Lessons from Nunez vs. Latimore

There are many lessons you can get from watching professional fights. I know that most martial artists are not at the level of the professional fighter, but this art is more than just a hobby for most of us. And we take the art just as seriously. I believe if you learn to correct the mistakes many of them make–and take from their example (their approach to training, the warrior mentality, etc.)–the career martial artist will become a stronger fighter because of it.

Let’s begin with watching this fight:

The two fighters are Deandre Latimore and Milton Nuñez. Latimore is a 28 year old fighter from St. Louis who was once a contender who was a peer of Corey Spinks. His career received a shot in the arm (and what looks like a second wind) by joining the Mayweather camp. Milton Nuñez is a Columbian fighter who has had a long, unexciting career. The biggest highlight of his career was one title shot (which he lost by knockout), but he amassed 21 knockouts in his career–which meant that that he has a puncher’s chance at winning the fight.

Most of the fight consisted of Latimore tagging Nuñez consistently, but Nuñez responding with “lucky” shots and landing many of those. But in the final two rounds, Latimore was knocked down twice and finished the fight while running. I can see the improved skill Latimore displayed by training with the Mayweathers. However, I also see how that approach hurt his ability to finish his opponent–who maintained his warrior mindset despite being outclassed. Let’s discuss where these fighters could use some improvement:

  • Never throw punches without intention. Both fighters violated this rule. I would estimate about 60% of the jabs thrown in this fight were not thrown with the intention to land–or the intention to do damage. The result? Each fighter ignored most of the jabs thrown. Jabs have three main purposes. 1., to tie up the opponents’ hands and keep him busy and vulnerable 2., to test the opponents’ habits and read his strategy, in the effort to plan a strategy and 3., to wear down the opponent. Even if the punches are not always thrown full power, they must at least sting. Opponents ignore punches that don’t hurt and don’t score points. If the punches are at least thrown to land, the opponent will try to get away from them. He will block, slip, move, and fire back. If the punches hurt, then eventually you will have a worn down opponent.
  • When your opponent is in trouble, finish him. Latimore had Nuñez hurt a few times throughout the fight, but backed off. A commentator mentioned that Latimore treats some of his fights as training. Well, that should have been done at the amateur level, since pro fights puts you in the ring with some guys who play for keeps. During all of that respectful fighting, his opponent was rejuvenated after a few rounds after being hurt–and Latimore paid for it.
  • Never underestimate your opponent.  Nuñez fought like a bum. He was sloppy, his footwork was unbalanced and uncoordinated, he did not keep his opponent busy with a steady stream of attacks. However, he was a professional with 28 fights, 21 by knockout; Nuñez is not a bum. He has power, he has guts, and he has the confidence of a man who has destroyed 21 men. If he can touch you, he can hurt you. Latimore would have been knocked out if this were a 12 round fight. Latimore fought as if Nuñez couldn’t hurt him, and this was a very stupid, foolish attitude.
  • Never move your feet without attacking your opponent. Both fighters constantly circled the other without throwing a single punch. It is not necessary to attack on every step. However, if you take too many steps without throwing at least a few punches, you will give your opponent the green light to attack at will. If you throw a few double and triple jabs here and there, your opponent will not know when to attack and will follow you carefully. Another strategy your opponent may use is to launch an attack in the direction you are moving, which could be dangerous if you aren’t ready.
  • Change direction sometimes. Both fighters became predictable after a few rounds because they never varied their strategy. They moved in the same direction the whole fight. They attacked with the same combinations and responded with the same counters. You never want to be predictable. If your opponent is halfway intelligent–or not–he will be conditioned to responding to you the same way and will eventually land some “lucky” punches out of habit. Latimore certainly paid for that mistake.
  • Never forget that this is a fight. Latimore was fighting for points. Nuñez was surviving, although he did taste blood and moved in for the kill. They both were guilty of not trying to finish the other and the fight ended the way it did because of it. Latimore failed to finish his opponent when he had the opportunity–and it gave his opponent the chance to knock him down twice and possibly steal the fight with a knockout. Nuñez was too far behind for his two knockdowns to make a difference.

Hope this advice finds its way into your fight strategy. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Author: thekuntawman

full time martial arts teacher, full time martial arts philosopher, and full time martial arts critic

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