With late replacement opponents fighters can have too issues. One is that the replacement simply isn't very good and that they score a disappointingly easy win that fails to appease the fans who paid good money for the original bout. The other problem is that the replacement opponent gets completely over-looked by the fighter and ends up making the contest a lot tougher than expected.
This past Saturday saw a late replacement opponent, Fernando Aguilar (9-7, 1), falling into that second category as he gave a hell raising performance against unbeaten Filipino Arthur Villanueva (25-0, 14).
Villanueva entered the bout ranked very highly. He was recognised as being amongst the worlds best by the WBO (#4), IBF (#4), WBA (#9) and WBC (#15). Aguilar though was a total unknown. It was a bout that was expected to be a walk over for Villanueva, instead though it turned out to be a war.
Villanueva, usually a very careful and precise boxer, was immediately dragged in to a war. From the opening bell to the last the fight was a slugfest with both men unloading on the other. It was great two way action with neither man ever looking like they were ever getting the betting of it for any prolonged time.
The two way action was great for a neutral though it seemed to silence the loyal Filipino fans who went from expecting a victory. If the crowd were worried though entertained then Villanueva's team were beside themselves with genuine panic. This wasn't meant to be so difficult though Villanueva simply seemed unable to slow the charge of the brave and over-looked Mexican.
With the fight perilously close going into round 9 Villanueva got a lucky break with Aguilar being deducted a point for a low blow. This didn't prevent Aguilar from continuing to take the fight to the unbeaten man though did effectively give Villanueva the little break he needed to secure the victory.
The bout, which was expected to be so easy, saw the scorecards returning with close scores representing the very close nature of the fight some in the crowd however felt the bout should have been closer in fact some felt it should have been a draw.
Villanueva may use the excuse that he was training for Juan Hernandez though at the end of the day a world class fighter should not have had these sorts of struggles with Aguilar. "The King" needs to revert to what he used to do so well and think about what he's doing in the ring. He was far too eager to try and stop the light hitting Mexican and made difficult for himself as a result. Hopefully the next time he's out he shows a much more mature attitude to his boxing or he will suffer a surprise loss sooner rather than later.
(Picture courtesy of Boxrec.com)
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