent weeks, boxing fans have been treated to fabulous battles where the underdog made good on a dream. On June 23, Josesito Lopez laid a jaw breaking beatdown on former Welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz. Three weeks later, on July 14, Danny Garcia landed a left hook to change his fortunes in round three against the favored Amir Khan, dropping him once and twice more in the fourth to unify a pair of belts at 140 lbs.
Lopez has been rewarded for his efforts with a high-profile chance to play spoiler again, matched with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on September 15th. Garcia sees himself propelled to the top of his class and the chance to write his own ticket as a marketable new American star.
Should Escobedo join them, those with a healthy affection for rabbit’s feet and avoidance of sidewalk cracks will nod knowingly.
There have been those who try to explain three’s in a broader cosmic sense. Russian George Gurdjeff saw a “Law of Three” at work in the awakening of spiritual consciousness. Your local Wiccan novelty shop can be found with literature or chatter about a similar “Rule of Three.” Escobedo’s fate will lie less in the stars and more in the leather of two fists.
His odds will appear long for good reason. Broner is younger (22), faster, and has shown able defense and power. To date in his career, Escobedo has struggled with men faster than him. Daniel Jimenez paced him early in his career for his first loss and Robert Guerrero stayed a step ahead for all of ten in his third. He managed a split nod in losing to Michael Katsidis, whose volume assault was complimented by a tick of advantage in hand speed.
None of them get off like Broner can.
Author’s Note: This column was written prior to Broner’s failure to make weight on Friday. Who knew the biggest three would be 3 ½ lbs. overweight. Missing weight is nothing new but to miss by almost a full division is ridiculous. Perhaps Broner needs to spend less time on Twitter offer inane, immature thoughts on women and how great he is and more time brushing out some professionalism.
When he succeeds, Escobedo wins more by knowing how to fight than with any one particular blessing. He’s got fundamentals, a good beard, and guts.
Knowing how to fight counts. Knowing when to throw, and timing an attack, counts. With a whole career bottled into a single moment, Escobedo has chances. He’s probably never faced a physical package like Broner. Conversely, he represents the toughest foe Broner has faced to date. Prior to this, the mantle was held by Daniel Ponce De Leon and Broner, still young and learning his craft, looked less than spectacular.
It’s enough to maintain regard for Escobedo as underdog while respecting that he could win without too much shock to be had.
Those who love a good story will bask in the glow of the upset, three’s or no. Escobedo would surely be a good story. An understated and humble warrior, big wins for men like Escobedo are always easy to celebrate. They appeal to the blue-collar side of the audience and the grainy stock footage of the mind’s eye where great fights take place.
If the upset occurs, the enhancement of a belief in three’s in inevitable as will be the enhancement of Escobedo’s accounting opportunities. Broner probably takes him. He has all the tools to do so.
But if recent events remind us of anything, it is an adage more grounded in reality than any numeric anomaly: that’s why they fight the fights.
The Weekly Ledger
But wait, there’s more…
Garcia Topples Khan: http://www.boxingscene.com/danny-garcia-talks-talk-walks-walk--55018
Picks of the Week: http://www.boxingscene.com/boxingscenecoms-television-picks-week--55089
Cliff’s Notes… Without a chance to see Toshiyuki Igarashi-Sonny Boy Jaro as yet, the ratings update and report cards for last week are held in abeyance. Keep an eye out…Win or lose, the heart of Amir Khan is unquestionable but so much has been noted of it that another great heart may be neglected: Danny Garcia’s. The Philly native took some monster bombs and didn’t let up on Khan even when he appeared to gas. Both Garcia and Khan will be sure to entertain us all many more times…So, can Brian Viloria-Hernan Marquez get made or what? Enough theorizing. Get the fight done…And get Moruti Mthalane in position for the winner. No need for the best Flyweight in the world to get left in the cold (all due respect to the new lineal champ Igarashi)…It may not be what everyone wants, but David Haye-Alexander Povetkin would be a hell of a fight. Heavyweight has brought some action this year. That fight would keep it going…Anselmo Moreno vs. Eric Morel is poor consolation for one of the world’s best. Moreno needs a bigger stage…It’s nice to hear fire from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. about the WBC protecting Sergio Martinez from him. It’s humorous to hear his promoter Bob Arum acknowledge the obvious this week with a little bit of ‘hey dude, no, that was us protecting the cash cow.’ September 15, we find out if the wait was long enough.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]