By Donald “Braveheart” Stewart
It’s a curious thing this boxing malarkey. Us fans sit and watch the boxers come into the ring to fanfare and fury and then they fight for their lives – literally – before embracing afterwards like they were just introduced at a family event and have never seen each other before. I suppose in a way they never have.
Before the fight, it could be argued that they were different people. Their behavior and their means of selling the fight would suggest that were mortal and sworn enemies. Like the Montagues and Capulets in Romeo and Juliet we get the feud fuelled with punches thrown in press conference like Bellew and Haye, stare downs that have mutterings between them that end with press releases like Spence, JR. and Brook and even biting in a pre-match brawl as when Mike Tyson got a hold of Lennox Lewis.
It’s circus, pantomime and pure entertainment.
When it is all over the hugging and the mutual respect, the “I have always admired this guy” and the it was a pleasure and honor to share a ring with this legend” sound hollow and unfortunate. But we love it.
The hype that precedes any event is something to which we hang and hanker after it; well most of the time.
There are times when the calling out of one fighter by another can be difficult for us because we do not like to see the unpleasantness. The suggestion that people will go home in ambulances or be truly hurt, are damaging to the cause of watching real pugilism and real fighting. It leaves most of us cold and it leaves most of us fearful as real tragedies have come visiting us in the British boxing scene over the last few years.
Any truly awful statements come back to haunt the principals as boxers lose respect after the fight as their words before it, have the harsh reality of a cold light shone upon them and they are seen as they truly mean without the heat of battle to obfuscate them.
For us fans though they still remain pure circus.
Until that is someone from outside the sport decides he is going to be more of a badass than anyone in our sport. Someone form another discipline deciding that he shall not only come into our rings and our domain but take on the best to show the rest how it ought to be done is a challenge.
It is a challenge that others seek to meet. There are some who would stand up to any challenge because they wish to defend the sport of boxing against any pretender. That is especially true if the pretender seems to think that the trash talking of the others in the sport are mere amateur verbals, that need a true professional to show them how it is done.
Boxing requires respect for what it does and achieves, but when Conor McGregor 0-0-0, 0 KO’s, opens his overused mouth to show us what is in his under used brain, it grates. We don’t like it. Floyd Mayweather, JR., 49-0, 26 KO’s, has now responded in kind and we are now going to get that car crash that they wish us to see.
The figures stack up. It shall be a monumental fight. There shall be auctions for the TV rights, there shall be media types elbowing each other out the way to get interviews, previews and overviews out there. The oxygen of publicity is what makes this fight – not styles, not the best v the best, not any form of boxing and pugilistic sense.
It should never happen…
At least it should never happen if McGregor does not take a route to it that involves some boxing. In a ring. With a fighter. Someone who has fought before. And not sparring with novices, even Michael Conlan does not count. Paulie Malignaggi offered and McGregor remained silent.
Mind you it would make McGregor’s career. It would pay out to him enough money that he would be able to retire from all contact sports and sit with his feet up and his mouth wide open spouting things at will from the fireside. It would not add anything to Mayweather, JR.’s career apart from adding another win to take him past Rocky Marciano’s record.
I suppose that means I think Mayweather, JR. will win. Then again lots of people thought that David Haye would blast Tony Bellew out the water and he didn’t. But Bellew had a career in the sport; a pedigree; and a solid record. McGregor does not even seem to have an understanding of the sport nor a respect for it. If he takes on the challenge and goes into the ring then I hope once he is out of it he is able to enjoy it and does not end up as a Nick Blackwell, a Michael Watson or worse a Mike Towell…