Writted by: Mike Ochosa
I was out of the country and was unable to to watch the Mark Magsayo vs. Shota Hayashi fight. I heard that the fight was entertaining and Magsayo won by unanimous decision.
Fortunately, I saw the replay on ABS-CBN Sports and Action and caught rounds 7 to 10. Although the boxers were both very busy it was obvious to me that Magsayo was the much better pugilist and was clearly going to cruise to victory. Hayashi did not have any punching power, was lacking in fundamentals and was unable to defend himself against the body shots of Magsayo. It was also clear that the Japanese was tough enough to take Magsayo’s punches and stay up till the end.
Magsayo deserved the praises my boxing writer colleagues were throwing at him. What caught my attention and concern was that some firmly believe that Magsayo is ready now for a world title. What was more alarming to me was the name Oscar Valdez was being mentioned.
MAGSAYO IS A DECENT FIGHTER
Let me first be clear, I believe that Mark Magsayo is one of the better boxers we have. Pit him against any regular boxer, Mark will find a way to finish the job. The last couple of Antonio L. Aldeguer (ALA) Promotions fights aired on ABS-CBN Sports and Action do give the viewer their moneys’ worth. It is full of action and definitely entertaining. However, to say that Mark is ready for Oscar Valdez, the current World Boxing Organization champion, might be premature.
HAYASHI IS GOOD BUT NOT A GREAT CHALLENGER
Shota Hayashi’s record coming into the fight against Magsayo was 30-6-1. Of his thirty wins, he has posted 18 knock outs. A relatively good KO to win ratio but his list of past opponents reflects a lack of quality challengers. His last 3 opponents already had a total of 11 losses split amongst them and all of them have already suffered a KO loss.
Hayashi wrested the Japanese Featherweight Title from Noriyuki Ueno who had a record of 18-13-5 when they met, and had already suffered 3 knockout defeats.
MAGSAYO HAS NOT BEEN TRULY PUT TO THE TEST
Magsayo’s previous opponents were not that impressive, as well.
Prior to Hayashi, Magsayo was featured in fights against boxers who already had a good number of losses before their meeting. Daniel Diaz had 7 losses, Issa Nampepeche also had 7. Ramiro Robles and Chris Avalos had 5 and 4, respectively.
These fighters have decent records and gave Magsayo a good challenge and the fans a good show. But to say that this experience is enough for Magsayo to face Oscar Valdez should be given a second thought.
OSCAR VALDEZ IS FORMIDABLE
Oscar Valdez is the reigning and undisputed champion of his weight division and boasts of an unblemished record of 23 wins with no losses. On top of that Valdez has 19 knockouts to his credit, an 83% KO/win ratio.
Valdez has faced quality opponents. His last 5 opponents only share a total of 5 losses. Two of them were undefeated before they stepped into the ring with him namely; Matias Rueba and Genesis Servania.
I have been fortunate to have seen Oscar Valdez at ringside in live action against Hiroshige Osawa and Evgeny Gradovich, both of whom pushed Valdez to the limit but further heightened the potential of the current champion. Valdez was always in control, throwing combinations, fighting intelligently and unleashing his power at the most appropriate times.
This does not mean that Valdez is unbeatable. In fact, it was Filipino Genesis Servania, who revealed this. Valdez’ unanimous decision victory does not reflect how close the fight really was. Sevania matched each combination of Valdez and stayed with the Mexican toe to toe.
Valdez was also a touted amateur competing in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Despite not bringing home the gold, Valdez’ skill and power were brought to fore.
MARK MAGSAYO MUST PLAN, WAIT
Mark Magsayo is ranked number 2 contender by the WBO. His record of 18 wins with no losses is obviously outstanding, his knockout to win ratio also is also equally notable at 72%.
However boxing is as subjective as subjective can be. The numbers although helpful should be reviewed with great care if the decision to be made for Magsayo is one that can make or break his career.
We have seen many Filipino boxers with remarkable records and who have given us equally thrilling performances suddenly fall off the radar after devastating losses when matched with world class competition: Rey Bautista, Abe Concepcion, AJ Banal and Drian Francisco just to name a few.
This begs the following questions:
“Can Mark Magsayo become a world champion?” The answer is a resounding yes. His record is healthy and competitive. He has the power and the grit to take it to a higher level.
“Can he beat Oscar Valdez?” Yes, but not in 2018. If Valdez is the target then Magsayo and his team must prepare for the kind of boxer Valdez is.
“What should Magsayo do?” The higher the target, the higher the risks, the bigger the heart. His next two fights should be against boxers whose levels are higher than his last 5 opponents. His team must be ready to challenge their ward with the best they can get to make him the best that he can be.
Then and only then, should Magsayo challenge for the belt.
*fight records from boxrec.com
Mike Ochosa is a boxing analyst for TV having called 12 of Pacquiao’s fights. He has also worked as an international boxing analyst for Ringstar Promotions of Singapore. He was President of Punchout Boxing Club and has had the privilege of managing and training several professional fighters.
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