day 259 – Boxing

Great boxing matches last night.  Amazing three fights between six contenders.  All six fighters showed skill, determination, courage and most importantly, heart.  Through pain, blood, sweat, broken hands, dislocated shoulders, hard jabs and smooth blows each athlete countered, threw lefts and rights, they came back into the center of the ring from their corners after every bell with renewed vigor, aplomb and nothing short of sheer willingness and faith in their talent and stamina.  My Kudos goes to the sportsmanship and professionalism shown, the brutality and finesse defined in each and every round and the warrior spirit in all these men.

First fight: Thurman vs. Chavez (Argentina) welterweight knockdown and out in the 10th by Thurman.

Second fight: Figueroa vs. Arakawa (Japan) lightweight unanimous decision for Figueroa.

Headliner: Soto Karass vs. Berto welterweight technical knockout in the 12th round after Karass left hooked Berto and the fight was stopped.

I may not seem like a boxing fan, according to some who don’t know this about me, but it’s the most natural Saturday evening thing for me to watch with my husband – and before that – as a kid and teen with my dad.

I grew up watching boxing, ice hockey and Monty Python with my dad.  I also was his first mate on our boat, fished in the wee hours frequently, clammed by his side, learned how to clean a fish, make a bonfire anywhere, start a fire for grilling without charcoal or lighter fluid, how to appreciate precision and balance in math, building and design, plus he took me ice skating in freezing arenas and ponds or lap swimming in heated pools, two to three evenings a week.  We usually watched our sports in my mom’s upstairs teeny sewing room on the daybed.  I remember the television was a very small, portable black and white model with adjustable antennae.  I treasured those moments, even then.

Boxing stories are most always about an underdog or a poor immigrant kid making his way up the ranks of an even harder, harsher ladder in the ring.  There are always tales of inspiration from a relative, interested teacher or mentor.  Included in his rise to the bout “you are about to see” are statistics, recent setbacks that might mess with his emotional head or a long line of ups and downs in his personal life that require he win this fight or risk losing everything.

Drama, story, physicality, aggression, mental training, strategy, fan favorites, political or national prejudice, strength, steadfastness and “expect the unexpected” are all part of the spectacle.

I enjoy the rumble and the show.  I am interested in the humble backgrounds.  I take pleasure in the simplicity of the stage.  I delight in the emotion of the win, either by violent knockdown, a disputed technical knockout or the subjective and often times but not always merited judge’s decision.

Boxing is driven by spontaneity.  It is the epitome of earnestness.  It is the height of human force, speed, alertness and muscular power.  It is a clash of titans of equal weight.  I suppose it’s heathenish of me to enjoy boxing so much.  Alas, I am pagan in many ways so don’t be so shocked.

Boxing is a world of intimacy  – a human sport based on primal emotion, edged into the arena of public display via a technicality called the arbitrary rules of the ring.  I am entertained by its crude yet chivalrous game and its players’ climb to glory for a brief moment in history.

No wonder I love hockey with all the outbreaks of impromptu fighting peppered throughout a typical three period game.

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