The two brash British boxers headed into the ring for their respective bouts the past weekend with more than a little something to prove.
David Haye and Amir Khan both needed to do some reputation restoration after notable defeats last year, which in each case were followed by a healthy dollop of whining.
They couldn't have ended up in more different spots at the end of Saturday night.
Heavyweight Haye decisively deposited hated rival Dereck Chisora on his back in the fifth round in front of about 30,000 in London.
It didn't quite take all the stink of last year's disappointing loss to Wladimir Klitschko - with his unforgettable toe excuse display - but it showed what a dynamic performer he can be.
Can be is the operative phrase. I emailed Boxing Brother before the fight and posited that Chisora's style is made to order for then Haye we saw a couple years back, but did that Haye still exit? The odds on Chisora looked favourable given his sturdy chin and Haye's suspect stamina.
Haye, no doubt fired up by the brawl he had with his opponent at a press conference earlier this year, stopped any nascent Chisora encroaches with a solid jab, good hooks to the body, and yes, movement and strategic holding.
But it was an entertaining enough bout, with Chisora always trying to press forward. The finishing combo from the 31-year-old Hayemaker was a thing of beauty.
Styles make fights, but this was the same Chisora who earlier this year gave Vitali Klitschko 12 spirited rounds, though he was never close on the scorecards.
Boxing fans are actually excited about the prospect of Haye fighting again, though some hope the 40-year-old Vitali will retire soon. The former cruiserweight Haye may have a better shot against the six-foot-eight Vitali than Wladimir, but it's not by much and only because the older brother can get so fatigued looking in the ring.
Khan, meanwhile, is left to ponder the way forward now after a shocking stoppage loss to Danny Garcia in Las Vegas.
He was on a comeback to begin with, having lost an "either way" decision to Lamont Peterson late last year. A rematch was made, but the Washington fighter foolishly tested positive for a banned steroid after requesting the testing in the first place.
If you were being charitable you could say that Khan ensured that he'll be a telegenic fighter for a good while yet despite his defeat. And he showed unbelievable heart, pointing to his chin after taking hard shots while on rubbery legs in the fourth round.
But facts are facts. He was dropped four times, and any hope of enticing Floyd Mayweather in the ring, and the resulting huge payday, evaporated.
Amir Khan was supposed to be more Oscar De La Hoya than Arturo Gatti, but he continually eschews his speed and height advantages. Boxing fans benefit, as it's resulted in a few corkers, but he often suffers.
Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) fairly dominated the first two rounds against Garcia, but even then there was a sense he was too amped up. Garcia's father likely got under his skin with disparaging comments about Pakistanis in the run-up to the fight.
As with Fernando Vargas and Diego Corrales, a lot of fans confuse result with process. Khan doesn't have a terrible chin, rather, he has a negligible defence and holds his head high, which results in his taking shots someone with his speed really shouldn't. But I don't think this isn't Howard Davis Jr. falling down from so-so shots.
The shot that precipitated the whole end sequence and the final knockdown were both equilibrium shots.
Can Khan embark on a Wladimir-type comeback, modifying his style to protect from getting hit with big shots? Will he part ways with trainer Freddie Roach?
As for the unbeaten Garcia (24-0, 15 KOs), fans rightly want to see him in with the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Lucas Matthysse and Mike Alvarado. At this point I'm not sure I'd pick the Philadelphia fighter against any of them. After all, the tide-turning punch against Khan was thrown with his eyes closed and his body perpendicular to the Anglo.
But like Josesito Lopez a few weeks before, Garcia showed how far heart and a good chin can get you. He doesn't figure to fold against anyone.
A heavyweight grudge match in front of 30K. A big upset.
Of course you heard all about these two fights from the mainstream sports media, who reported with a vigor even in the same area code as the harrumphing in the wake of the bad decision given to Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao.
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