Jesus fuck man… I sure know how to pick ’em, right?
Totally not gay, I swear.
Anyway, I’d never make it my business to say Hasegawa is an atypically skillful fighter, or even the best Japanese boxer; but fate led to me “choosing” him as a guy I’d keep my eye on, for better or for worse.
That being said, the past year or so has definitely been the worst year Hasegawa’s had in… well, his entire career.
Put it this way, up until April of last year; the guy hadn’t lost since 2001, had set a new Japanese record for consecutive title defenses, and was on a decent KO streak despite not having much of a punch.
He was on top of the world, only to have his reputation and legacy thrown in the shitter via a humiliating TKO loss to Fernando Montiel inside of 4 rounds.
Given that I’ve already talked at great length about that whole fiasco, I think it’s best we move on; lest I lose my temper and start breakin’ shit.
Anyway, following the loss to Montiel, Hasegawa stepped up 2 weight classes to campaign at Featherweight against Juan Carlos Burgos.
Despite the added weight, Hasegawa looked good at 126; retaining most of his quickness and punch accuracy while pounding out a unanimous decision over a very game Burgos.
Which brings us to last night’s fight against Jhonny Gonzalez.
Jhonny Gonzalez is a very good, and more importantly; very tough fighter.
I suppose it’s also worth mentioning that Mr. Gonzalez is also quite heavy handed.
While I have yet to sit down to watch the actual fights, from what I’ve read; it sounds like Hasegawa got put on queer street much in the same fashion that he did during his fight with Fernando Montiel.
That is to say, he did well in the opening rounds/minutes of the fight, only to guess wrong on a counter opportunity; and take exactly the wrong punch on the wrong part of his skull.
As I mentioned earlier, Hasegawa’s my boy; I’ll watch and read about his fights for as long as he has them, but even so, it’s no fun seeing your hero get flattened in such humiliating fashion.
Probably the worst part of Hasegawa’s 2 losses over the past year, is the fact that both came as a result of very sudden and highly variable circumstances.
Like I said, to my knowledge the guy was very much in the fight up until the moment he got KO’d, making it a case where it’s hard to say whether he lost as a result of being the lesser or fighter, or just ’cause he got caught by one good punch.
What really grinds my gears about this most recent loss though, is that I remember watching Toshiaki Nishioka beat the ever-loving fuck outta’ Jhonny Gonzalez just 2 years ago.
Does that mean Nishioka is just that much better than Hasegawa, that Gonzalez improved that much since then, or that Hasegawa might be on the downward spiral?
I don’t know, but it’s questions like that always make it hard to have heroes in the sport of boxing.