The Trackers; the Destroyers
There is something primal about fighters who track their opponents. With a savage incoming style that destroyed his opponents’ bodies, Julio Ceasar Chavez was one and so was Roberto Duran. They were seek and destroy fighters who defined this style during their respective reigns of terror. They would begin the chase as soon as the bell rang cutting off the ring and getting closer and closer until they made initial contact.
Said Johnny Ortiz, “Julio’s track them down and execute style of fighting will live on in fistic lore, whenever the greats are brought up in discussion, you can make book the name of Julio Caesar Chavez will be right there at the top of the list. It is only befitting for … ‘El Leon de Culiacan!”
Duran did the same. Who can forget his systematic invasion of Davey Moore’s privacy, his unwanted contact, his brutal execution?
Unlike stalkers, fighters like Duran and Chavez didn’t spend much time observing their opponent’s actions. They started the chase early and moved in for the kill as soon as they saw an opening. Pipino Cuevas (pre-Hearns) was a classic tracker who instilled fear in his opponents and rendered them vulnerable with his trip hammer left hooks. He then dispatched them without further adieu.
This brings us to 2007 and Miguel Cotto with his monster 83% KO percentage and particular brand of “track them down and execute style” of fighting. With a backdrop of “Cotto! Cotto!" and "Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico!" rocking the arenas and stadiums in which he does his work, he has enhanced his reputation at the hands of such tracked and destroyed fighters as Zab Judah, Carlos Quintana, Kelson Pinto, Oktay Urkal, Gianluca Branco (stopped for the first time in his career), Mohamad Abdulaev, Randall Bailey and Cesar Bazan. What’s more, Cotto is an equal opportunity executioner as he moves in with his hands high in a semi-peek-a-boo style looking for openings to land his malefic body shots. Whether his opponent is Mexican, American, Columbian, Puerto Rican, Panamanian, German, Uzbek, Italian, Brazilian, Australian, Ugandan, or Dominican, Cotto is an incoming force who continually attacks until his foe can no longer continue.
Vic “the Raging Bull” Darchinyan is another who starts the chase at the bell. Like Cotto, he comes in with his arms held in a strange posture and gives a variety of scary looks. And like fighters from the fifties, he starts winging haymakers in an effort to end his fights as soon as possible, but if he has to go past the sixth round, his opponents usually take a very bad beating as attested to by his late stoppages of Irene Pacheco, Diosdado Gabi, Luis Maldonado, and, of course, Victor Burgos.
Of course, Kelly Pavlik begins the stalk, track and inevitable destruction as soon as the bell rings for round one. With a 90% KO percentage, its not if, its when and the “when” usually comes around the sixth or seventh stanza when the final assault is launched against a helpless foe.
Cotto, Pavlik, Darchinyan, Duran, Cuevas and Chavez seem to belong to a special club. Marvelous Marvin Hagler used to have a motto to wit: “destruct and destroy,” and that in and of itself ensures his inclusion. Sure, he was tentative against Leonard and Duran, but not against the other sixty guys he beat.
One thing is certain, I enjoy watching Cotto, Darchinyan and Pavlik do their thing. With all due respect, I enjoy it a hellava lot more than watching Mayweather, Taylor, Briggs and Malignaggi do theirs