Embarrassingly, I spent last Friday night watching Yuri Foreman get knocked out by Erislandy Lara. The fight was terrible, and the knockout punch was sneaky good, but nothing like the destructive mesmerization I seek. Normally I’d forget that I’d been foolish enough to watch it and move on with my life, but over the weekend, I caught myself watching the KO clip several more times. There was something about the baby deer standing up for the first time way that Foreman “tried” to be beat the count that was nagging me. It might’ve been me wondering if he was trying to figure out which one of his knees was gimpy so he had an excuse, but that wasn’t entirely it. I was certain that I had seen another fighter do the exact same thing before.
Boxing fans, particularly these days, are a nostalgic bunch. That nostalgia often manifests itself into disaffection wherein we spend our time sullenly denigrating current fighters as a bunch of skill-less, pampered babies who’ve undergone an ambitionectomy. With the last three years having successively shown that the previous was not, in fact, as bad as it could get, it’s become harder for new fans and the younger generation to defend themselves and the sport from their harping, cynical elders. You always want to remind the optimistic little bastards that one day, they too will be wizened and bitter, while secretly hoping that they can find a way to avoid it, but it’s as inevitable as Bernard Hopkins getting crushed by Joe Smith. Time is undefeated, and we all know it.
Like most fans, boxing is one of my favorite things to talk about, and I’m most eager to talk about the era when I discovered the sport, the 1990s. I was aware of boxing before that, but was really too young to follow it with any purpose. Growing up in a golden era for heavyweights and welterweights will spoil you rotten, and it’s easy to become disaffected, so I choose to be nostalgic instead. It’s like my own special happy place that I can run to whenever necessary, because I guarantee that watching David Tua vs Ike Ibeabuchi, or the Evander Holyfield vs Riddick Bowe trilogy, or the James Toney vs Mike McCallum trilogy is a damn good way to lift your spirits. No matter how disappointed I am in myself, my favorite sport, or the world at large, I will always have the 90s, and that (plus a liberal pour of bourbon) is something to treasure.
I happened to be in just such a mood on Monday after a delicious liquid lunch, tangentially meandering my way through YouTube fights as I determined not to be productive on my day off. Suddenly, Yuri Foreman was front and center in my mind, and I knew that I hadn’t been crazy Friday night. I had seen the same goddamn thing before. But it was Bruce Seldon vainly attempting to rise against Riddick Bowe in 1991. That’s one of the special things about boxing, sometimes even a terrible fight will nudge you down the rabbit hole of your memories and you’ll find something that will put a big grin on your face.
- If you don’t buy the nostalgia argument, just remember that the networks and announcers behave as if Rosie Perez is a celebrity. Her biggest movie role was in “White Men Can’t Jump,” which came out in 1992. I rest my case.
- As bad as Friday night’s PBC card was, Saturday night’s PBC card on Showtime totally made up for it. Immanuwel Aleem and Iegven Khytrov waged an excellent slugfest, in which Khytrov would get dumped on his ass and then roar back to take control, only to get dumped on his ass again before getting stopped for good in the 6th round. It was fun as hell, and the perfect way to start the night.
- I’ve been high on Khytrov since gushing over his FNF performance almost two years ago. Funny how you can miss a fighter having absolutely no head movement or defense until they face someone on their level. Oops.
- The right hook Gervonta Davis knocked Jose Pedraza out with was vicious. I loved it.
- It felt like Badou Jack edged James DeGale in the main event. Part of that impression was colored by the fact that when DeGale got dropped in the 12th, he was clearly hurt. When Jack went down in the 1st round, he was off balance. They are worth the same thing in the outcome, but it’s pretty normal to favor the guy doing damage, which can lead you to question outcomes that are completely fair. Finding 6 rounds to give either fighter was quite easy. On points it was a very close fight and a draw is totally justified.
- I always thought Manny Pacquiao was a sweet simpleton, but since he became Senator Pacquiao, I’m starting think he’s a batshit crazy simpleton. His recent comments justifying the death penalty for drug users are fucking bonkers. (H/T Rafe Bartholomew @rafeboogs, Minister for all things Filipino)
- Boxing Scene is reporting that Marco Huck and Mairis Briedis is a done deal for April 1st. That’s either a war or an execution. In any case, I’m fucking pumped.
- I know we all want to forget that 2016 existed, but there were some great moments mixed in with the drizzle shit that was the rest of the year. Enjoy, courtesy of @jordansingleton aka BoloPunch Productions.