Of Boxing, Fathers, And Sons, And An 'Adults Only' Trip To Barclays

BY Eric Gelsinger ON August 11, 2014
PDFPrintE-mail

Barclays-centerI attended Saturday Night’s Golden Boy fight card with my dad, who drove from Buffalo to Brooklyn for the occasion.

If baseball is America’s communion ground for fathers and young sons, why shouldn’t boxing be similarly sanctified for adult sons bonding with their retired fathers? The Sweet Science is, if nothing else, America’s most “adult” sport. And perhaps overlooked in boxing’s much-ballyhooed decline is its fundamental failure to appeal to children in a culture where everything “is for the children” and where the phrase “Adults Only” seems relic of a barbarian past. Yes, heaven forbid adults be granted their pastimes and pleasures without guilt and apology.

So rather than walking hand in hand around Yankee Stadium, where the bright sunlight and emerald grass advertise ready-made virtue, my dad and I walked beer-to-beer in the concrete tunnels of the Barclays, where reeking floors and scantily-clad dates advertised the vices of old. Along for the ride was my younger brother, Pop’s son from another marriage. Sixteen years my junior, it meant three generations were represented. And as if we were three geological layers tracing the extinction of a sport, my dad knew everything about boxing, I knew a middling amount, and my little brother knew nothing. But we were all along for the ride.

We didn’t expect it to be a very good ride. As everyone knew, this Golden Boy card served no purpose other than to drum up interest in a future “superfight” between WBA/WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia and IBF light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson. In tonight’s separate contests, both men would make easy work of their unranked opponents, and fans watching live and on Showtime were paying to watch champs chomp on chumps in tune-ups for a unification bout. So lopsided were the matchups, that when the card was announced, ESPN’s Teddy Atlas fumed that the sport he loves has “no respect, no credibility” because Salka was not a top-15 contender (he wasn’t even top-50) and the WBA was therefore violating its own rules by sanctioning Garcia’s title defense (in the end, the WBA and WBC reversed course and did not sanction the bout). Many speculated the best fight of the night might be the under-under-card battle between Daniel Jacobs (27-1, 24 KO’s) and Jarrod Fletcher (18-1, 10 KO’s) for the vacant WBA middleweight title. Yet even there, Fletcher was considered a heavy underdog.

But as my father said, “I’m used to watching crap boxing. I just want to spend time with my sons,” and so exhibited the kind of philosophical attitude that behooves a boxing fan as he walks through valley of his sport: through madness and folly and vexation of spirit. Completing the profile, dad admitted to the pitiable optimism which sustains us when he went on to say, “And you never know. When two guys are throwing leather strange things can happen,” but swiftly mocked his own naiveté, "and hey –if they don’t –we’ll still get drunk.” That’s the fight fan for you: he’s a sucker, but he knows he’s a sucker, and that’s wisdom that rivals anything in Ecclesiastes. It’s something I love about our sport: baseball fans are statisticians, but fight fans are philosophers.

Thanks to that philosophy, we were able to enjoy our evening of farce. The crowd still had its characters with their signature cheers. The red-white-blue ring was still beautiful under the lights. And as in a Bellows painting, the crowd still rose, roared, and threw uppercuts at the air when a KO was near. As for what happened in the ring? Edgar Santana at least demonstrated heartbreaking toughness as he endured at age 35 the most sustained bodywork I had ever seen. By Round 5 the crowd winced and groaned as one at every Lamont Peterson left hook to the liver. When Santana gamely came out round after brutal round, we nodded solemnly at his resolve; his hopeless beating was for us a meditation on matters profound. And maybe because I’ve never been much good at meditation, I was relieved when his corner tossed the towel in the 10th.

About the other “fights,” there’s even less to say. Brooklyn native Jacobs outclassed the Aussie Fletcher, whose feet moved too much and whose head didn’t move enough: faults that might have been less noticeable had he been able to punch. Fittingly enough, the main event was the worst of the bunch, as Danny Garcia turned Rod Salka into a slapstick punch-line. Aaron Lowinger suggested to me that maybe Garcia’s camp simply wanted a highlight knockout to put on Youtube. Well, they got it –congratulations. But they might as well have set Garcia up against any average joe with the discipline to hit the gym 5 days a week. I saw myself in Salka: that would be me, if I trained as hard as I could for six months. That would be me, or any of us, if pitted against a truly elite athlete. It’s a humbling reminder that we should not –as Salka did one second before his lights got knocked out –beat our own chests too fiercely.

For me, the real story of the night was about fathers and sons. It was fitting to attend the show with my dad because fatherhood is a theme that runs through so many boxers’ stories, and tonight’s contestants were no exception. Lamont Peterson famously grew up parentless. Rod Salka Sr. works as a cornerman for his son. But the biggest story of the night was arguably the relationship between Danny “Swift” Garcia and his father, Angel, who works as his son’s trainer and adviser. Although Garcia’s manager Al Haymon bears most of the blame for this laughable card, Angel Garcia ostensibly played a key role as well. If Angel wields the kind of influence he boasts, he should have vetoed the fight as soon as Haymon proposed it.

The father-son bond is stronger in boxing than in any other sport, although many top fighters have had to loosen the tie as they matured. Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roy Jones Jr., Sugar Shane Mosely are just three fighters who famously fired their fathers as trainers. As for Danny Garcia, he already had a reputation of being one of the most protected fighters in the game, and simply by agreeing to this card he’d lost more than he could ever hope to win against Salka in the ring. Danny Garcia is lucky to be in one of the most interesting weight classes in all boxing. This isn’t a case of an unbeaten hero unable to shine for lack of worthy opponents. But, Angel seems to have taken to heart the good doctor Sigmund Freud when he said, “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.”

Judging by the thin and cynical Barclays crowd and by the jeering comments which overwhelm any Danny Garcia internet thread, the story of Danny Garcia at present is not the kind of tale dad read to you in your childhood. It’s not the story of a fearless hero who faced impossible challenges because he had the heart of a champion. No, it is the kind of story dad tells you now, as an adult: about a world that goes from bad to worse: Aetas parentum, pejor avis, tulit nos nequiores mox daturos progeniem visiosiorem (the generation of our parents, worse than that of our grandparents, has created us worse again and destined soon to bring forth yet more vicious progeny.) It’s a story dads have been telling sons since the beginning of time. But in the case of Danny Garcia, it comes with a unique twist of tragedy. Because it’s not his father reading the story, it’s his father helping to write it.

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Comment on this article

The Commish says:

Great piece. Got me thinking about my dad down in Florida. He used to love sitting at ringside on headset when I announced a fight.

I am sure a bunch of you guys have super memories of you and pop at a fight.

-Randy G.

deepwater2 says:

I remember when I started boxing, I hid it from my family.I told them I went to the pal for wrestling . My family was well to do and when I first mentioned it to my mom she cut it down right off the bat. My dad went to Fordham law, was a top guy in Wall St and involved in politics. My mom told me no way and don't tell my dad. I mentioned it to my dad I was thinking about entering the Gloves and he told me the jab is the most important punch and he can't wait to see me in the ring. He was so proud. He showed me combos. What a surprise . After that I heard all the stories of uncles and cousins boxing in Ireland and Lefrak city queens NY . My dad was a smart man and a tough man that never backed away from an argument or the bar. Boxing brings dads and sons together.

mortcola says:

“Captain” of the boxing club at a small, formerly girls only liberal arts college; visits t and from Floyd Patterson’s gym, our trainer’s friend, for sparring and some real three rounders; “townies” who wouodl come down to punch some college kids and go home bleeding from repeated combos from a philosophy major; then my father visits and he and Tony, my trainer, have this big talk about how he could make a money-making middleweight if only I wasn’t destined for “better” things; my father, who taught college sociology, looked like Wallace Shawn (Vizzini in The Princess Bride) but tore through several local gang-bangers when he was in his fifties - poor Jewish kid in the depression grew up worshipping Benny Leonard - told Tony to get as much from me as I was willing to give. I lasted three more years, never got the wind I needed to last, and watched boxing on TV with Dad until he died - and then at 45 I started again. And it was the Commish who trained me my first day in the gym, and introduced me to the great ref Wayne Kelly, who became my training partner and best bud at the end of his life (burgers and beer the Saturday before he died); he was a heroic, politically liberal soldier like my Dad, and like my Dad, told me I fought too well to be a doctor, and made me promise to win the masters, which he said I would do easily if I got the lungs right. And I’m still futzing around and not quite putting it out there the way I would need. I’m not religious, but every day I have my father and Wayne Kelly - who have become friends in the afterlife I don’t believe in - reminding me to get off my a-- and train harder. And next week Wayne’s son comes down to spar with me so I can re-learn how to fight a southpaw. Maybe I get there, maybe I disappoint. But I will be in and around boxing till I die, like it was the source of heroism, discipline, and getting your ego out of the way in my Dad’s view of life. Oh yeah - plenty of tough girl-boxers still on the scene. Warriors come in all shapes.

mortcola says:

“Captain” of the boxing club at a small, formerly girls only liberal arts college; visits t and from Floyd Patterson’s gym, our trainer’s friend, for sparring and some real three rounders; “townies” who wouodl come down to punch some college kids and go home bleeding from repeated combos from a philosophy major; then my father visits and he and Tony, my trainer, have this big talk about how he could make a money-making middleweight if only I wasn’t destined for “better” things; my father, who taught college sociology, looked like Wallace Shawn (Vizzini in The Princess Bride) but tore through several local gang-bangers when he was in his fifties - poor Jewish kid in the depression grew up worshipping Benny Leonard - told Tony to get as much from me as I was willing to give. I lasted three more years, never got the wind I needed to last, and watched boxing on TV with Dad until he died - and then at 45 I started again. And it was the Commish who trained me my first day in the gym, and introduced me to the great ref Wayne Kelly, who became my training partner and best bud at the end of his life (burgers and beer the Saturday before he died); he was a heroic, politically liberal soldier like my Dad, and like my Dad, told me I fought too well to be a doctor, and made me promise to win the masters, which he said I would do easily if I got the lungs right. And I’m still futzing around and not quite putting it out there the way I would need. I’m not religious, but every day I have my father and Wayne Kelly - who have become friends in the afterlife I don’t believe in - reminding me to get off my a-- and train harder. And next week Wayne’s son comes down to spar with me so I can re-learn how to fight a southpaw. Maybe I get there, maybe I disappoint. But I will be in and around boxing till I die, like it was the source of heroism, discipline, and getting your ego out of the way in my Dad’s view of life. Oh yeah - plenty of tough girl-boxers still on the scene. Warriors come in all shapes.

amayseng says:

My earliest memory of my life is sitting on my dad's lap watching boxing..
We watched together until he was no longer here.
D2 is correct, boxing brings dads and sons together, it bonds our souls in a way.

brownsugar says:

My dad fought for a while...said he quit because he didn't like getting hit in the face. In his neighborhood on the southside of Columbus there was a 100% participation in the sport. Everybody boxed... it was expected

Im hoping to make the Adrian Broner fight in neighboring Cincinnati. If I go I will take my grandson who moved in a year ago. He would enjoy the trip.....Although At 13 years old he now hates boxing but never misses a Mayweather fight in the hopes he will see him lose. Hes not convinced Floyds "Money May" routine is just an act.

Great story and comments.

oubobcat says:

In Cleveland, there unfortunately was not a lot of professional boxing events. So if ever wanted to attend something live, well it'd have to be a lengthy road trip.

For my first live light, I drove with my dad 12 hours to Foxwoods in Connecticut for a card featuring Ike Quartey-Jose Luis Lopez and Pernell Whitaker as the co-feature. He wanted to do something for me big before I graduated high school. Of course, the first fight is always memorable and that road long trip with my dad and experience is something I'll never forget.

The Shadow says:

I don't mean to be a buzzkill here but I have a story to share myself... (This is a bit long so skip ahead of time if you wish.)

Back in 2001, Tyson -- after many false starts -- finally committed to coming to Denmark to face Danish Olympic bronze medalist and heavyweight contender Brian Nielsen.

Tickets were crazy! I mean, crazy! Like $2000 for a ticket.

I had just returned to Denmark a few months prior after living in America for a bit.

My brother and I -- who were the same age -- played on the same soccer team. The boys talked about how he was going to get it on PPV, invited the whole team over and was basically the sh*t!

When Tyson fought Holyfield in the rematch, my brother had sat in my room on a mattress watching with me. We couldn't believe what had happened!

Never in our wildest imagination did we ever think we would get to see Tyson fight, let alone live.

So he went home -- at the time, he was much bolder than I -- and asked my cheap dad if we could go.

Shockingly, he said yes! He got us $1000 tix, one each.

I couldn't believe it!

We were to take the three hour train ride to Copenhagen for the fight, come right back and play a game the following morning.

***

Back in 1996, my father, my brother, his evil mother and I went to a card in a town called Vejle. This is coincidentally the same town and same year Wladimir Klitschko placed 2nd in the European amateur championships.

Me, a frail, shy, non-confrontational little boy always had been fascinated with boxing.

After having gone without my father for much of my childhood, I finally moved with my dad about six months before (my father is a white businessman; I grew up in the projects with my black grandmother).

Having grown up in a dysfunctional neighborhood environment, I thought everything was more the law of the jungle. We would always talk about who could kick who's behind.

So on my first day in school, I brought boxing gloves and challenged anyone to a fight.

Perhaps this was my fascination with boxing? I don't know. I just know that as a little boy I would go to the library, study all kinds of news reports, read about Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali all day long.

Shortly after Nielsen captured Olympic bronze in 1992, it had become a family tradition of sorts in Danish households to watch Nielsen beat some jabroni every other Friday.

Having never watched a fight live, Oct. 18, 1996 was our first boxing card. (I looked the date up on Boxrec. I don't remember that sh*t LOL)

Back then, the one thing we always noticed was that the Danish fighters always won! Why was that?

"Wow," we thought. "Danish fighters must be good!"

This was the eve of the last fight, I believe, of some guy named Jimmi Bredahl, a former 130 pound WBO champion.

Some of you may remember him dropping what was then the fringest of belts in the UBF tier to rising star Oscar De La Hoya.

He lost to some schmuck and then gave some interview in the ring after. "He really sucks," I said. "Why is he crying like a wimp?"

The fight made me sleepy. So my brother said, "lie down if you're tired."

So I rested in his lap while he put his arm over me.

Then he woke me up.

"Look, that's Super Brian!" referring to Nielsen's moniker.

We ran down to get his autograph.

Little did he know that this 12-year-old kid, whose ticket he signed, would later crash his comeback press conference to announce his return vs. Evander Holyfield.

Little did he know, that he would prompt this 12-year-old kid to write his first boxing article after Nielsen -- on national TV with all kinds of cameras in his face -- when he said he could "slap the n***** off my face."

Ah, the memories. Thanks, Brian.

***

Fast forward back to 2001.

I had just returned to Denmark.

But while I was in America, my brother had called me.

"We just went to see Brian fight," he said. Promoter Mogens Palle had staged a card in the town we lived in, coincidentally where my now-superstar nephew launched his soccer career.

My father, my brother and brother-in-law had gone to catch it.

"This flabby dude jumped down. It was a fix. What the f***? He just tapped him and the dude went down."

Later, an investigation was launched for match fixing with Mogens Palle.

If you look on YouTube, there are several mysterious matches involving "Super Brian," including one I implore you all to watch if you get the time vs. Jeremy Williams.

So when Tyson announced his next fight in Copenhagen, this was our chance to watch another fight together.

Unfortunately, it was never to be.

***

One Thursday in September, he came home to get me while I was watching reruns of an unseeded Goran Ivanisevic finally winning the Wimbledon.

(Once I came back from the US, I had happily discovered that his evil mother and my father had separated and he stayed with both her and us.)

He insisted that I should come to soccer practice. I never really wanted to go but he would always get me.

One of our close friends from down the block's brother had died the day before. Hung himself by accident to spite a girlfriend who had threatened to leave him.

On the way to soccer practice, we kept talking about how our friend must have felt.

It didn't take long to find out.

After a tough practice, we were getting ready for scrimmage play -- the simulated-game soccer equivalent of sparring.

As the teams are being divided, we're again discussing the tragedy of our friend. We promised each other to go right over to him after practice.

In the middle of our conversation, he says to me, "I feel bad."

Much like someone with a severe case of nausea, he bends over, covers his face as his hands and knuckles pierce the grass.

And with that, he was gone.

A few days later in the local funeral home, I saw two caskets with two boys, 15 and 17.

One with our friend. And one with my brother.

***

A month later, we have the tickets.

My father and I had never done anything together, just he and I. I missed him when I was a kid.

When I moved in with him at 12, his wife had left the house. (I guess because I was moving in.) I figured, "finally!"

He still continued to see her and she eventually moved back. So I had to share him with others. I hated it.

So at 17, I had finally gotten my wish. But at what cost?

Nevertheless, we were to make the best of it.

Iron Mike! Finally! The guy we sat up all night to watch!

Only two things concerned us about the fight:

1) Would Tyson cancel last minute?

2) Would it last more than a minute?

We had decent tickets. Iron Mike come out to 2Pac's "Ambitionz As A Ridah" and I freakin' lost it!

Not only did it last more than a minute, we got to see Tyson for a full six rounds! And one thing that stuck out to me that very day: Tyson was a boxer not an animal.

Using head movement, jabs and a brutal attack, the faded Tyson -- to me, anyway -- proved he was more than a slugger.

As an added bonus, we got to see Ray Mercer get hurt and laster blast a guy out in an incredibly entertaining match.

We saw Joe Calzaghe, who we read about in the pre-fight program ("Dad, who the hell is he?"), defend his title.

Future WBA bantamweight champion Johnny Bredahl, Carlos Baldomir, Mikkel Kessler. Even an appearance from Ludwig Borga, the WWF villain who would always strike guys with liver shots.

An understandably antsy father of mine was anxious to leave after the Tyson fight. It was now around 1 am and I had a game the next day and I was going to wear my brother's jersey (No. 3), who had been our leading goal scorer.

"******," my dad yelled at me. "Hurry up! We're going to miss the train!"

Running from the stadium towards the station to catch the last train, we managed to catch a cab, arrive at the station, jump on the platform and just by a hair make it before the doors slammed behind us.

Much like I had that day in Vejle, I fell asleep resting on my father who then held me, tightly.

"We will always have each other, kid."

That's the story of my first and only boxing card with my father.

***

POST SCRIPTUM:

Years later, a Sunday morning on my 28th birthday in Miami, I was reunited with three of my friends who I hadn't seen regularly since the day we all saw my brother leave.

They knocked on my door that morning singing "Happy Birthday" to me in Danish.

A hot mama with some Shadow fever had set up a breakfast with cake and my father called.

"Happy birthday, kid!" he said.

"Thank you! Guess who's here with me!"

My father had helped train them since they were little toddlers.

"We're going to Wrestlemania!"

My friends had then arranged for a stretch limo to pick us up and take us to the stadium for another event I -- or any of my friends -- never dreamed we would ever attend.

We used to trade VHS tapes after practice. Now we were getting ready to go live.

"I never quite got you," my father said, laughing. "You're the most non-violent person I've ever met, yet you love wrestling and boxing so much."

I don't really get it either.

brownsugar says:

I don't mean to be a buzzkill here but I have a story to share myself... (This is a bit long so skip ahead of time if you wish.)

Back in 2001, Tyson -- after many false starts -- finally committed to coming to Denmark to face Danish Olympic bronze medalist and heavyweight contender Brian Nielsen.

Tickets were crazy! I mean, crazy! Like $2000 for a ticket.

I had just returned to Denmark a few months prior after living in America for a bit.

My brother and I -- who were the same age -- played on the same soccer team. The boys talked about how he was going to get it on PPV, invited the whole team over and was basically the sh*t!

When Tyson fought Holyfield in the rematch, my brother had sat in my room on a mattress watching with me. We couldn't believe what had happened!

Never in our wildest imagination did we ever think we would get to see Tyson fight, let alone live.

So he went home -- at the time, he was much bolder than I -- and asked my cheap dad if we could go.

Shockingly, he said yes! He got us $1000 tix, one each.

I couldn't believe it!

We were to take the three hour train ride to Copenhagen for the fight, come right back and play a game the following morning.

***

Back in 1996, my father, my brother, his evil mother and I went to a card in a town called Vejle. This is coincidentally the same town and same year Wladimir Klitschko placed 2nd in the European amateur championships.

Me, a frail, shy, non-confrontational little boy always had been fascinated with boxing.

After having gone without my father for much of my childhood, I finally moved with my dad about six months before (my father is a white businessman; I grew up in the projects with my black grandmother).

Having grown up in a dysfunctional neighborhood environment, I thought everything was more the law of the jungle. We would always talk about who could kick who's behind.

So on my first day in school, I brought boxing gloves and challenged anyone to a fight.

Perhaps this was my fascination with boxing? I don't know. I just know that as a little boy I would go to the library, study all kinds of news reports, read about Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali all day long.

Shortly after Nielsen captured Olympic bronze in 1992, it had become a family tradition of sorts in Danish households to watch Nielsen beat some jabroni every other Friday.

Having never watched a fight live, Oct. 18, 1996 was our first boxing card. (I looked the date up on Boxrec. I don't remember that sh*t LOL)

Back then, the one thing we always noticed was that the Danish fighters always won! Why was that?

"Wow," we thought. "Danish fighters must be good!"

This was the eve of the last fight, I believe, of some guy named Jimmi Bredahl, a former 130 pound WBO champion.

Some of you may remember him dropping what was then the fringest of belts in the UBF tier to rising star Oscar De La Hoya.

He lost to some schmuck and then gave some interview in the ring after. "He really sucks," I said. "Why is he crying like a wimp?"

The fight made me sleepy. So my brother said, "lie down if you're tired."

So I rested in his lap while he put his arm over me.

Then he woke me up.

"Look, that's Super Brian!" referring to Nielsen's moniker.

We ran down to get his autograph.

Little did he know that this 12-year-old kid, whose ticket he signed, would later crash his comeback press conference to announce his return vs. Evander Holyfield.

Little did he know, that he would prompt this 12-year-old kid to write his first boxing article after Nielsen -- on national TV with all kinds of cameras in his face -- when he said he could "slap the n***** off my face."

Ah, the memories. Thanks, Brian.

***

Fast forward back to 2001.

I had just returned to Denmark.

But while I was in America, my brother had called me.

"We just went to see Brian fight," he said. Promoter Mogens Palle had staged a card in the town we lived in, coincidentally where my now-superstar nephew launched his soccer career.

My father, my brother and brother-in-law had gone to catch it.

"This flabby dude jumped down. It was a fix. What the f***? He just tapped him and the dude went down."

Later, an investigation was launched for match fixing with Mogens Palle.

If you look on YouTube, there are several mysterious matches involving "Super Brian," including one I implore you all to watch if you get the time vs. Jeremy Williams.

So when Tyson announced his next fight in Copenhagen, this was our chance to watch another fight together.

Unfortunately, it was never to be.

***

One Thursday in September, he came home to get me while I was watching reruns of an unseeded Goran Ivanisevic finally winning the Wimbledon.

(Once I came back from the US, I had happily discovered that his evil mother and my father had separated and he stayed with both her and us.)

He insisted that I should come to soccer practice. I never really wanted to go but he would always get me.

One of our close friends from down the block's brother had died the day before. Hung himself by accident to spite a girlfriend who had threatened to leave him.

On the way to soccer practice, we kept talking about how our friend must have felt.

It didn't take long to find out.

After a tough practice, we were getting ready for scrimmage play -- the simulated-game soccer equivalent of sparring.

As the teams are being divided, we're again discussing the tragedy of our friend. We promised each other to go right over to him after practice.

In the middle of our conversation, he says to me, "I feel bad."

Much like someone with a severe case of nausea, he bends over, covers his face as his hands and knuckles pierce the grass.

And with that, he was gone.

A few days later in the local funeral home, I saw two caskets with two boys, 15 and 17.

One with our friend. And one with my brother.

***

A month later, we have the tickets.

My father and I had never done anything together, just he and I. I missed him when I was a kid.

When I moved in with him at 12, his wife had left the house. (I guess because I was moving in.) I figured, "finally!"

He still continued to see her and she eventually moved back. So I had to share him with others. I hated it.

So at 17, I had finally gotten my wish. But at what cost?

Nevertheless, we were to make the best of it.

Iron Mike! Finally! The guy we sat up all night to watch!

Only two things concerned us about the fight:

1) Would Tyson cancel last minute?

2) Would it last more than a minute?

We had decent tickets. Iron Mike come out to 2Pac's "Ambitionz As A Ridah" and I freakin' lost it!

Not only did it last more than a minute, we got to see Tyson for a full six rounds! And one thing that stuck out to me that very day: Tyson was a boxer not an animal.

Using head movement, jabs and a brutal attack, the faded Tyson -- to me, anyway -- proved he was more than a slugger.

As an added bonus, we got to see Ray Mercer get hurt and laster blast a guy out in an incredibly entertaining match.

We saw Joe Calzaghe, who we read about in the pre-fight program ("Dad, who the hell is he?"), defend his title.

Future WBA bantamweight champion Johnny Bredahl, Carlos Baldomir, Mikkel Kessler. Even an appearance from Ludwig Borga, the WWF villain who would always strike guys with liver shots.

An understandably antsy father of mine was anxious to leave after the Tyson fight. It was now around 1 am and I had a game the next day and I was going to wear my brother's jersey (No. 3), who had been our leading goal scorer.

"******," my dad yelled at me. "Hurry up! We're going to miss the train!"

Running from the stadium towards the station to catch the last train, we managed to catch a cab, arrive at the station, jump on the platform and just by a hair make it before the doors slammed behind us.

Much like I had that day in Vejle, I fell asleep resting on my father who then held me, tightly.

"We will always have each other, kid."

That's the story of my first and only boxing card with my father.

***

POST SCRIPTUM:

Years later, a Sunday morning on my 28th birthday in Miami, I was reunited with three of my friends who I hadn't seen regularly since the day we all saw my brother leave.

They knocked on my door that morning singing "Happy Birthday" to me in Danish.

A hot mama with some Shadow fever had set up a breakfast with cake and my father called.

"Happy birthday, kid!" he said.

"Thank you! Guess who's here with me!"

My father had helped train them since they were little toddlers.

"We're going to Wrestlemania!"

My friends had then arranged for a stretch limo to pick us up and take us to the stadium for another event I -- or any of my friends -- never dreamed we would ever attend.

We used to trade VHS tapes after practice. Now we were getting ready to go live.

"I never quite got you," my father said, laughing. "You're the most non-violent person I've ever met, yet you love wrestling and boxing so much."

I don't really get it either.



Sorry about your brother...i lost 2 of my little brothers at a younger age and its something you never forget... One died of medical reasons and the other one was killed by a bullet.

In my opinion violence... Although it is part of the sport, violence is only a small element of boxing because its a sport based on skill.

Although there are some exceptions, most fighters i've met treat boxing as a sport like any other...and not primarily as an outlet to vent violent tendancies. Even if that was the reason they started boxing in the first place.

Although the desire to win ... in the most impressive manner just happens to be a violent process. I dont think a person has to be a Mad Dog personality to become smitten with the sport.
Its a sport with many contradictions.

Interesting story.

The Shadow says:

Sorry about your brother...i lost 2 of my little brothers at a younger age and its something you never forget... One died of medical reasons and the other one was killed by a bullet.

In my opinion violence... Although it is part of the sport, violence is only a small element of boxing because its a sport based on skill.

Although there are some exceptions, most fighters i've met treat boxing as a sport like any other...and not primarily as an outlet to vent violent tendancies. Even if that was the reason they started boxing in the first place.

Although the desire to win ... in the most impressive manner just happens to be a violent process. I dont think a person has to be a Mad Dog personality to become smitten with the sport.
Its a sport with many contradictions.

Interesting story.


Wow, I'm sorry to hear that, Suge. Ugh, violence. One thing is when it's your time. My teacher said something to me that always stuck with me and removed any kind of trauma it could have.

"You wouldn't want a better way to go. Than doing what you love." And it's true.

But violence? Man...

That's why it bothers me so much with Zimmerman just killing a teenager. It's not fair.

And yes, it's very fascinating. All these juxtapositions. (Thanks for reading my long arse post!) Wasn't trying to be sentimental or get cheap sympathy but it was indeed the story of how my father and I went to boxing together.

I think you're right -- all kinds of people partake in boxing. And violent people -- or people who approach boxing recklessly -- tend to get hurt.

It's a thinking man's game.

MCM says:

It's great to read all these heart-felt comments; it's so apart from the typical comment thread fare.

For me, boxing will always be a transformative experience the way that ancient theater was reputed to be. I grew up in a squeaky-clean suburban house of Tupperware Parties and PG-13 movies, but whenever there was a big fight, everything would change. My dad would invite the neighborhood over to enjoy his "free" pay-per-view, and about half a dozen neighbors would arrive. I knew them all as fathers of my or my sister's friends, but on those nights they appeared to me in an unfamiliar light. They swore, they drank: they weren't fathers, they were some other kind of characters --they were men.

My mom would go upstairs, my little sister was already upstairs fast asleep, and the smell of beer and liquor, otherwise alien to me, filled the house (I'll forever associate the smell of beer with boxing). Some of the men, my father included, would even smoke cigarettes and cigars with the door open to the back porch, and that's another association of smells that will never be broken.

The world always seemed to transform around those fights, and I got my first taste of the nocturnal life staying up to watch Hagler vs Hearns and Tyson vs Spinks among men speaking a night-time language and engaging in night-time rites.

Nearly 30 years after Hagler vs Hearns, I finally got to attend my first live fight with my dad, who introduced me to that changed world when the women are asleep. It was a great night in spite of the fights, and I'm grateful to be able to share it among others who can relate.

EG

amayseng says:

Wow, I'm sorry to hear that, Suge. Ugh, violence. One thing is when it's your time. My teacher said something to me that always stuck with me and removed any kind of trauma it could have.

"You wouldn't want a better way to go. Than doing what you love." And it's true.

But violence? Man...

That's why it bothers me so much with Zimmerman just killing a teenager. It's not fair.

And yes, it's very fascinating. All these juxtapositions. (Thanks for reading my long arse post!) Wasn't trying to be sentimental or get cheap sympathy but it was indeed the story of how my father and I went to boxing together.

I think you're right -- all kinds of people partake in boxing. And violent people -- or people who approach boxing recklessly -- tend to get hurt.

It's a thinking man's game.


It was a great story and needed to be told. It is how you and your father bonded through boxing during a difficult time.

amayseng says:

It's great to read all these heart-felt comments; it's so apart from the typical comment thread fare.

For me, boxing will always be a transformative experience the way that ancient theater was reputed to be. I grew up in a squeaky-clean suburban house of Tupperware Parties and PG-13 movies, but whenever there was a big fight, everything would change. My dad would invite the neighborhood over to enjoy his "free" pay-per-view, and about half a dozen neighbors would arrive. I knew them all as fathers of my or my sister's friends, but on those nights they appeared to me in an unfamiliar light. They swore, they drank: they weren't fathers, they were some other kind of characters --they were men.

My mom would go upstairs, my little sister was already upstairs fast asleep, and the smell of beer and liquor, otherwise alien to me, filled the house (I'll forever associate the smell of beer with boxing). Some of the men, my father included, would even smoke cigarettes and cigars with the door open to the back porch, and that's another association of smells that will never be broken.

The world always seemed to transform around those fights, and I got my first taste of the nocturnal life staying up to watch Hagler vs Hearns and Tyson vs Spinks among men speaking a night-time language and engaging in night-time rites.

Nearly 30 years after Hagler vs Hearns, I finally got to attend my first live fight with my dad, who introduced me to that changed world when the women are asleep. It was a great night in spite of the fights, and I'm grateful to be able to share it among others who can relate.

EG


Great story and welcome to TSS MCM.

amayseng says:

It's great to read all these heart-felt comments; it's so apart from the typical comment thread fare.

For me, boxing will always be a transformative experience the way that ancient theater was reputed to be. I grew up in a squeaky-clean suburban house of Tupperware Parties and PG-13 movies, but whenever there was a big fight, everything would change. My dad would invite the neighborhood over to enjoy his "free" pay-per-view, and about half a dozen neighbors would arrive. I knew them all as fathers of my or my sister's friends, but on those nights they appeared to me in an unfamiliar light. They swore, they drank: they weren't fathers, they were some other kind of characters --they were men.

My mom would go upstairs, my little sister was already upstairs fast asleep, and the smell of beer and liquor, otherwise alien to me, filled the house (I'll forever associate the smell of beer with boxing). Some of the men, my father included, would even smoke cigarettes and cigars with the door open to the back porch, and that's another association of smells that will never be broken.

The world always seemed to transform around those fights, and I got my first taste of the nocturnal life staying up to watch Hagler vs Hearns and Tyson vs Spinks among men speaking a night-time language and engaging in night-time rites.

Nearly 30 years after Hagler vs Hearns, I finally got to attend my first live fight with my dad, who introduced me to that changed world when the women are asleep. It was a great night in spite of the fights, and I'm grateful to be able to share it among others who can relate.

EG


Great story and welcome to TSS MCM.

amayseng says:

I was lucky to grow up watching boxing with my dad since I can remember. Even more lucky that he and my son got to attend some live cards together and make some good memories. It has now been 16 months without him and boxing, although still my passion, is a bit not the same. It is difficult not to be able to watch with him anymore, talk boxing, hell even pick up the phone and call him between rounds during televised matches when we were watching them separate.
Like D2 said, fathers and sons were brought together through boxing, memories get to live forever through boxing.

Radam G says:

Wow, I'm sorry to hear that, Suge. Ugh, violence. One thing is when it's your time. My teacher said something to me that always stuck with me and removed any kind of trauma it could have.

"You wouldn't want a better way to go. Than doing what you love." And it's true.

But violence? Man...

That's why it bothers me so much with Zimmerman just killing a teenager. It's not fair.

And yes, it's very fascinating. All these juxtapositions. (Thanks for reading my long arse post!) Wasn't trying to be sentimental or get cheap sympathy but it was indeed the story of how my father and I went to boxing together.

I think you're right -- all kinds of people partake in boxing. And violent people -- or people who approach boxing recklessly -- tend to get hurt.

It's a thinking man's game.


No DOUBT! A serious super-quick thinking man game. You lose serious quicks thoughts, you go severely lame. Holla!

Latest Articles

thereportsofhisdemisehavebeengreatlyexagerrated
dangoossenslossamajorblow
thecommissionerscorneredderianwasoneofthebest
dangoossen19492014
statementfromthegoossenfamily
atributetoedderianderian
abrahamstillaroundearnswinoversmithinsolidcontest
campupdatefromrancesbarthelemy
matthewmacklinstayssharpwithwiningermany
thompsonboxingslastsummerfightcardinsocal

Latest Videos on BoxingChannel.tv

Facebook
Twitter
fight results
Subscribe to thesweetscience.com
Live Boxing Coverage
IBOFP

Who Should Floyd Mayweather fight next:

7.4%
2%
75.7%
4.7%
10.1%
Loading...