Great fighters who just couldn’t take it

2012-06-09 20:10

There are a number of acclaimed fighters who could spectacularly take their adversaries’ heads off but surprisingly folded under sustained attacks.

As a result, these fighters are popularly known to have glass jaws, an unpleasant description de-emphasising their eye-catching knockout victories.

Who are they?

Roy Jones Jr., Thomas “Motor City Cobra” Hearns, Francois “White Buffalo” Botha, Macbute “Macman” Sinyabi and Loyiso Mtya.

Jones Jr. was once regarded as invincible after initially taking the fistic game by storm, walking through foes as if they were not there, cutting 40 down to size with fearsome power.

Strangely, the man believed to be the most gifted to lace up boxing gloves and a ruthless finisher, was himself chopped down to the canvas four times with seeming ease. This was disappointing for the only middleweight in boxing history to win a heavyweight crown.

Hearns, the lanky American and one of the greatest and hard-hitting fighters, winner of five world titles in awesome knockout fashion, crumbled when nailed, losing four of his five battles within the distance.

Connoisseurs have not stopped reminiscing about his battles against Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Wilfred Benitez Roberto Duran and Pipino Cuevas. Hearns’ unbeaten run in 32 bouts was sensationally ended
in round 14 by the then exciting Leonard in a fight that proved that the man from Detroit, US, had a suspect chin.

Two-time world champion Botha lost all his battles, seven of them, on knockouts against foes whose names will remain etched in boxing history.

They include “Iron” Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Wladimir Klitschko, Lennox Lewis and Michael Moorer.

Sinyabi’s 10th round knockout defeat against Thailand’s Thangthong Kiattaweesuk in Bangkok last month, could suggest that he too has a glass jaw.

Sinyabi, a man who took all his 18 victims to slumberland, has now suffered two defeats – all of them by embracing the canvas.

Mtya, a former South African junior middleweight and a winner of 26 fights, lost seven fights, all on knockouts.

He facetiously boasts that: “No fighter was good enough to beat me on points.”

The question then is: is there such a thing as a glass jaw in boxing?

Mike Lambert, an associate professor of exercise science and sports medicine research unit, pointed out that there was at this stage no conclusive evidence to prove a glass jaw. Said Lambert: “Some boxers are not as vulnerable as others if their brains are in a similar state of health.

“Multiple head blows can make a boxer, in particular a long-campaigning one, unable to take it any longer. This is because an accumulation of punches to the head results in temporary loss of brain function due to tearing of blood vessels.”

The legendary “Marvelous” Hagler and “Real Deal” Holyfield were some of the few regarded as having granite chins. They were known to have “strong necks that resisted a sudden angular acceleration of the head”.

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