This FanPost appeared originally at fellow SBNation site Head Kick Legend.
This afternoon at the world famous Madison Square Garden, two combat sports held court in advance of their upcoming events. The first article I'll be writing this evening is actually about a sport that probably most of us know less about than we do our own precious MMA (and to some extents other stand-up fighting sports such as kickboxing or Muay Thai), boxing. The world's most popular combat sport (still), is the sweet science, and this was evidenced by the mostly-filled room for what was basically promoters and trainers and fighters all reading their own prepared statements. Don't get me wrong, most of the people involved stayed around, but their time was immediately snapped up by people with microphones, lights and cameras much larger than mine.
Despite the mostly rehearsed nature of the event, it isn't like there was nothing to report on. In news that should strike no one as a surprise, ______ gonna ______, and in this case promoters gonna promote: in the timespan of a minute, Lou DiBella used the phrases World War Three twice, Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots and two variations of "bomb". Magomed Abdusalamov, the heavyweight prospect fighting on the untelevised undercard, would be holding court later that night at a lovely restaurant out in Brooklyn and there was also a pub crawl immediately following the press conference (which ended like six hours ago). Gotta love an Irish guy fighting on St. Patrick's Day with Corona as the chief sponsor. Side note, the corned beef, cabbage and boiled potato that was free at the event was quite good, as were the free Coronas (a winning combination if there ever was one). They always say that the best meal is a free meal, so my thanks to everyone at MSG for the best meal I had all day.
Mediocre humor aside, it was good for a relative neophyte like myself to learn more about the individuals involved and to find some interesting tidbits about those that I did know some about (Martinez). Here are some interesting bits of mostly Jeopardy trivia gleaned from this afternoon's proceedings.
- Macklin had his first fight on St. Patrick's Day in Birmingham in 1994, and gets his shot at the #1 middleweight 18 years later to the day.
- Sergio Martinez has spent a lot of time and effort to combat bullying and women's abuse over the past few years. He's spent a fair amount of time visiting safe houses and shelters without the media for obvious reasons (privacy of the abused), but again, as one of the promoters promoted, this isn't like some fighters handing out turkeys on Thankgiving (a thinly veiled shot at Mayweather).
- Undercard fighter Don George is one of the only Greek-Cypriot fighters in the world. A point which I brought up to Lou DiBella afterwards, and asked if he had no love for Mike Zambidis. Lou did acknowledge the great Iron Mike, so score one small victory for proponents of fighting with kicks as well as punches.
- Sergio Martinez fought Antonio Margarito (notorious for getting caught with loaded gloves) back in 2000 and his pay for that fight was $900. So much for that notion that all boxers make a mint.
- The super middleweight bout between Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez and Don "da Bomb" George might be the first in history between two fighters with identical "bomb" nicknames.
On an interesting side note, DiBella, upon talking with a pair of Irish reporters gave the following lovely bit of promoter hype: "Freddie [Roach] is full of sh*t, Macklin would f*cking knock [Julio] Chavez out. Knock him the f*ck out. And Chavez could take his magic juice and he'd still knock him the f*ck out. I didn't say that."
Those of you who are bigger boxing fans than I can get more mileage out of that, but really there's not much else to be gleaned here but cool sound bytes like that and sponsor shoutouts such as La cerveza mas fina, and Goodfellas pizza. A thoroughly enjoyable time, and I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I managed to get.
Don George with eye candy
Photos by Cory Braiterman