Buakaw Por Pramuk

Friday, June 8, 2012

Muay Thai forces you to expect the unexpected

In Thailand there's a powerful reality in the old adage "expect the unexpected." No more so than in Muay Thai where what seems certain ain't necessarily so.

Sam-A, left, is rocked by a elbow strike during his bout with Penake Sitnoumnoi. PHOTO: ROB COX

Take the recent main event between the almost impeccable boxer Sam-A Kayang 5 Dao and his opponent Penake Sitnoumnoi, who in their last match-up was knocked out by Sam-A with a crunching elbow strike.
Who would have been bold enough to predict that in the rematch Penake would use his elbow weapon to strike down Sam-A?
But that's what happened in the fourth round of the feature event at Lumpinee Stadium.
The underdog Penake jolted Sam-A not once but twice with lighting elbow strikes and matched the 2011 best fighter in Thailand with dazzling outside kicks and hard inside grappling.
The Lumpinee crowd that had come to see one of the most brilliant Muay Thai fighters of modern times was stunned when Sam-A was knocked down before he staggered to his feet, bloodied and defiant.
The fact that Sam-A had demolished Penake in their previous encounter did justify expectations of an inevitable outcome. And who would bet that Penake would knock down and beat the great Sam-A? Only those who know Thai combat sport can expect the unexpected.
Boxing remains popular at highest level
The massive pay-per-view television audience for the Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto world super welterweight championship showed that boxing is still a huge drawcard at the highest level.
The worldwide applause for skills and intensity displayed over 12 absorbing rounds has virtually sealed the deal for the long awaited Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao showdown.
Well, that's the view of WBC vice-president Pol. Gen. Kovid Bhakdibhumi, fresh back from supervising the big fight and networking with promoters and those handling the interests of the two most famous boxers on the planet today.
Kovid said that it's "almost certain that Mayweather will fight Pacquiao either much later this year of early next year. The information I got was that both fighters and their representatives want the fight to go ahead, as does the whole world."
One of the close insiders to the opposing camps is Oscar De La Hoya who once fought Mayweather in a bout that drew the largest fight audience this century.
De La Hoya's view is that the Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown has evolved from a purely boxing spectacle to an event all sports fans wanted to see.
However, for the event to go ahead it will need to be scheduled either later this year or early in 2013 otherwise it's unlikely to happen as Mayweather and Pacquiao are entering their post-peak cycle.
De La Hoya marvelled at Mayweather who at 35 is in great shape and he said the American showed against Cotto that he can take the hard punches.
On the other hand Pacquiao, the Filipino congressman, faces undefeated Timothy Bradley in a WBO welterweight championship bout on June 9 in Vegas, at the time when Mayweather will have begun serving a jail term.
With Mayweather's 90-day jail sentence ending in September and Pacquiao occupied with his upcoming fight on top of the on-going dispute over purse splits that Mayweather blames on promoter Bob Arum, the reality is that what's being billed as the biggest fight of all time won't happen before next year.
What is certain however is that the welterweight division is where boxing is at today and all the talk of a Mayweather/Pacquiao showdown is making the division all the more popular.
In the meantime Bradley will meet his destiny when he goes up against Pacquiao and if he somehow wins then it could still be a big win for boxing, as it would match 43-0 Mayweather against 29-0 Bradley.


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