The Humpty Dumpty Affect

By Johnathan Lee Iverson on November 17, 2015
The Humpty Dumpty Affect
Like Hopkins, Holm was well respected by peers and insiders alike, but in the shadows.

For those who sang their respective praises of invincibility, Hopkins, like Holm, was to be yet another sacrifice to a mighty icon…

He was unstoppable. The pride of Puerto Rico stormed through division after division like a wrecking ball; and he was mean. His gait belied his Boy Scout visage. I remember seeing him enter the Paramount Theater at Madison Square Garden during Bernard Hopkins encounter with the now vanquished Keith Holmes. It was a confident stride, one that made it clear that he indeed was Da Man. William Joppy was there and true to the atmosphere fans were egging them on. However, a reluctant peace would prevail, but I distinctly recall that famous Trinidad gaze. The man was a killer and anyone who watched his thrashing of William Joppy, perhaps his greatest outing, knew this to be true.

Felix Trinidad was racking up the kind of legendary victories that rocketed him to stardom. Trinidad literally aged Fernando Vargas. He beat his prime out of him, completely changing the course of what should have been a very fruitful career for Vargas. It was a tragic yet entertaining lesson in premature ambitions.

Most people never saw Bernard Hopkins coming, because much like Holly Holm, most simply had no idea who he was. Exactly why should they? Like Rousey, there was Trinidad and no one else. That kind of aura and energy looms large making gods of mere mortals. Yet, to their respective credit it was well earned, even if it came with a side order of hyperbole. But, alas, fighting in all its forms is a science; and science has a way of unmasking those god-like monuments we erect.

Like Hopkins, Holm labored at her trade in obscurity. Like Hopkins, Holm was well respected by peers and insiders alike, but in the shadows. People had heard whispers of their brilliance, but who’s really listening amidst the chorus of vehement praise that followed their respective counterparts. For Holm and Hopkins they’d rely on those time-tested allies—discipline, experience, and patience.

In the quiet of that humble figurative laboratory of sweat and grit you learn all kinds of things. As was the case for Max Schmeling as he toiled away beneath the glow of undefeated Joe Louis. “I see something,” said the humble Schmeling; and in that first encounter many a stunned fan would see it too—a god unmasked.

So it was on that September 29, 2001 when Bernard Hopkins entered legendary ring at Madison Square Garden, a 3 to 1 underdog against the indomitable Felix Trinidad. Holly Holm would enter the octagon in Melbourne, Australia’s Etihad Stadiu, a significant underdog to pop culture phenom Ronda Rousey. For those who sang their respective praises of invincibility, Hopkins, like Holm, was to be yet another sacrifice to a mighty icon. However, for the few who knew better it was, as Holm’s coaches said in the aftermath of her destruction of Rousey, “just a math problem to us.”

The thing about our gods and perhaps what makes them gods is their ability to dazzle us ad nauseam, even to the point of delusion about their actual abilities. After all, matchmaking is a kind of science too. For those paying attention it was clear that Rousey, like Trinidad, operates in one gear. This doesn’t mean their respective opposition hadn’t been quality opponents. They were. However, their respective opponents for the most part were made for or eventually acquiesced to Trinidad and Rousey’s respective skill set; and as exciting as it was against such opposition, for the likes of fighters like Bernard Hopkins and Holly Holm, it was “just a math problem.” And much like the remainder of Felix Trinidad’s career after Bernard Hopkins stunned the Madison Square Garden crowd into silence, I strongly suspect Ronda Rousey, after suffering such a lopsided loss, where she was utterly outclassed and essentially exposed as a one trick pony vs. a heavily experienced boxer and kickboxer in Holly Holm, will go the route of the fabled Humpty Dumpty. Like Trinidad, I don’t see Rousey being capable of acquiring the skills to overcome the Holm’s blueprint. Thus, “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty back together again.”

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  1. John aka L.L. Cool John 08:24pm, 11/18/2015

    Personally, I think RR was exposed as a one trick pony. After the end of round one when it was apparent Team RR needed another game plan, there wasn’t one. If RR was my daughter, I’d tell her to get outta the game. Take the money and run! She’s made a great deal of money as a fighter, a potiential actress, and has a bestseller book. She should be set for life. Those punches to the face, and that vicious kick to the head, aren’t good if she wants to put a few words together when she’s my age.
    I’m NOT a fan of the MMA. In my opinion, it’s legalized cockfighting.

  2. TheSweetScience 06:10pm, 11/18/2015

    Very well articulated AKT.
    And my thoughts exactly, on every word.
    Especially in the fact that, even i, had predicted that Holly would have Ronda scared by round 3, and she would dive to the ground, exposing Holms MMA inexperience… But i was way wrong. Ronday tried, and holms length/power had her uncoiled in seconds… Landing lethal blows coming out of the attempted armbar. That may have intimidated ronda in a lethal way… But i truly believe, other than the fact that Rousey was beaten at the weigh-in scuffle… Where Ronda lost in the ring, was the moment when she braced Holly against the cage, Holly threw a few short uppercuts that sliced/pounded through. Many MMA fighter brace against the cage, and many throw-receive short punches on the inside. But it seemed that was where Ronda first felt power that no other fighter has offered against her before. And that is where she realized, due to hollys body configuration, that holly was about to be un-blockable. From that very moment, Ronda began to exhibit the “going down in flames” stampede. And she was picked off in every angle… Including the straight hands. This is where she had become the very same fighter that she had outclassed many times before. I can almost hear her thoughts of, “Mom? Mom? Is this going to happen”? I dont mean that mockingly. I was in hollys corner from the start… But truly feel for ronda in what she was receiving. Watching her lifeless body on the floor, ya can see her hand trying feebly to protect her face while the end reigned down. If ya want to watch a video that is actually hard to watch, and ya can see what mental wars Ronda is currently facing, watch the video about the knockout, i believe entitled “nooooooo, im ok. Im ok”. I know its on Its actually hard to watch. As was the shot of ronday coming off her flight into LAX. It makes very real, the weight of what has occurred. Our Holly Holm, here in albuquerque, is phenomenal. Still, the fallout is rough to learn of.

  3. thesweetscience 05:57pm, 11/18/2015

    George Thomas Clark,
    I absolutely agree about bones jones. The only comparison i meant to make there, was his body type and the way jackson-winkeljohn use the power angles out of every inch of advantage he has over a fighter before they even lock in a fight. Holly does not have his ghosts… But here in new mexico, where they train together, he even calls her “big sister”.
    Maybe he can see where true integrity in all walks of life, can take you… Now that he is back, and they train in the same place.

  4. AkT 04:51pm, 11/18/2015

    @George Thomas Clarke - you totally have the beat as our dear Ted always says.
    For Ronda to ever come close to beating Holm, it’ll have to on the ground or some form of close quarters grappling, but we saw her try and fail at that on Saturday. Ronda will never be able to stand and successfully box with Holm. That girl controls range too well. The way she was measuring ... she might as well have brought a tape rule!

    Can Ronda get her to the ground? Honestly. I don’t think she’s even strong enough to keep her there. Everyone talks about Holm’s amazing attributes. But the way she cleaned off those take down attempts says she’s very probably one of the strongest fighters Ronda has ever shared the octagon with. I really hope Ronda gets over this one because the beating she took wasn’t a one punch fluke type. She was systematically dismantled as part of a very intentional plan on Saturday. Holm has her number.

  5. George Thomas Clark 12:53pm, 11/18/2015

    Eric - I agree… Despite her arrogant behavior long before and leading up to the fight, Rousey lost so ignominiously that I definitely hope she does a lot better next time, whether or not she wins…

    The Sweet Science - You’re certainly correct: Holly Holm is blessed with grace in and out of the ring.  She’s a great fighter and a charming woman.

    You mentioned Jon “Bones” Jones.  He’s an extraordinarily talented fighter - 6-4, extremely long arms, a great wrestler and submission fighter, and an authoritative (though not pulverizing) puncher.  But as we know, he has had severe alcohol and substance abuse problems - as well as a hit and run wreck that injured a pregnant woman - so his severest battles are outside the octagon.

  6. thesweetscience 12:21am, 11/18/2015

    As for the re-match,tho i feel it unfair that holm doesnt even get to enjoy being a champ in one of the most shocking ways ever… I again enjoy a commenters comparison of rousey being better the second time around, but only in the way frazier was a bit better the second time against foreman. Pretty darn good vision in that statement.
    My fear/insight tho, does holly have a chance against the weight that the powers-that-be will possesss, in the fact that they are clearly saddened that rousey actually lost as the face of the company?
    I can actually see rousey rebounding in a major way, and if she can win, she may never lose again. Like an earlier commenter said, this may be what the doctor ordered.
    But in shere talent, holly has rouseys number. The height n reach, combined with the “its just math to us” plan of the lendendary winkeljohn/jackson circle, it just does not seem over-comeable right now.
    Holms possible reign seems comparible to the way bones jones dominated for awhile.
    But can she hold off the raging powers that be?

  7. TheSweetScience 12:13am, 11/18/2015

    Wow i am impressed by this write-up. I have all kinds of comparisons in mind, the weight of the loss, and whom it came to. The one that kept creeping into my mind was Tyson vs Buster. Now, you may say “what?! This is none of the sort”!!! But i speak solely on the “wow” factor, the dropping of jaws, the shock and tears that followed in the crowd. I remember growing up, being at the age that young men still saw baseball players as gods, and even though i can henestly say i played baseball betterbthan most i have ever met, i never thought of myself as ever having a chance to make it the pros, because i saw the men that made it to the show as doing something unattainable. Back in the age when the world seemed big, and some things were larger than life. That solely, is tye comparison i made to holm beating rousy. Back in the day, tyson was unbeatable. Rarely going past the first round, pure intimidation. Tyhe night he fell, my jaw hit the floor, and in a way, i still think my jaw is n that same floor. I still cant believe what played out that night, and how it played out.
    But i am wrong. I see the comparison in this essay being very spot on. Especially because holm’s talents are much more brighter than of one buster douglas.i am from philadelphia, but have lived here in albuquerque, new mexico for quite some time. Holm is no surprise to me, and what she did made me proud for her. Bones jones is correct, there is no more of a deserving champion of this caliber than one holly holm. I met her, and she carries just as much grace in reality as she did on the big thing rousey was wrong about, holly holm is not a “fake humility bitch”. Rousey lost at the weigh-ins that night. She went out a stomping bull, becaus she knew the weight of this lost. She did not “go quietly into that good night”, but she went into it, none the less.
    The only thing i disagree about in this essay above, is the weight of holm vs rousey, as opposed to trinidad vs hopking (fellow philadelphian!). Talent golden, in both fighters. David vs goliath. In female form. But the winner is not as big a surprise when one knew of the challenger like some of us knew of holm.
    BUT—-> i think why some us wanting a fighter to fall solely based on their refusal to touch the gloves of their respectful challenger, whom the champ may have even had a gut feeling they may fall to… The way rousey attacked holm at the weigh-ins… The way she was un-nerved by hollys nerve.all reasons to want her to fall. But like a few commenter on here, as well as other sites, though i was in holms corner… The WAY it all happened, and the fallout since, has my heart going out to rousey. The reason being, is the very same point i disagree with this above essay on, solely because of a point i think was left put—-> trinidad carried the heart of his people, yes. He wore the culture of his smile with the best if em. I cannot stress that enough. But i do believe, rousey losing, carries the weight of loss of many revolutionized women in a “mans sport”. A woman that re-defined a very defined society in the way the “blue eyed, blonde haired, 24-36-24 hourglass figure”, fell in a very harsh way. Alot more crumbled for her than did for trinidad in this epic bout. My entire reason for this lengthy comment, is praise for the writer’s insight, and a phenomenal comparison. Though I do believe the fallout is much more epic. Thats all.

  8. Eric 08:50pm, 11/17/2015

    GTC: Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling? I can’t believe I am actually feeling sorry for Ronda. Because of her attitude, I couldn’t wait until someone gave her an L, but now that it has happened and the way it happened, I find myself actually hoping she can regain the title.

  9. George Thomas Clark 03:07pm, 11/17/2015

    Koolz - I agree with the heart of what you said below: “She will have to create a plan on how to get Holm’s down, control the ground, and get her in a Arm Bar or something, leg lock, choke hold whatever.Good luck to her!”

    This loss probably will make her a better and more realistic MMA fighter.  But she’s pretty banged up.  Did you see the film of her returning to LAX today?  She was hooded and shielded her face with a cushion the whole time.  I hope she’s better soon.  It will take a while to recover from what she absorbed.  That’s the downside…

  10. Koolz 02:43pm, 11/17/2015

    George Thomas Clark-

    I suppose she should just stick to what she is good at, Jujitsu, and Judo.

    Still I think a year training with Pro Boxer would help, how about GGG and Sanchez!  At Big Bear Lake! 

    She will have to create a plan on how to get Holm’s down, control the ground, and get her in a Arm Bar or something, leg lock, choke hold whatever.

    Good luck to her!

    Your not giving Rousey enough credit as fighter…

    One Loss does not make someone less or as the internet says found out, exposed, bla bla bla, low intelligent fools.

  11. George Thomas Clark 02:31pm, 11/17/2015

    Koolz, you’re right about Ronda Rousey needing to build the comeback spirit, but the last thing she needs is intensive training with Mayweather or any other boxing specialist who would try to convince her she can slug with Holly Holm.  The only way Rousey will ever effectively punch Holm is if she’s sitting on Holm, and Mayweather can’t teach her that move.

  12. Koolz 01:48pm, 11/17/2015

    To become stronger we must fall so we can rise again!  Through Ashes and Fire, the trials of life make us who we are!

    Rousey will come again.  A new approach, working more with her talents she already has.  Or Training under Mayweather!  Why Not! 

    Keep the Cup empty or at very least half full so when the time comes you may fill it again.

  13. George Thomas Clark 12:47pm, 11/17/2015

    YouTube has taken down the good, full-fight video of Couture-Toney, and this is the only one I can find that shows the critical takedown…

  14. George Thomas Clark 12:37pm, 11/17/2015

    Eric - I agree that Rousey will do better the second time, but that may be only like Frazier doing a little bit better his second fight against Foreman.  At this point it’s unclear how Rousey will get and stay inside against a slugger and kicker like Holly Holm.  And let’s remember, the only two times the fight went to the mat, Rousey’s neighborhood, Holm powered out of the first takedown and voluntarily stepped out of the second, which Holm had in fact initiated.  If Rousey’s still under the illusion she’s a world class boxer, she has no chance.  If she’s committed to grappling, then she has the MMA equivalent of a puncher’s chance - a submitter’s chance.  As I mentioned in a post under the fight article yesterday, Rousey should study how Randy Couture took down and stopped James Toney in the first round.

  15. Eric 10:26am, 11/17/2015

    I see Rousey doing quite well in the rematch and maybe pulling it off. I was never a Rousey fan, detested her attitude, and this loss might be just what the doctor ordered. Amazing how quick the public turns on you though. Rousey went from being an indestructible fighting machine that was capable of handling 200lb men into a ham & egger who beat up ex-waitresses and former high school soccer players.

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