“An old broom knows the dirty corners best.”
- Irish Proverb
Miguel Torres put together an uncharacteristically patient fight against Charlie Valencia at WEC 51 on Thursday, and the New Torres was most evident in what appeared to be a complete stylistic revamp of The Torres Way.
Torres came out early with his left fully extended, right hand glued to his ear.
Not the same old thing, and for a fighter coming off a two-fight losing streak that saw him bloodied and bowed against Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez, Torres looked like a completely different machine against Valencia. Granted, Valencia – though a tough guy and a credible opponent – is hardly at the top of the heap in the WEC bantamweight division, but Torres handled him easily and that bodes well for the Hammond, Indiana legend.
“I’ve been working a lot on controlling myself when I get in the cage. A lot of my setbacks in the past — against Bowles, and even when I fought Mizugaki and Maeda — I chase guys too much,” Torres said.
Consider that problem repaired. Torres’ work with Firas Zahabi in Montreal seems to have included a new respect for defense, and given Torres’ considerable offensive firepower, that new tool in the arsenal may well see the former champ through to another title. Seeing him drop an airtight choke on Valencia recalled what’s right with his game – and that’s nearly everything. Add a little ring smarts to the mix and you have a formula for enduring greatness.
Knowledge is the first step on the path to Enlightenment, and Torres clearly has that understanding now.
“I’m so excited to put on a show for the fans that I hit a guy and I try to go forward — or I get hit, and I get crazy and go forward. It’s a little bit of a bloodlust that I have from growing up in the hood, I guess,” Torres said. “One of the main things I’ve tried to control is to be more calm and to wait for the opening to present itself. The whole first round. I wanted to jump on Charlie so bad, but I had to sit back and wait and calculate and just wait for it.”
It’s that sort of considered approach that is damn likely to bring the well-rounded Torres back to prominence.
“I still get the impulse to go after it, but I think now, especially with the way the game is developing, I have to be smarter when I fight and not be so aggressive,” Torres told the assembled scribes after his win. “There’s always going to be a time and a place.”
The time is now, and the place is inside the head of Miguel Torres. It seems the air in Montreal can go a long way toward giving a man That Championship Feeling.