Boxing isn’t dead, wasn’t dead, will likely never be dead.
There will always, but always, be a market for watching two persons face off, battling to see the better being, physically and mentally, in that certain span of time.
But the sport is at its best when it is repped by fighters, not boxer/businessmen, which is who we saw in that ring in Las Vegas on May 2. Manny Pacquiao, he was outgunned, out-manned, possessor of an arsenal which pales in comparison to maybe the best defender to ever lace on a pair of mitts, Floyd Mayweather. A wounded wing lessened his output but on his best day, “Money” would be a too-hard climb for the Congressman at this stage of his athletic arc. Most of us were at least mildly disappointed that neither man acted like the point of the exercise was to take the other guys' head off, and not win amateur style, on points.
Back in Brooklyn, I’ve had persons coming up to me, asking me if MayPac was fixed, staged. Naw, I tell them, it merely can look like that because Floyd is on a different level, makes great fighters look like Golden Glovers. But I don’t try to dissuade them when they tell me they won’t again buy a Mayweather fight, won’t tell them, patronizingly, that they should have known what they were getting into, should have ignored the hype-y promo videos, and my own breathless dispatches of Kool Aid stained “reporting.” These people paid beyond-handsomely to watch a FIGHT, and they saw something that too often resembled a sparring session. You can argue me, and I will humbly ask if you know the definition of Stockholm Syndrome…
Everything that occurs in a ring tonight, Friday, and tomorrow, Saturday, can be seen as an antidote. My guess is that you will not be left feeling ripped off when you watch 154er Canelo Alvarez against mad bomber James Kirkland on Saturday, in Texas, and on HBO. Kirkland, he’s an INVESTOR. No, not like Floyd says he is now, I mean in PUNCHES. He wants to knock the other guys’ block off. And the majority of people attracted to the sport want to see that; sure, we here in hardcore havens appreciate skills paying the bills. But we revere instances like when Corrales and Castillo formed alchemical gold, when Gatti and Ward paired up to do a violent waltz which will live on forever, getting more YouTube hits than any “greatest hit” featuring Mayweather.
And I will be covering two fighters, two men who understand why people come to see them do their thing, in a New Jersey ring this evening. 154er Glen Tapia and 175er Seanie Monaghan told me both that they are excited to give paying customers their money’s worth this evening, on Tru TV, on a Top Rank show.
Tapia meets Frenchman Michel Soro, a solid guy, not a pushover. “I want to go in and take some chances, because I love fun fights,” the Jersey Boy told me. “I love giving the people a show, and I want them to be like, “Oh my!”
Now trained by Freddie Roach, Tapia tells me he’s less a brawler and now a brainer boxer, and that will be in evidence in his junior middleweight clash this evening.
Monaghan, he’s a guy without airs, as well. Fighter. Not a boxer/businessman. He told me he craves big fights, wants A grade foes, and will, in the meantime, keep knocking down pins, like Brazilian Cleiton Conceicao, who is probably in over his head, in NJ.
“He’s bigger, he’s fought at cruiserweight, he’s experienced, he’s a mover, can box,” the Long Islander told me.
“I have gotten so much better,” he continued. “I just want my chance.” That could come, if he keeps winning, against champ Jurgen Braehmer by the end of the year. “And if I fought like Mayweather, nobody would want to see me again,” he said, when I asked what he thought about #MayPac. He took aim at Pacman, for not bringing much to the table, more so than Floyd, for the record. And back to his task at hand…”For me, it’s do or die, I want to put on a show!”
I told Twitter I’m more pumped for this card, to see these guys, than I was for #MayPac. No BS. These guys are young, hungry, untainted by the malignancy of egregious money. They know you pay good money to see them do their thing, and they know why they are in that ring, they know legacies are made by fighting, not posturing, and message control, and clamping down on the vast chorus of dissenting voices with intimidation tactics, and with reality show antics.
Real fighters are on display tonight, and it won’t cost you $50,000, or some silly sum to watch. Enjoy.
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