Yesterday, Thursday, was Valentine's Day, which is supposed to be the day of passion, at least according to the chocolate and greeting card merchants. Friday night is supposed to be a night of fights on American television, so perhaps all the passion was spent the previous day, as the main events on both Telefutura and ESPN2 hardly made anybody fall in love.
On Telefutura, Mike Alvarado won a decision over Jesus Rodriguez, while over on ESPN2's declining Friday Night Fights series, Delvin Rodriguez (presumably no relation to Jesus -- Rodriguez, that is) won a decision over 41-year-old Troy Browning. ESPN2's announcer Joe Tessitore called Delvin's performance "workmanlike," a term regurgitated on Fightnews. That’s p.r. speak for mundane, uneventful, and ordinary. Nobody would ever call the measured performances of the victors tonight passionate.
I kept the TV on ESPN2 after FNF finished, mainly because I was staying home for the evening (sorry, my darlin’ bartenders), and planned to watch some other shows later, including perhaps the Pavlik-Taylor 2 preview show and their first fight, which I had taped from HBO 1 and 2 while I was out hunting for salads. But Bowe-Holyfield 1, from 1992, came on next on ESPN2, so I kept watching.
This fight, of course, was Ring’s fight of the year, with the tenth round being named the round of the year. It pitted two then-undefeated heavyweights, both Americans and both former Olympians, against one another for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
Not only does stating the backgrounds and credentials of these heavyweight fighters sound so dated today, but the fight itself, although held just 15 years and two months ago, seems like it took place in a forgotten, distant era. Constant toe-to-toe action, jabs and body shots and uppercuts, with a few low blows and head butts thrown in, all made this a memorable affair.
Heavyweights? Americans? World champions? Passion, technique, and power? On what planet?
Saturday is Valuev-Liakhovich in Germany. There is a free, legal live stream of this fight, courtesy of the German network ARD, at: http://www.mdr.de/boxen-im-ersten/5071711.html. For us Yanks, it starts at 4:10 pm EST/1:10 PM PST. For everyone, don’t expect the passion to start at all.
Pavlik-Taylor 2 will likely have passion, as did their first encounter. But these Americans are middleweights, or, for this fight, middleweights plus four pounds. The creeping decline of American boxing has not yet hit all the weight classes, yet.
Next week is Klitschko-Ibragimov, two heavyweight titleholders from the former Soviet Union, and also two former Olympians. I expect a tactical battle where hopefully the expected lack of passion is compensated for, at least partially, by a steady, disciplined attack by one or both combatants.
If not, at least all these great old fights are pretty accessible. Then every day can be some sort of holiday, even if you can’t have chocolate and think greeting cards are part of a contrived commercial ritual.