Boxing is unlike any other sport in so many different ways.
The way the matches are made, not by a central body choosing a schedule a year in advance, but on the go, provides excitement and uncertainty unto itself.
And the performances…it’s really every man for himself in there.
In team sports, a line-mate or team-mate can lift you up, if you have the flu, or are hung over. In boxing, you are s— outta luck. It’s on you.
Got the flu? It’s on you.. Overimbibed last night, foolishly…it’s on you to fight through the hangover. (Or, if you were Leon Spinks, once or twice fight while getting the alcohol out of your system…Ooo la la, those 70s…)
This thought came to mind as I was chatting with Shane Mosley yesterday, as he was recalling the before, during and after of his first tangle with Oscar De La Hoya. That took place June 17, 2000, at Staples Center, and it has been 15 years.
I was still chatting with SSM after the story ran on another website, and he told me a fascinating tidbit: “My son almost got killed by a vending machine that night.”
“He had to be taken to the hospital. He was pulling on it, trying to get something out of it with his cousin. He was banged up, but nothing broken. It was right before the fight. He missed the fight. They didn’t tell me till after the fight. But I kept looking in the audience to see him, but he wasn’t there. When I found out about it, after the fight, nothing else mattered. I just wanted to get my son.”
How about that…man wins career best fight, over the Golden Boy, and is pre-occupied with another matter, that being his son being almost smushed by a vending machine and maybe having broken bones or head trauma.
“They brought him to me,” Mosley continued, drifting back and again feeling the anxiety. “I had him (living with me) since he was two. He always lived with me, not his mom, so we are close close.”
This is a dynamic that I think is important to remind ourselves of. We often critique post-fight a man’s performance, often skewing negative…but really, we shouldn’t think we know all the elements that went into a performance. It’s important, not just in covering boxing, but in living life, to acknowledge all that we don’t know. Yeah, who would have known that Mosley, during the most high-profile fight of his life, was distracted because his son wasn’t in the stands…and he knew something was up, and that nagged at him.
Boxing, a sport unlike any other.
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