Last night’s (actually, the event happened on the 8th, but for me, it really happened last night) Hatton/Mayweather fight was more than a bit strange. I watched it with one of my best friends, (one of my other best friends is planning a wedding, so he has been out of pocket ever since, and is turning into a bit of a pussy about it) who had it on his mind to read the back of the Jack Daniels label on his 1.75 litre bottle. (I love him like a brother, but his running commentary was a bit of a distraction, and, by the way, never let someone who is that shit-faced control the TIVO, there is only so many times that re-winding the shot of a brutal head blow and exclaiming BAM! is necessary) Ok, now that I’ve dogged my two best male friends, I guess I’ll get back to my point.
Here it is: Aunt B needs to watch this fight. Why, you ask? Because she shook her curly mop of a head at me for saying boxing is a sport. You can read it if you care to look at the comments on a previous thread. She feels that any contest that requires two people to punch each other in the head cannot be called a sport. I suppose you could call it a marriage, but I digress. Anyway, the fight was a perfect example to anyone that wasn’t raised in a hermetically sealed tube of why boxing is a sport. Now, I have been in and witnessed many playground/bar fights. Almost without exception, this is what happens: Someone throws the first punch. The other person then finds a way to get in a “clinch” and then its a matter of who uses their weight better and gains a tactical advantage that allows them to repeatedly punch their opponent in the head with little risk of receiving one back. Only boxers and Jason Bourne deliver effective body blows. Eventually, the fight is broken up, or one guy realizes he’s outmatched and escapes. I have never done this.
In those circumstances, Ricky Hatton wins every time. This is a scrappy little dude from a Belfast ghetto where I assume broken noses are a right of passage. Hit him, and he’ll bleed, but he’s going to keep at you until you quit or become unconscious. He is what is referred to as a brawler. Last night he tried to overpower Mayweather and paid dearly. You know why, Aunt B? Because Mayweather is a BOXER. Hatton came out charging after him and swinging. At first, Mayweather employed street tactics, that is, he’d let him in, then wrap him up and hang on. Only, in boxing, the ref will not let you do that. He steps in, and seperates and admonishes the fighters to BOX. Around the 7th round, this is what Mayweather in fact did. He moved his feet, stayed away from Hatton, and peppered his face with lightning fast jabs. I counted at least 6 times that he snapped Hatton’s head back and then glided away. The coup de grace was a vicious blow delivered as Hatton advanced wildly toward him, and it knocked him unconscious. Yes, he got up for a minute afterward, but he was asleep on his feet. Before he could be killed, the ref stepped in, and stopped the fight. Hatton wasn’t beaten by one punch. Sure, the 10th round cross that caught him would have killed an average man, but it was the cumulative effect of repeated blows that really did him in.
Boxers who enjoy long careers are usually cool and calculating. They will use the entire ring, and exploit weakness where they find it. The idea is to wear down your opponent with blows to the body and arms until he just drops them a little, then go North with your assault. Conditioning is crucial. Both of these guys are in super-human condition, and except for marathoners, no other athletes have less body fat. They are unbelievably quick and have the stamina of a 1970′s Ron Jeremy. If a receiver running a slant is blind-sided by a 260 lb linebacker and driven into the ground, he is usually allowed to go to the sidelines and recuperate. Except for an all too brief respite between rounds, there is no breather for boxers. If you get rocked, the best you can hope for is to cover up and wait for the bell.
Tell you what, lets just watch the fight together, then I will hand you my laptop so that you may begin your post about how you dismissed these two athletes as “showmen.” No need to apologize or anything, an admission that you were way off base should suffice.
Then explain to me why billiards, golf, and horseracing are consider sports.