I like Matt Mooney, I like his intensity. I even wrote an article about him. But I was a bit disturbed about him calling out Leroy Martinez. When I suggested he ought wait a bit before taking on Leroy, he countered with, “Do you think I can’t take him?” Well, I’d crossed a line, it seemed. What do I know?
Learn something, if you will, from an old fellow who has been around the block a few times. In fighting, there is conditioning, and there is mastery of technique. There is also the battle of the will and the psyche, which play a tremendous part of any contest. We’ll address the latter.
We had in the March “Pride of the Valley” event, the grudge match between Rick Palacios and Leroy Martinez, which engaged both camps. Matt Mooney was training with Rick Palacios. Ricky won the event, via a second round knockout of Leroy, after some pretty exciting exchanges, to say nothing of a hard first round for Rick as he struggled to escape Leroy’s ground game. The fight was over, Rick Palacios had won.
Now Matt Mooney calls out Leroy Martinez. Not good. There is the experience factor. Matt is 1-0 as a pro. Leroy has got some wins and some losses, but win or lose, it amounts to experience, lots more than Matt has. “Wait,” I hinted to Matt. But the fight was set, to take place during the second of J C Promotion’s “Pride of the Valley” event.
More trash talk. Matt is going to break Leroy’s arm. (And he would have, if he could have set it up.) I used to train cops and often gave the following advice: “Don’t put a man in a corner where the only way out is through you.” For instance, don’t embarrass a man in front of his wife, girl friend, or children, if you can possibly avoid it. You will get more than you bargained for. Some men will die rather than be humiliated in front of their woman.
Matt put Leroy in the corner I’m talking about. Leroy had just lost to Rick Palacios, and now Rick’s understudy, with a 1-0 record, was going to whip him too? Think about that a bit. You can suppose that Leroy’s psyche upped somewhat on that note. He couldn’t wait to get into the ring with Matt. The moral imperative was on his side. Spectator empathy was behind him, as would be demonstrated on fight night by calls in unison of, “Leroy! Leroy! Leroy!” Matt would have had to break his arm to submit him, as he had threatened to do.
Come the evening of the fight, Matt wanted the fight to come to him, on the canvas. Leroy did not oblige, but rather made it a stand up game which he dominated. He did not oblige until the last couple of minutes in the third round, when the war of wills was in his favor. Then he descended to the canvas with a vengeance.
Matt has tremendous potential. He’s tough. He’ll be OK. He’s learning, and this is one of those times when much is to be learned from a loss. When experience is a factor, it may be best not to threaten up; that is from the position of little experience to a position of much more experience. In a sense it amounts to telegraphing a punch. And, my advice to cops is good advice anywhere: “Don’t put a man in a corner, where his only way out is through you.”