Sucker for a left hook

Peter Cariño

Conrad M. Cariño

I really do not know if Simpiwe Vetyeka eats left hooks for breakfast. That was what I observed in his fight against Chris John on December 6, 2013, where the Indonesian hit him with a number of left hooks although those had little power.

John failed to answer the bell for the 7th round, and I really don’t know if that would serve as a confidence booster for Vetyeka once he enters the ring against Nonito Donaire on May 31, 2014 at Macau.

Donaire, seeking to further boost his stock in his fight against Vetyeka, has one of the finest left hooks in the business today, and has felled fighters who were once considered durable, like Vic Darchinyan (especially in their first fight) and Fernando Montiel.

So it that bad news for Vetyeka?

Very few fighters have a very good left hook (or right hook in the case of southpaws), and between throwing a right cross and a left hook, the former is easier to execute with respectable power. On the other hand, the left hook requires the development of technique, and is usually thrown with the less dominant hand (in the case of orthodox fighters who are right-handed).

There are left-handed fighters who prefer to fight using the orthodox stance, and that give them an edge when it comes to throwing left hooks and left jabs. Oscar Dela Hoya is a good example of a “converted southpaw.”

In the case of Donaire, his right hand also proved to be potent in his second fight against Darchinyan, but it was still the left hook that sent the Armenian to the canvas.

So come fight night, I don’t expect Vetyeka to give much trouble to Donaire, unless the Filipino messes up his training.

Vetyeka doesn’t bring anything special to the ring in his fight against Donaire, except that the South African has never been stopped. Oh yes, he holds the International Boxing Association featherweight title, and World Boxing Association super world featherweight title, but he is still no elite fighter.

Also, Vetyeka’s fight against John of Indonesia, who had a remarkable run 48-fight winning run before losing to the South African, showed that he has glaring weaknesses.

Vetyeka loves to mix it up, and that could prove fatal against fighter with power in both hands like Donaire. Also, the South African does not have a crisp or authoritative punch in his arsenal, which could either be the right cross of left hook. And finally, Vetyeka is a sucker for a left hook, which is Donaire’s money punch.

But come May 31, it would be Donaire who would subject to more scrutiny, because his recent win over Darchinyan was criticized by some boxing writers as unimpressive. I beg to differ.

So far, Donaire is the only boxer to have knocked out and stopped Darchinyan. Even a then up-and-coming Abner Mares had a hard time against Darchinyan when they met on December 11, 2011. Mares won via split decision over Darchinyan.

Darchinyan even looked physically imposing in his rematch with Donaire. But even if Dar–chinyan is known for his iron chin, that was still no match for Donaire’s left hook. And Dar–chinyan was not a sucker for a left hook. Vetyeka better stop eating left hooks for breakfast.


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