Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Are You Watching the Fight Saturday Night?

As I was riding the local bus home Tuesday night, the fellow sitting directly behind me was loudly jabbering away on his cell phone. I really didn’t mind it that much, but couldn’t avoid overhearing him (as did most of the bus, no doubt).

After some forgettable discussion, he finally asked his friend on the other end if he was coming over to his place Saturday night to watch “the fight.” He never said which card, since both HBO and Showtime have live shows that night, but it was easy to figure out. He alternated speaking in English and Spanish, and from his accent, it was not hard to conclude that he was Latino, and thus most likely interested in Miguel Cotto-Alfonso Gomez and Kermit Cintron-Antonio Margarito 2, especially given the people who live in my area.

He never mentioned the name of any fighter, however. That didn’t seem to matter much to him, just so long as it involved someone like Cotto and was “the fight.” This was understood, although I obviously couldn’t hear both sides of his conversation.

He said he was ordering one of those giant sandwiches that you cut up for a large group, getting beer, and then doing “whatever,” the one thing which apparently he didn’t want the whole bus to hear. He wanted to get his friends to kick in a few bucks to share the beer and sandwich, and thus all have a good time as a group at this fight party.

I never got a good look at him and didn’t recognize his voice. I have overheard many similar discussions in my neighborhood before, and expect to again.

So, neighbors, are you watching the fight Saturday night?

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At 7:56 AM, Blogger Charles Farrell said...

You know, it's a start. When boxing was popular on network television in the mid to late 1950s, you'd hear the same kind of talk. People got together to watch "The Fight of the Week." Mainstream viewers didn't necessarily know the names of the combatants. They just expected to be entertained by what took place on the screen as the focal point of a companionable evening . Eventually the names of certain fighters entered public consciousness. A variation of this phenomenon showed up again on network television during the Ali era and extended well into the 1980s.

Both HBO and Showtime are presenting good lineups this Saturday night. Either card deserves to be called "the fight." Win a few of "the fights" impressively and non-hardcore fans will start to ask each other if they intend to watch "the Cotto fight" or "the Dawson fight."

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Eddie Goldman said...

Bob Arum said after the news conference for the April 12 card today that it is in the contracts for Cotto, who will presumably win, next to fight the Margarito-Cintron winner. That winner would hold both the WBA and IBF welterweight titles. The WBC title, of course, is held by Floyd Mayweather Jr. Arum also blasted Mayweather, saying that Mayweather refuses to fight Cotto. I’ll have these interviews from the presser up later on No Holds Barred.

If Cotto wins these two fights, will Mayweather, who next is supposed to have a rematch with De La Hoya in September, still dick around and avoid Cotto? We shall see.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Frank Lotierzo said...

"will Mayweather, who next is supposed to have a rematch with De La Hoya in September, still dick around and avoid Cotto? "

That's not a serious question is it? Amazing how Cotto is trying to clean out the division while Mayweather tries to fight rematches with De La Hoya and Hatton. IF Cotto-Mayweather were ever made, and Mayweather won, it would be hard to digest for me. Even though I'm not sure who I'd pick to win. Mayweather is becoming a joke to me.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Carlo Rotella said...

This discussion points up something complicated about boxing. On the one hand, we want the best to fight the best, as in the golden age. Robinson and La Motta fought six times, twice in one month. That's a kind of ideal. On the other hand, we all agree (I think) that back then fighters didn't get paid what they deserved. I recently asked La Motta, regarded in romantic legend as a man who lived to get punched in the face, about the business end of his career and he readily volunteered that he would have fought a lot less often if the money was better. But he also said that fighting a lot kept him in shape not only to fight well but to take the wear and tear of regular beatings without getting seriously hurt. So Mayweather really points up a case where our priorities as fight writers (seeing each good fighter develop to the point where he fights as well as he's capable of, the best fighting the best, evaluating the best of one era against the best of another, etc.) come up against other priorities (fighters making maximum buck for the bang) that we can't entirely disagree with.

Charles has brought up the same kind of arguments about Roy Jones. For all his vanity, there was much to admire in the way Jones conducted himself so unbendingly as a businessman, but even so I think everyone took a certain pleasure in seeing a virtuous toiler like Johnson (who has never been in a position to do business on his own behalf in the way that Jones did) get the best of him.

It's a complicated little mess of dueling motivations, and I find them at war in myself, for one.

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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