You’d think between their frequently big mouths and a profession where gritty detail is available in abundance, boxers would make for natural bloggers. Instead, they are few and far between. The good news is, there are several proliferating. And if you pay attention, you’ll get information on everything from one boxer’s recent prostate exam to another’s touching (albeit in a different way) tribute to the importance of fathers to fighters. Here’s your guide to the ones with which I am familiar.
- David Diaz: The 135-pound titlist, in advance of his Saturday fight-of-his-life against Manny Pacquiao, has been doing a diary over at his hometown Chicago Sun-Times. It’s boring in stretches; what comes through is that Diaz is a nice, earnest, down-to-earth guy, which is the way he comes across in everything else he ever does. One Sun-Times piece said Diaz “has been a hit with the global boxing media with his self-deprecating humor,” but very little of it comes through in his diaries. There was a little wit in a charming, aww-shucks post about getting to throw out the first pitch for the Chicago Cubs: “It was no problem, Kevin Hart, the reliever for the Cubs crouched down behind the plate and I slid a curve ball over the corner. Or at least that’s how I remember it. Any time guys, after the 28th, if you need a couple of innings I’m ready.” While his diary’s not strictly a blog in many ways, not much else on this list is, either.
- Nate Campbell: Now, Diaz’ fellow lightweight titlist, Nate Campbell? He’s mouthy in daily life, and it comes through in his blog, which runs in a column-like format over at Maxboxing.com. As such, it’s a good read. He’s a bold, opinionated dude. One entry from May started this way: “There is one definite problem with boxing – POLITICS. It is so obvious to see the politics, when Juan Diaz can be defeated handily and then see it swept under the rug like it never happened. Now he’s been given a reward after being manhandled on an international broadcast. The politicians say that he’s the more exciting to watch.” Campbell, of course, was the guy who manhandled Diaz and was upset that Diaz, not himself, might get a shot at Ring magazine lightweight champ Joel Casamayor. Setting aside his usual trash-talking persona, Campbell showed his humble side when he detailed his trip to boxing’s Hall of Fame. “I was in heaven,” he wrote this month. “Oh my God we even had our hands casted and they took the uniforms that we donated to be hung in the HALL OF FAME. I made myself a promise to fight as hard as I could to be worthy of the honor of that hallowed place. Now I am Champion, but by no means am I yet worthy, at least I don’t feel so; but this is just a testament that all things are possible through faith, dedication, hard work, and a stubborn will.”
- Robert Guerrero: The 126-pound title-holder who just gave up his title to fight at 130 has a pretty popular blog over at Yardbarker.com. Unlike some of the others, he posts tons of videos, which is a good thing to do on a blog, isn’t it? The entries themselves are usually pretty short, and rarely very personal. Guerrero’s wife was diagnosed with leukemia last year, and he only mentioned it twice: Once when talking about how he’d dedicated a recent win to her, and the second time when she went into remission in February. “With the love and prayers from everyone, my wife is now in remission with her condition. I want to thank everyone who continues to keep her in prayer,” he wrote. I would have loved to read more about how he has balanced training, fighting and caring for his wife, but maybe he didn’t want to exploit it.
- Tony Thompson: Perhaps the top U.S. heavyweight, Thompson aka “The Tiger” has by far the funniest blog, which he started at Eastsideboxing.com in advance of his July fight against the best active heavyweight in the whole wide world, Vladimir Klitschko. It rivals the work of quirky ballplayer Gilbert Arenas. It’s one bon mot after another. He calls his masseuse, alternately, “Dr. Kevorkian” and “Hitler.” He says, “I’m somewhat vain about getting my ass kicked.” Thompson, a black man, had this to say about getting photographed with live tigers to promote the fight: “I thought it was pretty interesting because when I fed the tiger I only fed him the legs and thighs of the chicken, thatÄôs right all the dark meat. And he seemed to really enjoy it. I didn’t know if I should bring out the deep fry or if I should be worried because I was the only dark person there…” He’s also shown a serious side, though: “I left the wife and 7 kids back at home with the broken air conditioner, broken dishwasher, broken dryer and the electricity down in one half of the house. To me, this is God’s sign that I better get this fight done. I have to get this fight done. But I am OK with leaving to train because I know my wife and kids are going to be OK. They know daddy is doing what he has to do to get this stuff fixed.” The blog is a little sporadic and doesn’t have its own dedicated spot, but it’s worth checking back in on every now and then, for sure — even though Thompson has threatened to start getting more serious as the fight gets closer. Here’s one to get you started. I only found that particular entry by Googling “Tony Thompson” and “blog,” after a friend tipped me off to his blogging.
- The amateurs: Friend-of-the-site Jonathan does his own thing, too, detailing his amateur boxing career on his own blog, the well-named Earning a Nickname. The details are frequently excellent. Check out his description of going back to his corner at the end of the 2nd round in one recent bout — “The 2nd break went very similar to the 1st: lots of swearing, Irish accents, squirts of water, and a towel shoved up my nose to stop the bleeding.” Here’s hoping you earn that nickname soon, Jonathan, and that it’s not an Irish curse word. Secondly, for some reason, there are a whole slew of lawyers who box. Some physical-combat-thing-to-match-their-verbal-combat-in-court kind of deal? One lawyer/boxer has the lowdown on all the other lawyer/boxers here. He blogs about the law, boxing and other lawyer/boxers. I’m blogging about him now. Getting all meta is fun.
If you know of any others, please send them our way. Even some of the least interesting of these blogs have some infotainment value…