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Friday, June 12, 2015



Championship fight comes to Somers! Well, it didn't actually come all the way here; it made it as far as Vegas, and cable television did the rest. I watched the big fight with some Somers buddies. It cost our host an arm and a leg for the pay-per-view subscription, but we propped him up with a bag of Doritos so that he could see. There was no shortage of action: well-placed jabs, posturing, jockeying for position and hurling of insults.... Then luckily somebody remembered to turn on the TV.

The feed began at 6:00PM, so they essentially had six hours to kill until the main event. Boxing is not like team sports, where you have a lot of people to interview. There are only two contestants, and by 6:20 we had begun to realize how fruitful it is to spend that much time with two people who have been punched in the head nonstop for almost three decades.

Finally it was time for the celebrated rivals to make their way to the ring. Manny Pacquiao looked fierce, ferocious and focused as approached the stage, taking some practice cuts along the way. He was all business and no-nonsense, unless you count Jimmy Kimmel jogging along behind him, wearing a goofy hat, tee shirt and gold chains. Floyd Mayweather, Jr., looked calm, carefree and cunning. Nothing could take away from the magnitude of the moment. Nothing except for the creepy Burger King inexplicably tagging along as part of the entourage. At least during the weigh-in, the Burger King could accurately count how many quarter-pounders it would take to bring you up to the proper weight class if you came in a little short.

After the Mexican National Anthem, the Philippine National Anthem, and probably a few other countries that I can't remember, Jamie Foxx performed the Star Spangled Banner. It was a wonderful duet between Mr. Foxx and his index finger, which he yet waved, following the progress of his voice up and down the scale at an alarming rate as it wended its way through the song, artfully avoiding every single note that was originally written. It was one of the many bombs bursting in air that evening.

The two combatants fought for a $100 million purse. At the time I thought it was a little much to spend on a purse, but when the fight was over, did you get a load of the belt that goes with it? Good luck fitting that thing through the belt loops in your pants. Boxing is a sport where you win the thing that you had to do to win it. In a championship fight, if you belt somebody enough times, you win a belt. Simple!

It was an interesting contest. There was some dancing, some feinting, some defiant head-shaking and about every 20 minutes or so a punch was thrown. It was a lot like every date I have ever been on. And yet, the conflict still seemed kind of polite, like no one really got hurt or even mildly inconvenienced. Even an hour after the fight was over, Pacquiao did not realize that he had lost, and seemed crestfallen at the news.

In the end, the man from Manila was no thrilla. No one floated like a butterfly, no one stung like a bee. No one even bit anyone's ear. But with the Burger King in your corner and $196 million dollars in your pocket, wouldn't you rather snack on an order of fries instead?

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