It's Showtime is back in Tenerife on Saturday, and if it weren't for me talking about it here on LiverKick, you probably wouldn't know that Javier Hernandez is defending his It's Showtime 61MAX World Title against Masahiro Yamamoto, in what has all the makings of a great fight on paper.
Before June 18, 2011, when Hernandez upset Karim Bennoui to win the title in Madrid, Spain, he was a virtual unknown. No one, including myself knew who he was and we all expected Bennoui to beat him after an impressive win over Sergio Wielzen. Hernandez, of course, ended up winning in one of the best fights of last year.
Oddly enough (well, not really), Hernandez, while not being an unknown anymore, still isn't very well known and doesn't receive much recognition despite his great performance against Bennoui. He's even had trouble finding fights, which is odd considering that he's the champion of It's Showtime and one would assume that opportunities would starting popping up based on that. Since winning the title, Hernandez has gone 2-1, with the one loss being borderline corrupt.
It's a bit confusing why it's taken him over a year to get another fight for It's Showtime, and all this time that he hasn't been fighting on the world stage, his name value (which is non-existent) has been picking up dust. I understand that he fights at a weight class that isn't 70kg or heavyweight, and that the awareness of what goes on outside of those divisions is not high at all. That's the reality of kickboxing, pretty much.
In a perfect world for me, it wouldn't be like this. I would like this to change, though. Hernandez is one of the best 61kg kickboxers in the world. We're talking about one of the best kickboxers in his weight class here, who went from unknown to one of the best in one fight. He deserves some recognition, and so does his weight class.
In order for that to really happen, a major player needs to bring together all the best fighters in one weight class, all in one place. Kickboxing is a sport where some of the best fighters can come out of nowhere when given the opportunity, and that's what Javier Hernandez did last year.