Mike Gavronski—Once More into the Breach
By Richard E. Baker on December 24, 2020
He is constantly in the gym yet he still has difficulties with stamina. (Photo: Richard E. Baker)
When Mike Gavronski (26-3-1) steps into the ring December 26th at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles he will attempt to win the vacant WBA Super Middleweight Title from David Morrell, an opponent with only 3 professional fights. That few fights might seem a bit skewed. Seldom does a man with 3 fights go against a man with 30. Not counting heavyweight Pete Rademacher, who lost his first professional bout in 1957 against champion Floyd Patterson, such is the strange world of boxing today.
Last year Gavronski beat Tommy Hughes (9-1) in September for the WBC Continental Americas Super Middleweight Title. He has not fought since. The last time he fought for that title was a loss against Tureano Johnson in 2014. It appeared to be a bad night for Gavronski who would have ordinarily beaten Johnson with his aggressive style. Perhaps the bright lights had him confused.
His attempt for the NABA-USA Super Middleweight Title against Dashon Johnson proved another disappointing loss. His title attempts did not improve when he was later beaten severely by Jesse Hart (24-1-0) in a fight where Gavronski was totally outclassed and emerged from the ring as quickly as he entered. Let’s call it stage fright, a big bout on television.
David Morrell is expected to give him a rough time when they meet. Gavronski might surprise him. What he lacks in skill he makes up for in heart. He is a fairly hard puncher with 26 knockouts and he never gives up. Tristan Todd broke his jaw in 3 places in the second round of their bout. Gavronski battled through the pain putting Todd into a coma in the last round. Todd was rushed to the emergency room where part of his skull was removed to relieve the swelling. Fortunately Todd pulled through.
Gavronski’s weakest point may be his conditioning. He is constantly in the gym yet he still has difficulties with stamina. At the age of 34 that problem is only likely to worsen, especially against a 22-year-old opponent who wakes up every day in shape..
Morrell’s team figures Gavronski will be a credible opponent but beatable. Morrell has gotten the shot at the vacant title due to his amateur record. BoxRec gives him an amateur record of 48-5 while Wikipedia lists it as 130-2, a large discrepancy. Adding to the confusion is an article on premierboxingchampions.com that lists his record as 135-2. The record appears to change with each publication. He won the interim WBA Super Middleweight Title in his third professional fight by beating Lennox Allen (22-0-1) in August. Prior to that he beat Quinton Rankin (15-6-2) and Yendris Rodriguez Valdez (2-6-0), both by KO and both unskilled.
Morrell left Cuba and his family for the chance of a better life in the States. The decision was a tough one. With nothing except the clothes he was wearing, he left his mother and boxing brother and slipped into Mexico where he became a citizen. The Cuban government punished him by preventing his brother, Rafael, from competing.
Luis DeCubas Sr. and Leon Margules, the managers of Warriors Boxing, took Morrell to Minnesota where he would not be tempted to live in Miami and succumb to the ills and night life of that town. Many a promising Cuban fighter has been flushed down the toilet from the temptations and illegality of a free society. He has little to do in Minnesota except train. The most excitement on a Saturday night is watching ambitious cows attempt to jump over the moon. (Like boxers dreaming of a world title, most do not make it, but they do not lack for determination.)
Morrell is pretty raw and so far comes in overanxious and often wide open. He will need a decent chin against Gavronski. Should the fight go the distance he will probably earn the decision even if Gavronski obviously won every round. At 34, Gavronski has little earning power and boxing is, after all, a business. Only fans, forever faithful, consider boxing a sport. At 22 Morrell has at least 10 more years to bring home the bacon and also fry it up as well. Not that there is anything unsavory about boxing. It has always had a stellar reputation for integrity.
Few people expect the fight to go the distance, anyway, and that is about the only way to truly win a fight these days, even as in days before. If Morrell wins, he goes on to more money and more fame. If Gavronski loses, he falls into the well paid opponent category. These two men are both determined, aggressive fighters and, regardless of the outcome, it should be a fun bout.