Even Fighters Get Old
I didn’t even think about this until this morning. But in the same week that Oscar De La Hoya retired, we have probably seen the last of Chuck Liddell in the octagon.
According to Dave Meltzer’s post fight press conference report, Dana White said that Chuck Liddell is done as a fighter.
While Liddell and De La Hoya may be completely different types of fighters, they’re not all that different when it comes to how they represented their sports.
While Oscar De La Hoya was boxing’s biggest star, Chuck Liddell was also the UFC’s biggest star.
Oscar was well spoken, had tremendous charisma and was someone who understood how to sell fights. Chuck’s charisma was different. He looked like what you expected a UFC fighter to be. He wore a mohawk with extreme facial hair. He was an aggressive fighter and simply wanted his fights to end in one way, which was via a punch from his right hand. He used his granite chin to take a punch so that he could give a harder one.
Even though their styles were so different, they were still each sport’s biggest star. And they did so not because they were unbeatable. They simply had the type of star power that comes along only once in a blue moon.
Oscar De La Hoya lost big fights to Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. Chuck Liddell lost fights to Randy Couture (which he avenged), Rampage Jackson (twice), Rashad Evans, and now Shogun Rua. While each guy won also won big fights, their legend as the best in the sport was hurt by their big losses. And it never once hurt their stardom, even as they retired in very similar fashion.
For De La Hoya, that lasting bad memory is of him not leaving his stool while Manny Pacquiao was ready to dish out more punishment. For Liddell, his are being knocked out with one punch by Rashad Evans, and being knocked loopy from a Rua punch he didn’t even load up on.
But both guys were special, one of a kind type of fighters. They were the most important fighter in each’s sport. And they both retired in the same week.
(Liddell’s retirement hasn’t been officially announced, but based on what’s been said, it looks like it’s it for him.)
Someday, we’ll look back on this week and note how historic it was.