In boxing there is often too much emphasis on passing tests with flying colours.
Fighters gradually step-up in class throughout their early career but having difficulty with their rising quality of opponent can be seen as a black mark against them. In reality, it is precisely this difficulty and how a boxer overcomes and learns from it that sets a fighter up for the future. Losing a round or two, being knocked down, or even losing a fight can often actually benefit a young boxer.
Take Declan Geraghty. The Dub was disappointed with his career-best win over credible Nicaraguan Eusebio Osejo on Saturday, but the tough victory against a come-forward fighter looking to win will be of more benefit than ten pot-shotting walkovers against shelled-up journeymen.
The career of ‘Pretty Boy’ Geraghty has been a winding one. A disqualification loss to Jono Carroll can be put down to losing the head, getting involved too much, and general inexperience.
After the painful defeat, which saw the former elite amateur miss out on a slot in Prizefighter, Geraghty would rebuild and last November, one year on from the Carroll war, he put on a boxing clinic against Reynaldo Cajina at the National Stadium.
In his return to the ring last month the Irishman was given the dangerous task of Oskzar Fiko – the notoriously dirty Hungarian slugger. However Geraghty stayed disciplined and calm, and walked the Central European bruiser onto a knockout body shot in the first round, a real statement of intent.
Following this win, Geraghty looked for further progression and his plea was answered with Osejo who had him hurt, made him get involved, forced him to take a count, and generally gave him a tough night.
On the face of it, it looks like a disappointing performance, a sentiment echoed by Geraghty, but one mustn’t sell Osejo short. Perhaps it was the bout’s early slot on the card, or maybe due to it only being a six rounder, but Saturday’s fight was an absolutely massive step up for Geraghty against the former Nicaraguan champ.
– In 2013 he heavily floored two-weight World champion Jhonny Gonzalez en-route to a points loss. So heavy was the knockdown, Gonzalez was deducted a point for spitting his gumshield out to buy a few extra seconds recovery.
– In 2012 he went the distance with former super flyweight king Cristian Mijares, taking rounds off him on all three cards.
– In 2014 he was disqualified in the final round against current WBA super featherweight champ Jezreel Corrales.
The southpaw veteran certainly came to win in Liverpool and had Geraghty hurt in the first and gave him a count in the second. Like the Carroll fight, Geraghty was guilty of getting involved too much, but this round time he showed a discernible growth in ring IQ. Yes he was tagged early and didn’t box as much as he could throughout, but as the fight went on he adjusted and clawed his way on top, frustrating Osejo and forcing him into his eventual disqualification.
If Geraghty had never faced Jono Carroll would he have made it through Saturday night? Maybe not, he could have panicked, wilted, and fallen to a much more damaging defeat.
Geraghty didn’t have it all his own way against Carroll, he went back to the drawing board, and he improved. Geraghty didn’t have it all his own way against Osejo, but bolstered by the experience gained from the Carroll fight he got the win, and now he will go back to the drawing board and improve some more again.
It was often said that his scrappy win over Robbie Turley was one of the most important in Carl Frampton’s career. The learning fight which saw ‘The Jackal’ kick on towards World domination.
Could Osejo be something similar for Frampton’s former amateur team-mate?