This is an article I’ve been thinking about writing for a while now, and after reading tylerj19’s farewell post, finally decided to sit down and give this a real crack.
As a 17 year old in 2009 I unashamedly was caught up in the sudden surge of popularity of MMA and UFC, which led me to trawling YouTube for videos. Which is where I stumbled upon a boxing highlights video, which contained the Maidana – Morales fight. To the dismay of some of you who might read this it was a Max Kellerman quote that cut right to the heart of me, it was along the lines of “This sport is savage but it can be so beautiful when you see greatness, not just the remnants but real life in Morales’ greatness here not just his technique, certainly not what he has left physically, it’s the fighting heart.”
I took no pleasure in watching this fight unfold truth be told, but in a somewhat bizarre I found it compelling and was full of sheer admiration for both fighters. Already this year we’ve had two absolute brawls, Rios – Alvarado II and Bradley – Provodnikov. Whilst watching the Bradley – Provodnikov fight, once again I found myself not enjoying the spectacle, but rather captivated by both fighters resilience. If anything I found it disturbing the amount of punishment Bradley took, and upon learning that he was slurring his speech and had swelling of the brain, didn’t have any desire to watch him fight again. I was disturbed when Pacquiao was knocked out by Marquez, my initial celebrations were instantly halted realising there was a chance he might not get up again. After watching Cotto – Trout, seeing intimate footage of Cotto’s son crying and Cotto in vain trying to reassure him he was alright, his wife telling him “I’m tired, this hurts me.” “It’s the only thing I know. What else can I do?”
The reality is that fighters make a choice to fight, another reality to consider though is that boxing is every bit a poor man’s sport as it’s made out to be. Cotto’s succinct reply to his wife makes me think although he strives to be the best, his primary function as a boxer is to provide for his family. I feel like this is the case for many boxers, I look at someone like Leo Santa Cruz, a world champion, all he wants to do is buy a bigger house for his family and look after his brothers medical bills. With this considered I still find little solace in these facts. Unless you happen to have George Chuvalo’s seemingly indestructible physiological traits, boxing will inevitably take years off your life, both in quality and quantity. Michael Katsidis’ recent bad medical check-up, is a testament to this.
This last weekend we saw a fight between the two premier bantamweights in the world. Two fighters with otherworldly physical prowess and boxing intelligence. Some in the media and on BLH called this fight a stinker, to each their own. I loved every second of this fight, the craft, the artistry, the discipline, once again in awe and admiration of the manifestation of both years of work combined with physical talents, from BOTH fighters.
I’ll never be able to fully reconcile my love for this sport, which runs deeper every single day I read about it more, learn about it more. There will always be the dark disturbing side to the sport which is outshone by the light of the immediate spectacle for most, but the health of fighters are never far from my mind. Boxing will never bring me joy, perhaps the triumph of a fighter, but the act of boxing itself will never do so.
I realise this is a pretty disjointed piece of writing, but I kind of just started thinking then writing and when I thought of something relevant I just jammed it in there. But I wrote this as a fire starter for conversation on why we enjoy this sport so much, and because I felt it writing this more than my biology essay.