Have you seen the video of Rudy Giuliani wiping his toxic, reptile sweat all over the terrified woman next to him at this year’s Republican National Convention? In it, the former Mayor of New York City and current Guy Who Spends His Days Licking Window Panes and Chewing On Extension Cords, dabs his clearly lobotomized forehead for an entire ten seconds, runs his clammy, viscid claw over his feeding hole, briefly rests it on the part of his leg where his knee presumably used to be and begins to extend it toward his female companion/prisoner’s arm. It’s around this point where the viewer becomes inundated with dread.
“Oh no… Oh god NO… PLEASE… OH GOD NOOOOO.”
By the time his tiny, ghoulish fingers begin caressing her soon-to-be-amputated arm, the horror is almost too much to bear. Anxiety into terror into defeated exhaustion.
This is how I feel clicking on any boxing-related article these days. The fear that I’m going to read the umpteenth iteration of the same, soul-depleting narrative is always fully realized less than a paragraph in.
What’s that? Styles make fights? You don’t say.
He has to use his jab? Wow, no shit?
Fighter A is good but couldn’t compete in (insert era here)? Wow, that seems relevant.
It is, in fact, possible to cover this sport without talking like you were born in a sheep stable in the 1840’s. Not everything needs historical precedent. Contemporary fighters don’t owe a debt to ones who fought before their parents were born, just as future generations won’t be in arrears to today’s. Watching two fighters, right here and right now, beat the shit out of each other is the entire story. Full stop.
No sport both suffers from and prides itself on its inferiority complex more than boxing. The same people who will go to the mat for a pointless, shitty fight between YouTube stars because it “brings new eyes to the sport” will just as quickly banish you to Casual Island for not knowing Kid Gavilan’s birth name.
(For the record, I have no clue what it is because I’m not 150 years old. I absolutely refuse to research it either. I do not care.)
Besides attending one of the GOP’s extinction-level superspreader events, boxing is one of the single most dangerous activities on earth. So why do we feel it’s necessary to imbue every fight with some hot and heavy take about how one dude reminds you of Fritzie Zivic, or how both guy’s dads drive similar pickup trucks? How does barfing up stuffy platitudes and pulling deep cuts from Dick Tiger’s boxrec page or whatever, enhance the reader/viewer’s experience more than simply discussing the fight taking place?
I’ll save you the suspense; it doesn’t.
Speaking elliptically about fighters who died before cordless phones were invented and using it to feed the Take Machine is just you jacking off into your word count.
So what’s the point of all this (admittedly) bitchy hand-wringing?
The amount of takes, angles, and clickbait being spit out about this weekend’s upcoming Vasily Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez fight on ESPN has been mind-boggling, even for a sport that traffics in them to the degree that boxing does.
“Is Lomachenko Too Old?”
“Is This Mayweather/Canelo or Tyson/Spinks?”
“How Much Fortnite Should Lopez Play on Fight Night?”
No, who cares, and please kill me. Why are you mining for angles for a fight this good? More importantly, what more could you want out of a fight? This is as close to perfect as boxing gets and you’re flipping through Ukrainian cookbooks to find an original take. You don’t need it.
Want me to get you pumped for this fight? Here goes:
One of the best technical fighters of this, or any, generation squaring off against the single most explosive young fighter we’ve seen in ages. One is 32, the other 23. They fucking hate each other.
Boom, that was easy.
We didn’t mention their dads once or even have to compare it to a fight from the Great Depression. Wanna know why? Because there is nothing to elevate or amplify the stakes of this fight more than the fight itself already does. We all love Bert Sugar but the services of acolytes are not needed this, or any, weekend. Hang up your fedora and finally light that cigar. Your retirement starts today.
I understand the impulse to chuck a Hail Mary into the endzone and see if your piping hot “Lomachenko is the thinking man’s Gene Tunney” take sticks, but please keep it holstered this weekend, and also forever.
Lomachenko/Lopez is the rare fight that fans are universally excited for. It kicks total ass and is going to be a fucking blast. To make an unimpeachable fight — that satisfies even the pickiest of boxing purists — is a nearly impossible task. They somehow managed to do it and that should be enough.
The fight is the story.
The fight is the take.