It's great when we get to include multi-fights from a single rivalry in this feature, as it shows the fighters involved were so well matched that they didn't just provide one Closet Classic by fluke, but gave us at least 2 incredible bouts. Sometimes rematches don't end up being as good as the original, but sometimes they are just as good if not better. Today we look at a rematch that, like the bout that proceeded it, delivered something truly amazing.
Myung Woo Yuh (30-0, 11) vs Mario Alberto Demarco (25-3-4, 8) II
In 1985 emerging Korean Myung Woo Yuh announced himself on the world stage by winning the WBA Light Flyweight title with a win over Joey Olivo. In his third defense Yuh had beaten Argentinian challenger Mario Alberto Demarco in a sensational bout, less than a year after his title win. In 1989, with 11 defense of the title behind him, Yuh would again face Demarco. This time Yuh was in his pomp, he was no longer a new champion but a clear top dog in the division and one of champions who had distinguished himself as a very, very hard man to keep up with. Yuh managed to keep the aggression and energy that had seen him win the title, but as he became more experienced he managed to become a bit smarter and more rounded. He was still ultra-aggressive, and incredibly exciting, but more polished than he once was.
Mario Alberto Demarco was a relative unknown outside of Latin American when he first challenged Yuh in 1986. In that bout he proved he was world class. He gave Yuh fits, matching the Korean in terms of output and aggression. It was a huge step up at the time for the Argentinian and he rose to the occasion, losing a very close and competitive bout. Following the loss to Yuh we saw Demarco return to obscure bouts back in Argentina, racking up 5 wins against low level opponents in his homeland. With those wins behind him he had built up some momentum, and was now getting a second shot at Yuh and the WBA Light Flyweight title.
The bout started not with a typical feeling out opening round, but the next round of their rivalry. It was slightly less active than some of the brilliant rounds of their first bout, but it certainly wasn't a quiet opening round. Demarco was pressing, as he had in the first bout, whilst Yuh was showing a respect of Demarco's strength, and used his footwork. With Yuh, being Yuh, it was clear that sooner or later this was going to become a total war and we saw glimpses of that about 2 minutes into the bout, as the tempo stepped up.
Yuh continued trying to box more an exchange less in round 2 but there were again glimpses of thrilling action when he did hold his feet, picked great shots and picked off Demarco as he came forward.
Round by round the action became more intense and it only took until round 3 for a war to break out, and boy did it break out in style as both began to unload leather on the inside. Yuh continued to try and box more at range than Demarco but was finding himself on the inside more and more often, and giving us thrilling exchanges as a result, with a long and thrilling back and forth in round for that had members of the crowd getting to their feet.
From there on the bout developed into a total war. Demarco often refusing to take a backwards step and Yuh letting his shots fly. This was high octane warfare between two men who were made to put on these types of bouts together.
We won't go through a round by round, leaving the fight to be enjoyed by your, but we will mention that this was actually Demarco's final professional bout whilst Yuh would fight on until the early 1990's, with his final bout coming in 1993. By the time he retired Yuh was already an Asian boxing legend, and would later be enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Certain styles of fighters gives us more great fights than others. Styles that are safety first tend to provide very few great fights and very, very, few closet classics. Fighters like John Ruiz will never feature in anyone's lists of great fights, despite the success they had. Fighters who let their hands go, like fight at mid range, if not closer, and set a high work rate make for great fights to watch. Likewise fighters who have serious power and suspect chins can also make for great fights. Today we look at a fantastic bout from 1986 between two men who had similar styles that revolved around high volume output and standing at a close distance. Essentially matching each other in terms of styles.
Myung Woo Yuh (21-0, 5) vs Mario Alberto Demarco (20-2-4, 8) I
Korean great Myung Woo Yuh is widely regarded as one of Korea's greatest ever fighters. He, along with fellow Korean Jung Koo Chang, controlled the Light Flyweight division in the 1980's. Yuh won the WBA Light Flyweight title in late 1985, beating Joey Olivo by split decision, and made his first 2 defenses by mid 1986. After a 5 month break Yuh took on his third challenger, Mario Alberto Demarco. We'll talk more about Demarco in a moment, but for now we'll go on to talk about Yuh in more detail.
The Korean had debuted in 1982, aged 18, and had raced through bouts. He had somehow managed to fit in 12 bouts in his first year as a professional, winning all 12 by decision. He began to step up his competition in 1984, winning the OPBF title, before having an amazing fight with Oh Kong Son in 1985, before later winning the WBA title. He had been a whirlwind of action in the ring, with an ultra-high volume style, and despite being a high volume fighter he was also technically sound. Like Chang he picked great punches, and seemed to land clean time and time again. He could be hit, but landed so much more than he took due to his all action style. Oh and when he took one, he fired back, rarely showing signs of ever being hurt.
Mario Alberto Demarco was an Argentinian who is sadly all too forgotten now a days. He fought right through the 1980's and despite mostly fighting at home he really could have done so much more with his career. He had been crowned both the South American and Argentinian Light Flyweight champion and had been unbeaten since a 1983 loss to Adrian Daniel Roman, reeling off a 14 fight unbeaten run since then. Like Yuh it's fare to say that Demarco wasn't a puncher, but like Yuh he was real tough, let his shots go in clusters and could fight fire with fire. He wasn't as technically proficient as Yuh but was similar to the Korean in terms of style and mentality. He was going to out fight opponents, not out box them.
When you have two guys who have aggressive, volume based styles and the ability to take a shot you get something special. And we got something special here.
From the very early seconds we got action. Both men took a moment to figure out what the other had, before Demarco began to force Yuh backwards. Yuh wasn't as effective on the back foot as he was on the front foot, but the strength and physicality of Demarco was forcing him back early on. Yuh, realising he was in with a fellow aggressive bull began to try fighting fire with fire and round 2 was something special as the two men spent much of the round trading shots inside. Again it was Demarco who seemed to get the better of, but the round was much closer than the first, with Yuh avoiding a good number of Demarco's blows to get his own off. From here things began to develop into something very special.
Bout that start with the tempo this one did don't tend to go the distance, and don't tend to remain as hotly contested. This did. Round after round we saw thrilling exchanges, and even when action got sloppy it was little more than a mild respite between some great 2-way action. That action continued, round after round, to excite a rapturous crowd in what will go down as one of the greatest bouts ever to take place in Korea.
If you like intensity in your fights, amazing back and forth action, and real excitement then this is one for you to enjoy, with in what a truly breathless war of attrition, heart, energy and desire. An amazing fight and a great chance to see exactly why Yuh was such a big fan favourite in Korea in the 80's.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features