Welcome to round 2 of our analysis of the fights in Megalo Box with famous Canadian Boxer Eli Serada. Read our first part if you haven’t already, but if you have, let’s come out fighting.
You Can Teach an Old Junk Dog New Tricks
Joe and his coach Nanbu have decided to shoot for the top of the Megalo Boxing world, but first, they need to train. You may remember that when he fought Yuri, Joe’s strategy was focused almost solely on counterpunching and Nanbu wants to correct this mistake. This approach makes Joe way too predictable in a fight and Nanbu intends to correct that.
As Serada mentioned “[Nanbu] said [Joe] needs to stop parrying when you don’t need to and that’s essential. That can be detrimental because it makes you so easy to be fainted out.”
During this training analysis, however, a flaw was noticed in Joe’s technique that the show did not acknowledge. Our hero moves forward with his legs parallel and closes together at one point, which we’re told is bad because “from a stance like this … there’s only two things you can do, step back or step forward and the split second it takes can be detrimental [as it leaves you vulnerable]. What he should have done was move his front foot forward first and then push off his back foot to kind of jump forward kind of like a shuffle.”
But have no fear, our expert friend was able to assure us that everything besides this one flub was significantly better as his stance improved drastically for the rest of the session.
No Ring, No Rules, No Problem
Due to a stroke of bad luck, Joe has to fight the security guard of a dingy pawn shop, which doesn’t sound very challenging until you realize said guard is sporting an absolutely massive version of the series’ signature punch enhancing gears with metal knuckles where Joe would have boxing gloves. Worse yet, Joe doesn’t have any gear of his own to fight back with.
Thankfully, Joe's training has paid off, as we see him much more in control of the fight than ever before while sticking to every strong aspect of his style that we've gone over so far; Getting in his opponent's face, getting him frustrated, weaving through his punches and then parrying, but not to the point of being predictable with it. Joe approaches the fight much more patiently and doesn’t make the reckless mistakes that got him beat in his fight against Yuri, even successfully landing the cross counter he failed to hit the latter with.
The battle ends with Joe bending over and charging forward in a move our resident boxing informer told us was a very smart move because it made him a smaller target while letting him keep his face guarded.
He then dips past the enemy's punch and finishes with a devastating uppercut. The fight as a whole is perfect for showcasing Joe's progression while building from his foundation in the offensive counterpunch style.
The Professional Debut
Joe, having decided to forego the use of robotic gear altogether, is ready to start his career as a genuine pro. His first opponent in the international circuit is “Shark” Samejima, a strong hitter with an even stronger temper that’s gotten him disqualified from several matches in the past. Joe starts the fight off with what we’ve come to expect from him, lots of dodging and weaving.
Things start to look fishy before long, however, as Joe isn’t punching back. It’s not because Samejima has a good guard, in fact as Mr. Serada demonstrated for us, his punches are far too wild and leave a huge part of his body open for a hit.
Eli Sarada gives us a pulled back shot to show just how much a punch like this leaves you open.
The real reason Joe isn’t fighting back is that for the first time in the series he’s scared. Samejima’s punches may be clumsy, but they’re also strong and the pressure of facing such a powerful opponent who isn’t holding anything back makes Joe too defensive. He even runs away from Samejima at some point, a terrible idea given that his style needs him to get up close.
Serada explained this best: “Joe is no longer trying to win this fight, he’s just trying to survive.” Not focusing on hitting is of course not an effective strategy for boxing, but thanks to a pep talk from his friends, Joe gets his courage back.
Joe gets back into the fray with a more relaxed stance which we were told could be a statement from Joe, to say “You’re not fighting the same guy as before.” And indeed, Joe is no longer turtling and defending, but standing strong and making his move on his opponent.
Now unafraid of battle, Joe takes control and ends the battle with another cross counter.
These parts of Megalo Box show impressive growth from Joe both as a fighter and as a character.
A big thank you to Eli Serada for giving us an expert perspective on this topic. We’re not even close to being done with Megalo Box though, so if you want to see more, let us know what you think and stick to Honey’s Anime for the next round.