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Old 11-29-2011, 08:40 PM
StreetBully2
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There seems to be some confusion amongst fans as to how one should regard Nick Diaz’s "boxing". For many, it seems incongruent for him to be labeled the best boxer in MMA when so little of what he does in the cage can be qualified as being "good" boxing; leaning too far forward in his stance while leading with his face; keeping his hands far out in front of him where they can’t be used to protect the head; feet planted instead of light on the toes; very little movement of his head. Needless to say, none of what you’d expect from an elite boxer.

And yet, the results speak for themselves, with his most recent display of prowess coming at the expense of the previously labeled "best boxer in MMA", BJ Penn. How can Nick Diaz be the exemplifier of the "sweet science" when everything he does runs counter to what entails "good" boxing? The answer lies with the fact that everything he does is exactly what "good" boxing calls for, and the only reason we fans fail to acknowledge this is because we have narrowly focused on the sport as fought under the Marques of Queensbury rules, ignoring the lessons left to us by those who competed during the earlier reigns of London Prizefighting and Broughton’s rules. Fortunately, a few of them were thoughtful enough to write down what entailed good boxing for the "sweet science of bruising".

It is most likely that you never heard of Daniel Mendoza, which is of no surprise since his last public match took place in 1820, but if ever there was a kindred spirit to Diaz it was him. A descendent of Spanish Marronos, he was the father of scientific boxing, whose success helped elevate the position of jews in 18th and 19th century English society. And much like Diaz, he seemed incapable of understanding finances while also being notoriously quick tempered with a propensity to fight whenever he felt slighted in the least, having once famously gotten into three altercations while on his way to be a spectator for a match (the three reasons being that someone’s cart had cut him off in the street, he felt cheated by a shopkeeper, and he didn’t like how a man was looking at him). Most importantly he was an amazing boxer, the best of his era, being the 16th man to hold the English (World’s) heavyweight championship (possessing the title from 1792-1795), and the only middleweight to ever accomplish that feat.

The ruleset that Mendoza fought under during his time was the one divised by Jack Broughton in 1743, the very first codified set of rules in the history of the sport, which were fittingly named Broughton’s rules. They were very simple, numbering seven in total, dealing with such things as the size of the ring, the holding of the purse, and the choosing of umpires. Of the seven, only the last had anything to do with what tactics were allowed during competition.

VII. That no person is to hit his Adversary when he is down, or seize him by the ham, the breeches, or any part below the waist: a man on his knees to be reckoned down.


To elaborate: the only thing banned was the hitting of a downed opponent or any wrestling below the waist. Everything else – hair-pulling, grappling above the waist, wrestling or tripping your opponent to the ground, and, of course, striking with the bare fists – was allowed. And since no gloves nor hand wrappings were used, throwing with all one’s might or aiming blows to the head was naturally discouraged lest you break your hand. In fact, striking ability often rated below wrestling ability with regards to importance in gaining a victory, as seen by our three examples below with the the text being from the 1855 compilation Fights for the Championship; and Celebrated Prize Battles (the full title is much, much longer) and the images from Famous Fights: Past and Present, a boxing newspaper that ran from 1901 to 1904.
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