Sergio Mora: One punch can be ‘The Eraser’

Boxing is like baseball in the sense that no matter how many runs a team is down, the game can turn in one inning. In boxing, it only takes one blinding punch to gain a fight-saving knockout. We call that “The Eraser.”

The Eraser

Does Michael Zerafa have “The Eraser” in his toolbox for his clash with former 160-pound world champion Peter Quillin on Saturday?

I asked my trainer, Dean Campos, to give me some examples of fights that have completely turned with one punch. He quickly countered with, “Yeah, any fight with Julian Jackson.”

It’s funny only to those who closely follow boxing. Julian Jackson was the type of massive puncher that would ice guys before their stiff bodies could hit the canvas. He was such a scary puncher that after seeing a few of his best hits, I questioned whether I wanted to turn pro. Considering that a monster like Jackson fought in my future weight division, at 16 years old I began having second thoughts about my professional aspirations.

Against Terry Norris in 1989, Jackson was thoroughly outclassed and outboxed through a round and a half. Then Jackson flattened him with a right hook that put Norris to sleep on his feet. You see something like that and it never goes out of your head any time you step in the ring.

Ask the average boxing fan about devastating punchers and they will mention the popular big hitters like Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns. Ask the same fan about current power punchers and they will probably respond: “That Russian guy—what’s his name?” Who do they mean exactly? Wladimir Klitschko? Sergey Kovalev? Gennady Golovkin? Ivan Drago? Take your pick.

But you don’t have to be the world’s most fearsome hitter to turn a fight around on a dime. We just saw it in July in the Tony Harrison-Willie Nelson matchup. Harrison fought a smart, patient bout and was up on all three cards through eight. He was well on his way to winning the ninth, too, through two and a half minutes. Then Nelson unloaded a right that tagged Harrison in the ear, and nine rounds of technical domination went out the window.

One guy who has that fight-changing power is going this Saturday on NBC (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT) at Foxwoods Resort Casino: Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (31-0-1, 22 KOs).

You don’t need to look any further than Quillin’s 2012 beating of Hassan N’Dam, where he knocked N’Dam down six times over 12 rounds, After a draw against Andy Lee in an April 11 PBC fight, Quillin, the banger, is in need of a victory come Saturday against Michael Zerafa (17-1, 9 KOs).

Big punchers like Quillin are always fun to watch because they are accustomed to landing big shots. The other side of that, though, is they aren’t always accustomed to taking them. You saw it in my fight versus Quillin’s potential next opponent, Daniel Jacobs. Jacobs, another big puncher from Brooklyn, is an athletically gifted, but technically flawed fighter with heavy hands and a sensitive chin. Jacobs never thought he’d get dropped by a supposedly “light puncher” like myself.

I was well on the way to upsetting Jacobs’ plans for that showdown with Quillin, but a busted ankle didn’t let me finish the job. If Zerafa wants to do anything to derail that fight, he’ll have to do a lot more than what I did with Jacobs.

The magic of fight-ending power is something Quillin definitely possesses. Boxers with the ability to erase mistakes can get away with a lot more than most of us. Zerafa will have a small opportunity in-between a thunderous onslaught. If he can time the rhythm just right, he might catch lighting in a bottle. If not, he will become Peter’s 23rd KO victim.

Those born with no eraser must adapt and remain sharp at all times, in order to write their own history. 

For full coverage of Quillin vs Zerafa, make sure to check out our fight page.

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