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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

There will not be an asterix.

Warning. To all  you amazing folks who read the gaming posts on this blog, this is not an RPG post.


This is a post about boxing. I need to say I am not a boxing expert, but I am a boxing fan, I have been a boxing fan since I was young and would watch matches from my grandfathers couch.
As an adult I understand the endemic and historic corruption in the  sport. I also have a fair grasp of the sociological and economic issues that underpin the sport. Its dirty, it always will be, and it always has been.

I still love boxing.
It can also be as close to pure competitive poetry as anything else we have to offer.

Barbaric?  outdated? outmoded? sure, absolutely.

Go on you tube, watch Micky ward vs Emmanuel Augustus. Come back and tell me those guys didn't leave it all in the ring, that there was not  respect at the end of the fight. There's something about that kind of purity that give me chills, every time.
Watch Tyson Loose to  Buster Douglas. In the context of boxing history that was not a fight it  was the culmination, the final scene of a Greek tragedy.

This post is not about that feeling however. This post is about the rock I get in my gut when I read about  the  recent "fight of the  century" involving Floyd Mayweather and  Manny Pacquiao.

Some things, are bigger than sports, and Floyd Mayweather' history of domestic abuse is one of those things.
You can read the police report here.
That Floyd is abusive is not surprising, sports, and life are full of abusers that do horrible things then get up and go to work the next day.

Years from now there will not be an asterix next to Mayweather's perfect record. It will say 47 wins 0 losses 26 knock outs.
It will sit there with Rocky Marciano's 49 and 0
People will talk about if Floyd was one of the best ever.

Sport is as much about what came before as what's happening  now. It's the conversations I heard my father and my Grandfather have about obscure pitchers that my grandfather remembered from the 30's. It's remembering that George Mikan solidified the center position. It's the Mohammad Ali Vs Mike Tyson argument, and  knowing that Archie Moore was underrated.

Sport history provides a common continuum that we as a society can have friendly discussions about when pulling our hair out over politics has worn thin. (The role of sports in society is a huge topic well beyond the scope of some guys D&D blog.)

It's 2015 and the internet information  monolith means we know a lot more about our sports stars now than we ever could before.


That for me is where the disconnect begins.
Floyd Mayweather beat Manny Pacquiao the other night. I watched the fight the next day through some pirated youtube video. It was clear to me that Manny had lost a step and Floyd was well, Floyd. A pitch perfect consummate defensive boxer. Perhaps the best at that style ever.

He is also a horrible person, who beat his wife while his body guard / friend held back his young son.

There will be no asterix for that.

If he had cheated? Like MarK McGwire had in baseball or Lance Armstrong had in cycling, sure there would be an asterix. There will not be for beating his wife, because (That's out side the ring, that's personal.)
That's where it ends, cheating like Pete Rose betting on baseball effects the line in Vegas, cheating makes bets questionable, cheating is a money issue.

A woman getting beat in front of her kids? Not a money issue.

Floyd Mayweather stands to make $180 to 200 Million dollars from that fight, Mann P. over $100 mill when it is all said and done. That means the promoters and other business interests are also making bank, and  Vegas..... Vegas was through the roof.

As long as this kind of huge money can be generated by sports the things that go on off the  field will only be internet foot notes, those of us  that said "I will never give that man a dollar of my money to watch him fight." are drowned in a sea of PPV buys.

There will never be a note after  Floyd's name that says 47 & 0 (* Served time in prison in 2012 for domestic violence.) Just like there never will be one for  because Mike Tyson concerning his rape conviction. Or any others for any number of sports figures who were not only  human of the field but flawed beyond the average.

Do me this favor.
Assuming you are young now, think ahead years form now, when you are an old person. If you find yourself sitting at a table  having a cup of coffee with your son-in-law and talking about "the best ever" and boxing happens to be the sport your talking about.
Add the asterix.  Say, "Floyd was a heck of a boxer but a total piece of shit as a man, so forget him." Your grand kid might be on the couch listening, and damn it he or she should know the difference.

Thank you for reading.
-Mark

 (Last point and I do this sometimes, I apologize if this disclaimer sounds stand-offish. I don't write opinion pieces often, but when I do I like to be clear. This is my opinion. If you don't share it  I am totally cool with that, there are often many sides to a story, and I will respect yours. I wont engage in an internet squabble over opinions.)

Some of the sources read before writing this:
Some stats taken from.
Gambling and sports form BBC
CNN breaks down the  Numbers at the bottom of this article.
boxing Junkie
ESPN breaks down the  Money. (Espn your web-sight is a mess)

I highly recommend:
Boxing "a cultural history, Kasia Boddy
At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing.
Anything ever by Burt Sugar.