Klitschko-Ibragimov Diary, Saturday: No Blood On My Shirt, Jokes I Wouldn’t Make

NEW YORK CITY — The bigger undercard fights and the main event at Madison Square Garden’s heavyweight unification bout are still ahead, so here’s a diary of how things are going in the lead-up to Vladimir Klitschko-Sultan Ibragimov. The Cheap Seats So I’m not ringside, it turns out. There are only so many spots, which means I’m in a separate press section. I wonder how I got passed over. C’mon, I’m waaay better than Lars Dobbertin of Sport Bild! A ticket to the same spot would’ve cost me $50, I’m guessing. But I’m not complaining. I’ll be able to attend the news conferences afterwards and all that business. Plus, I can hang out in the semi-swanky press room, which is decked with pictures of Muhammad Ali and other icons of Madison Square Garden, which means I’m getting some of the flavor. And, frankly, I’m a fan of the sport, but I’m not the kind with blood lust, contradictory as that may seem. I can’t say I’m disappointed that I won’t be getting sprayed with hemoglobin and sweat. (The view’s not as bad as the picture, by the way, cuz I had it on wide. But I wouldn’t count on many action shots.) Andy Lee Dropping By Andy Lee’s a nice prospect — one of the nicest in all of boxing, really — who fights at middleweight (160 lbs). He dropped by the press room to grab a snack. He’s here to support Jonathan Banks, and because, like Klitschko, he’s trained by Emmanuel Steward, he did some sparring with Klitschko in training. I asked him how that felt, what with them being, I dunno, 80 pounds lighter than the heavyweight behemoth. “We just work,” he said, acknowledging that Klitschko doesn’t hit him full force. He seemed genuinely enthused by the opportunity, though — he whipped out his iPhone and showed me shots of getting hit by Klitschko. “You can see the difference,” he said, shyly. The First Couple There are a few fights on the card I haven’t mentioned. First up was Ronnie Vargas, a former New York Golden Gloves champ who’s at 5-0 with 4 KOs. Make that 6-0, 4 KOs for the junior middleweight (154 lbs.). Vargas seemed pretty skilled — fast, hard to hit, lots of diversity in his attack — as you might expect for a former amateur champ, and Monyette Flowers, 4-8-1 coming in, gave him a pretty hittable target, fearlessly coming in even when he got caught with big shots. He nearly went down in the second on a big combination, but either he’s a tough sumbitch or Vargas doesn’t hit that hard. I think Vargas hit him pretty hard, so I’m giving this one to Flowers’ chin. His mouthpiece flew out twice in the 4th. Vargas deservedly won all four rounds for a unanimous decision victory. Heavyweight Alexander Ustinov made quick work — one round — of Earl Ladsen. Ladsen (13-11-1 coming in) and Ustinov both seemed clumsy, but Ustinov — now 8 wins, 8 KOs — clearly hits harder. Ladsen’s corner threw in the towel as Ustinov, a former Muay Thai champ and a big fella, battered him around. I’ll give cruiserweight (200 lbs.) Jonathan Banks and middleweights Joe Greene and Peter Quillin their own blog entry, collectively then give middleweight John Duddy his own entry too. They’re bigger names. Thanks, Deadspin Deadspin.com: Making the jokes I don’t have the nerve to. They kindly linked to my Friday diary, wherein we discussed certain sexual remarks from Klitschko. If you haven’t seen it, here’s their take.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.