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Posted by:
Shark Jumper Jr
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If you're of the age that I am, you remember it well. I was young at the time, but old enough that it made an impression. It made a very lasting impression. Perhaps this is the reason - some people find my continued refusal to embrace MMA and ultimate fighting puzzling. I simply can't. As a kid, my step-father and brother-in-law were huge influences on my life. Both of them were boxing fans. This was nothing unusual in the time - the 70's and early 80's. Boxing was big back then, not just a carnival sideshow as it is now. My step-dad, being a tough Irishman from the streets of NY, always preferred the heavyweights. I remember him taking me to the closed circuit presentation of Holmes-Cooney - how proud he was of Cooney - a fellow New Yorker. Disappointed we left the Events Center that night, but what an incredible night of boxing it had been.

My brother-in-law on the other hand, was more typical of young men of that day. A high school dropout who worked a tough as nails job in the oilfields and made more money than I thought possible at the time, he always went against the grain. He actually bought some boxing gloves for me, and (when my older sister allowed) we would go off to the basement and he'd teach me some boxing basics. Honestly, looking back he was a total novice who had maybe taken one actual boxing lesson, but to 10/11 year old me it was the exact instruction that I wanted, what I needed. We were some of the first on our block to have HBO, and I watched boxing every chance I could. My favorite boxer was of course, the golden boy, Sugar Ray Leonard. My brother-in-law, also it goes without saying, was a huge fan of the original macho man - Roberto Duran. And so these fights were GIGANTIC in our household. The be all and end all - the Raiders vs Broncos only bigger. Bragging and taunting rights were very much in play.

I definitely identified more with this weight class - the welterweights. Although tall for my age, I was damn skinny. On the screen, I couldn't tell they weren't tall, all I knew is they weren't heavyweights but they were tough and no one to mess with. Everything that called to my heart as a young kid trying to make his way through the gangsta neighborhoods of suburban Wyoming. Ok, it looks that way to you when you're that age. Everybody is against you, no matter where you grow up. My experience was no exception.

The first fight was so traumatic. I never expected Duran to come out like that, dominating Leonard in the early rounds. The fight went on and I thought Sugar Ray was coming back. Surely, he would win out at the end of the night. But then, as the final scorecards were read at the end, the worse thing that could happen became reality - I lost a $5 (big money at the time) bet to my brother-in-law, and much worse, I would have to hear him crow about Duran's victory. A terrible, terrible night that night was.

ooh, scrunch-butt ;)

Finally, after so many months of torture, the rematch was upon us. Everything was setup for Leonard to win. Watching the excellent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the subject this evening, it's surprising to me I didn't see it then. There was no way Leonard would lose that fight. But then the weirdness happened. "No Mas". It forever will go down as one of the most bizarre moments in boxing. I felt elation that Leonard was victorious, but it was hollow. It never rang fully true. Who the hell quits in the middle of a fight? My brother-in-law was convinced of a fix. I was unable to use this for bragging purposes, and to this day no clear victory can be claimed. Do catch the re-run of this excellent show on ESPN if you can.

Drinking a Double IPA made by Steelhead tonight. I've been drinking Steelhead for over 20 years, they are hardly a "new" microbrew, but this is the first time I've tried their IPA offering. It's quite good, and compares nicely. As a "double-IPA" it's maybe a little on the lighter side, but it certainly holds up nicely to say for example a Stone regular IPA. And the price is very reasonable, as all of Steelhead's beers are. I'm enjoying it.

Have fun and drink good beer.

October 19, 2013  12:10 AM ET

Growing up I saw a couple of Ali fights. Thought his personality was a bit over the top, but was amazed at the show he put on.

But it was Mike Tyson who got me to into and out of watching boxing. From the towel cut into a poncho to the way he dominated fights, I thought he WAS boxing. When he flamed out, it coincided with the demise of the heavyweight challengers and I checked out for good.

Until I found MMA thru Kimbo. Yeah, I know he was a flash in the pan in MMA. I got tipped off by a buddy about his internet fights. The dude was an animal and when I saw he was fighting this weird combo of fighting/wrestling on Showtime, I was all in.

UFC might be the real deal to some, but I'm not totally sold yet.

October 19, 2013  12:11 AM ET

Oh yeah, the eye candy was nice, as usual.

October 19, 2013  12:23 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Growing up I saw a couple of Ali fights. Thought his personality was a bit over the top, but was amazed at the show he put on.But it was Mike Tyson who got me to into and out of watching boxing. From the towel cut into a poncho to the way he dominated fights, I thought he WAS boxing. When he flamed out, it coincided with the demise of the heavyweight challengers and I checked out for good.Until I found MMA thru Kimbo. Yeah, I know he was a flash in the pan in MMA. I got tipped off by a buddy about his internet fights. The dude was an animal and when I saw he was fighting this weird combo of fighting/wrestling on Showtime, I was all in.UFC might be the real deal to some, but I'm not totally sold yet.

Loved the early Tyson fights. He was a monster.

Just can't let boxing go though. The rolling around on the ground together - the wrestling element. I'm sorry, I can't accept that.

Long live the sweet science of Boxing.

 
October 23, 2013  07:07 AM ET

LOL at the scrunch butt line.

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