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I Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, OCTOBER 17, 2014 ",L Jerry Quarry He Was His Own Toughest Opponent Part 2 Jerry Quarry In part one of this piece I discussed how Jerry Quarry could be so great on some nights, and on others how he seemed to just lose it. I fo- cused on four fights, three of which were for the Champi- onship, and his bout against George Chuvalo. Jerry was so great in fights against some of the toughest cus- tomers in the heavyweight division in the Golden Age of Heavyweights and yet per- formed poorly when he had his chance at the title (the Chuvalo fight was not for the title, the exception). Did he choke or panic in those fights? Or was it something else? I think in at least one of these bouts it was a mat- ter of choking. In the-others it appears to be panic. Now, please don't confuse either of these problems with hav- ing anything to do with a lack of courage. Jerry Quarry proved his courage in the ring time and again, and I would argue that if he was in a state of panic going into any of these fights, that would be even further proof of his heart by still stepping in there. I'll begin with the Jimmy ~" Ellis'bout that took place in 1968. Jerry was the slight favorite going into this final match of the tournament for the WBA Heavyweight Title. The winner of this match would be widely accepted as the Heavyweight Champion 2 now that Muhammad All was no longer allowed to fight. The winner would certainly meet Joe Frazier to unify the title. Ellis was one of the most underrated fighters of the era. He was an excellent boxer puncher who moved "~ like a middleweight and had the power of a heavyweight. His best punch was a sneak right hand. I am sure that Quarry worked on defensive measures against that sneak right while training ~, for this fight. I am certain of this for two reasons. It just made common sense that he would, and from the out- set of the match, Jerry . seemed to be almost com- pletely focused on watching and avoiding getting hit by it. Jimmy was able to keep him off balance with feints, and Jerry was never able to really let his punches go. That single-mindedness on Quarry's behalf looks like a Ellis vs Quarry symptom of choking, where an athlete's mind slows done to the point of only be- ing able to think of one movement at a time, almost a slow motion effect. Think single punches versus com- binations. Jerry lost a split decision, but he fought as if he were sleepwalking. He was nothing like the Quarry who had beaten Thad Spen- cer and Floyd Patterson. Jerry's next major fight was for the other version of the title against Joe Frazier in 1969. While he was not the favorite in this fight, he did possess the tools to give Joe a good fight and possibly defeat him. Jerry was one of the best counter punchers ever and he had just the type of footwork to move around Frazier effectively. Jerry had the ability to take small steps very quickly, this would have allowed him to step to the side of Frazier, who was also very fast, and throw counter shots in close quarters from an angle, us- ing Joe's forward momen- tum against him. It would not be easy, but it could work. So, what happened? The bell rang for round one and Jerry walked straight into Frazier. It was as if Quarry had been given in- structions from someone in the Frazier camp on how to be the perfect opponent for Joe. I think what happened is that Jerry trained properly for the fight and had a solid game plan, but when the bell rang panic set in. In boxing it is sometimes emotionally harder to box then to slug. When boxing, you are mak- ing the other guy miss you while landing your own punches. This is the epitome of what boxing is all about, but the part that can be nerve wracking is that while those punches are whizzing past you, something in your mind can start send- ing off warnings (fears) of what could happen if you started getting hit by those blows. After his first but with Joe Frazier, George Fore- man commented that when Joe's hook flew by his: head Quarry vs Frazier he could feel the breeze from it, and it was scary. In psy- chology, it is sometimes said that verbal abuse can be worse than physical abuse because with the physical abuse the victim knows the limits of the pain. With verbal abuse, the imagina- tion takes over and leads the abused to have an even greater reaction to the threats then if the actual physical act were to happen. That's why I believe when Jerry came out for that first round panic set in. Some- where in his mind he knew that Joe would eventually connect, and rather than try to avoid the blows he figured he would just go in and get it over with, hoping he would be able to outslug the cham- pion in the process, a form of going out in a blaze of glory. Jerry didn't quit.~tn the conventional sense of the word. He certainly showed great courage, but he had given up on himself, on his great ability, and ended up in a state of panic. Why didn't Jerry have the same reaction when he fought heavy punchers such as Ron Lyle, Ernie Shavers, and Mac Foster? Those fights were not title fights, and perhaps being under just that much less pressure made the difference. Next week I will conclude by discussing Jerry's fights with George Chuvalo, a fight that wasn't for the title but where we still saw some odd behavior on Jerry's part, and Muhammad Ali, a fighter known for getting into his opponents' head .I will also explore what goes on in a fighter's mind during a bout. Bobby can be reached at Boston Bruins vs. Colorado Avalanche on Monday af- ternoon, October 13, 2014. The Avalanche buried the Bruins 2-1. (Photo by Rosario Scabin, Ross Photography) The opening home stand of the season had come to its conclusion and judging from the comments of some people, one would have thought the world was ending. The Bruins had been de- feated in three consecutive games after their initial opening night victory, the first time they had experi- enced three straight set- backs since a similar stretch back in the middle of March, 2012. And now, according to some, the floodgates had been opened, the ship was sinking and the possibilities for a successful season were going down the drain. But, of course, things were far from over. In fact they were just beginning. As the Bruins took to the road for a relatively short three-game road trip, there was more than enough time to reverse the course, to right the somewhat sinking ship and have a fine season to re- member. But it does have to start soon. This is hockey, a pro sport that has only 82 regu- lar season games compared to the 162 played in Major League Baseball. "The bottom line is we've got to turn it around as soon as possible," said B's Head Coach Claude Julien before leading his club out the door for the start of a short three- game road trip. "Right now I think a lot of guys are forc- ing things and that could be because of the situation that we're in. The finish -- whether it's around our net or on other opportunities -- has to get better." Julien also feels that the less-than-positive launch to the season could have a sil- ver lining. "Those are the things that make your team a stronger team and a bet- ter team down the road," he noted. "When you have ad- versity, a lot of teams will tell you at the end of the year that it probably made them better hockey clubs. It can only do that for us if we start learning from it and we get ourselves going in the right direction. So I don't think those kind of things hurt you. If anything, they'll help you in the long run." And it is the long run that really matters. The regular season does not end until mid-April so there's quite a ........... , bit of hockey robe played:over the course of the next six months. If a number of con- tests had been played before losing three straight games at home, chances are it would be seen as more of a blimp on the radar than a major negative occurrence. For example, if the three- game home losing streak had happened in January, at a time when 40-45 games had been played, there would have been a substantial number of victories that would have cushioned the result. Early in the season, devoid of a pile of wins, it looks much worse than it really is. That's n6t to say that early games are meaningless. They aren't. Those who read the tea leaves in the NHL tend to take a measure fairly early -- around Thanksgiving Day. Both Julien and Bruins President Cam Neely are proponents of the idea that a good indica- tion of how the teams will finish the regular season can be ascertained by look- ing at the NHL standings on Thanksgiving morning. It's not a perfect picture. But seven weeks in tells those with experience that trends have started to form -- many of which will con- tinue throughout the sea- son. Perhaps those in Bru- ins Nation who are so criti- cal at the start should wait until Thanksgiving -- when a much more clear picture of the 2014-2015 season is evident. An early panic can com- pound the negative while a measured response can re- store balance and confi- dence -- the hallmarks of a successful season. WHAT WOULD HE THINK OF KELLY OLYNYK? -- It was during the preseason and Coach Julien was in a real good mood, smiling and in- teracting with members of the media. It was then he told one scribe sitting a couple of rows in front of us to "get a haircut." It was ob- vious that he meant it in a playful mood, but if one be- lieves that there is a kernel of truth in every jest, then one has to wonder what Boston's hockey coach would think of 7-0 Celtics center Kelly Olynyk -- a player who sports one of the longest manes in the NBA. Not much we think. Olynyk, a native of Canada, would be in for a trim, we feel, if Julien had anything to say about it. He doesn't, of course, which means that Olynyk is free to display his distinctive hair style throughout the season. GOING WITH GAGNE -- Veteran forward Simon Gagne was signed to a one- year contract by the B's just before they departed on the road trip, a signal that there could be changes throughout the season. Gagne, who has played 13 seasons in the NHL, had scored 288 goals and 309 (Continued on Page 14) j: i' I