by David P. Greisman
Rau’shee Warren had Zhanat Zhakiyanov on the canvas twice in the opening round of their fight last month. But it was Warren who nonetheless wound up on the losing end of a split decision, dropping his bantamweight title in the process.
That was a conclusion that didn’t need to happen, according to Warren’s trainer, Barry Hunter.
“I think it was a rough fight. It was more of a strategic and a psychological breakdown,” Hunter told BoxingScene.com. “If you go back, he hurt his opponent early, put him down twice, and then he got a break in the action. His opponent was still hurt and on wobbly legs, and instead of going for the finish, he turned around and started boxing. I thought that was a turning point in the fight. Then you look at all the head-butting and how rough his opponent was. I think that was another blown opportunity. We abandoned the jab. Our head was more in the crowd that night than on our opponent.”
It’s interesting that Hunter noted how Warren didn’t go for the knockout. Prior to the fight, Warren had told BoxingScene.com about how he’d been unable to score the stoppages because he’d tried too hard to get them.
“Most every fighter I’ve been in the ring with, I’ve knocked them down but didn’t finish. That was my problem,” Warren had said. “I get overwhelmed sometimes. I get in a dog mode and just go for the kill and not just set it up. This fight is about being more patient, picking my shots.”
Hunter said Warren still could’ve tried to end the fight.
“He could’ve gone for the finish in a controlled fashion,” Hunter said. “Just set your man up, and then let it go. For whatever reason, and I was trying to get his attention to give him that finishing combination, but instead of him looking directly in the corner which he practiced, he looked to the crowd.”
It’s a tough loss, but Hunter believes his fighter will learn from it and be back.
“I don’t think it’ll be a long time before he gets another shot,” the trainer said. “When you look at the weight class and just how many competitive fights you have in that weight class, it’s highly possible that he’ll get a shot sooner or later.
“Raushee is very talented and a very decorated fighter in the amateurs and the pros, but he only has about 15 professional fights. It could be still a maturing process for him. I thought, of all the bad things, I saw a lot of good things too. I have no doubt in my mind that if that match ever takes place again, he will come out victorious.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]