Word has trickled to us here at the TSS home office that the Giant Valuev is feeling a little dissed, a tad miffed. Yes indeed, underneath that aberrantly humongous pile of flesh and back hair, there are nerves implanted here and there, and they have perhaps been rubbed the wrong way.
The Giant Valuev, it has been whispered, feels he hasn’t been treated with the dignity he believes he is owed, as he has been trotted out by boxing’s Barnum, the high-haired Hercules of hype, Don King, to be gawked at by the masses, who marvel at his outsized frame and fearsome visage.
Why, you might ask yourself, would a man enter into this vocation, the fight game, if he wished to be treated as if he possessed an inherent nobility?
Certainly, in this age, examples of dignity, in and out the savage science, would appear to be on the wane.
Politicians, huge, steaming, Hastert-sized lumps of them, pass the buck faster than Foley snapping one off in between votes on the House floor.
Enquiring minds want to know every foible and idiosyncrasy displayed by our role models, the athletes, sex tape starlets and rap-thugs, or so the mainstream media would have you believe. Thus, every wart is dissected and disseminated far and wide until the hero pool is emptied.
But still, one could counsel the Giant, if you want dignity, be a social worker, and rest easy at night with the security that comes with serving others for minimal pay and scant applause.
The Giant, we’ve heard, isn’t totally onboard being trotted out, like a circus freak, from coast to coast, and being marveled at.
In this case, it is impossible to put myself in his shoes, because I am within the bounds of normalcy in every way, shape and form I can think of. I don’t know what it’s like to be gifted, or cursed, with a frame that inspires constant stares and commentary. But, allow me to argue with all due respect, that if indeed the Giant has at times felt disrespected by King and all his men who have unveiled the man as a curio from coast to coast, who have presented the freak of nature to Donald Trump, and heads of state at the UN, then perhaps the Giant should backtrack, and consider how he got to this place.
Nikolay Valuev will be fighting for a generous payday on Saturday evening at the Allstate Arena in Illinois, against a mediocre opponent who can charitably be described as a competent journeyman to this point in his career. The Giant is the possessor of acceptable technical skills as a boxer; Sports Illustrated termed his skills “rudimentary,” though I’d rate them at a step above that. Were he not gifted, or cursed, with a deviant chromosomal foundation, I offer, the Giant would not be blessed with the opportunity to accrue a healthy nest egg for his wife and child.
Were he not gifted, or cursed, with that fascinating face, it is quite likely that his skills, which have certainly grown at a commendable rate, and will not be derided in this commentary, would have been deemed too ordinary for further exploration, or exploitation.
The search for dignity in boxing isn’t like searching for Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. The search is by no means fruitless, not when you interpret the definition of the word as I choose to.
I see great dignity in engaging in a deathsport to feed your family, as so many of those noble warriors have through the ages. That word isn’t often enough associated with the sport because the combatants are half naked as they trade blows, a site that some would dismiss as pornographic savagery.
And of course, the myriad judging debacles, ear-chomping episodes and victims of Pugilistic Parkinson’s don’t cloak the sweet science in an aura of dignity.
But to hype a fight, to put fannies in seats, dignity is diminished to the size of Dick Cheney’s heart. Dignity is out of the picture, unless the picture includes Paris with her butt cheeks peeking out of her dress.
It isn’t easy to cut through Americans shock-proof sensibilities, benumbed by a steady diet of porn, religious fanaticism and high fructose corn syrup. So if the Giant expected Don King to sell his fight with Monte Barrett by traditional means, without employing some of his trademark hyperbolic histrionics, then he is surely guilty of self-delusion, or he wasn’t aware of who he signed on with, and is guilty of owning woeful detective skills.
To the Giant, if the rumors are true, and your feelings have been hurt by the effort to introduce you to our citizens, who are endlessly entranced by all things oversized, I counsel you to embrace the process. And instead of interpreting those moments that make you cringe as indignities, view them as necessary means to the desired end — that being, a career that brings you enough money to support your family in the fashion it deserves when a breadwinner engages in combat to entertain the masses.
Short and to the point, Giant, if the respectable level of coordination you possess were merely contained in a 6-3, 220-pound body, you would not be standing across the ring from Monte Barrett on Saturday night, defending the WBA heavyweight title. You are where you are partially as a result of your hard work, yes, but primarily because of your freakish enormity.
Embrace the freakish enormity, Giant, and laugh freely and loudly as you haul a freakishly enormous pile of cash to the bank.