Notes from the Bell Centre

For my first live fight, I lucked into a great night of boxing. I was wondering how it would stand on the "which is better, TV or live" scale of sports eg live hockey is better than hockey on TV while at the other end of the scale, live car racing sucks. Of course, that's highly subjective, and you have to take into account the quality of seats, whether you are attending the event to party, etc etc. I definitely put boxing near the "live is better" end of the spectrum.

The doors were supposed to open at 6, but a small crowd of hardcore fans was in front of the still closed doors at 6:15, so we strolled around to find a beer and a bite to eat - an Irish pub, Ye Olde Orchard, fit the bill perfectly - and got back to the arena around 7:30 as they were announcing the first decision. There was a smattering of boos at the majority decision, so I gathered that the undefeated kid struggled vs his 28-12-2 opponent.

Our seats were about 10 rows up in the corner, with the ring more or less at "center ice". So we felt sort of far from the ring, but I was surprised how easy it is to follow all the action from that distance. When St Juste knocked Green down, I was up yelling "Yes!" at the first hit. That was great, even if it was his only bright moment.

I definitely got a nicer feel for the movement of the fighters around the ring. On TV, the camera angle always switches around. I was a little worried that the camera guys might block our view, but it wasn't a big problem. Besides, there was always the GIGANTIC FRIGGING jumbotron above the ring showing all the action. Sometimes, I'd catch myself watching it instead of the live action, but I'd make myself look away. I was there to watch live fights, not TV. I imagine it's useful for the upper level seats. Those seats were packed, by the way, although there were patches of empty seats in the lower section. The place was pretty full though, at least for the main event.

Rounds felt longer in person, for some reason. It also seemed like the card moved along really quickly, with no time wasted between fights. Things slowed down as the night wore on. Zewski's first-minute KO sort of messed the pacing of things a bit.

In the first fight we saw, heavyweight Bogdan Dinu won by stoppage. The referee waved it off without a count right as the guy took a knee, but nobody complained. After that, I guess the TV coverage started up. I thought Mejia had beaten Bouchard despite being knocked down. The slowly growing crowd gave Schiller Hyppolite a hearty welcome, and he was a confident and charismatic crowd-pleaser. But the crowd pleasing-est moment of the night came when he was knocked on his ass. Make that "overconfident".

I don't think I have anything to add to what you guys observed in the rest of the fights - Gauthier-Guerrero was the fight of the night, Zewski's KO was impressive, albeit against a guy who was clearly well above his true fighting weight ie he looked fat.

The Bute fight has been much discussed elsewhere. I scored it 115-113. The crowd was nervous and worried, but the last round was epic, the entire arena was standing, and there was no controversy over the decision.

I have to say the best part about this occasion was the unified support of the entire crowd behind Bute. I don't know if they showed this on TV, but when they played the montage of every one of his wins, the place was going absolutely crazy, and then ... a B&W shot of the last fight, and the ref raising Froch's hand, and there was an immediate chill. Then many clips of Bute training hard, and he said something in French, wild cheers, he enters to "Where the Streets Have No Name", and it was a total frenzy.

The only thing I felt like I missed out on was that ... well, I don't know French, and most of the fans were yelling things out in French. I think I would have enjoyed knowing what everybody was saying. The only other negative was that our seats were in the middle of a long row, so it was really hard to get in and out and sitting in one place for four hours was sort of difficult.

Anyway, that's about it. Sorry, I wrote more than I expected. It's hard for us to get up there because our kids aren't quite old enough to stay home by themselves overnight. But I'll definitely try to get to more fights in the future.

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