Boxing on TV
Boxing is a big thing with Aerial Telly. We generally keep it at arm’s length from the site because: i) you always hurt the ones you love and ii) it’s hardly ever on the fucking telly these days since it sold its soul to BSkyB and pay-per-view.
"it’s hardly ever on the fucking telly these days since it sold its soul to BSkyB and pay-per-view"
But as you know, Aerial Telly is no respecter of the Copy they call right. To us, open source means open season on every CD, movie, e-book, application we can lay our hands on and a piracy life on the bandwidth wave.
"this is either top-ranked fighters looking for their big shot at the title or meaningless turd jousts"
But terrestrial doesn’t always let us down. The newly sophisticated Channel 5 provides us with Fight Of The Week – a re-run of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
Depending on how charitable you’re feeling, this is either top-ranked fighters looking for their big shot at the title or meaningless turd jousts between bums who could barely bust a move, never mind someone’s ass.
The show has Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas ringside. Teddy Atlas trained Mike Tyson early in his career and once held a gun to Tyson’s head after the boxer "lewdly propositioned" a young girl close to Teddy. So he’s cool with us.
Teddy does good fight analysis and he maps out each boxer’s fight plan before the bell for the first-round rings. This is particularly helpful when most of the fighters are unknowns and are likely to stay that way. Teddy has a lot of ring smarts and decades of experience which makes the whole thing a lot more enjoyable.
The question will always arise: should we even be watching two men punching each other in the face until one of them falls over? We become so used to the spectacle that we forget that it’s an ethical minefield we’re walking through.
"We become so used to the spectacle that we forget that it’s an ethical minefield we’re walking through."
Boxing will always have its critics and it’s had to deal with a lot more recently in the wake of Leavander Johnson‘s death. Johnson was IBF world lightweight champion having won the title in June at his 4th attempt, at the age of 35.
Johnson came up against hard punching Mexican Jesus Chavez for his first title defence. From early on in the bout it was clear this was not going to be an easy defence. Johnson fell way behind on the scorecards and it soon became clear that he would need a knockout to win and equally clear that he no longer possessed the strength to do that.
In the break between the 10th and 11th rounds, the doctor came to check on the fighter’s condition. Johnson’s trainer, his father Bill, assured him his boy was ready to carry on. Legendary trainer Emanuel Steward, co-commentating for HBO, called for the fight to be stopped at this stage.
"there’s something slightly distasteful about how they effortlessly slip into thoughts-and-prayers mode after one of their number has just beaten another to death"
As the 11th round began, Chavez immediately waded into the exhausted Johnson. The fight was finally stopped 37 seconds into the 10th round after a flurry of several unanswered punches from Chavez. Although Johnson was able to reach his dressing room unaided, he soon collapsed due to bleeding and swelling on his brain. He died five days later.
Cue much soul-searching from the boxing community – there’s something slightly distasteful about how they effortlessly slip into thoughts-and-prayers mode after one of their number has just beaten another to death.
But boxing is a fundamentally screwed up sport. Those of us who call ourselves fans are complicit in every death as is every fighter, trainer, promoter and, indeed, the deceased himself.
Whether it’sGerald McClellan blind and deaf having his nappy changed by his sisters 24-7 or Leavander still clutching his belt as he’s lowered into the ground, boxing will continue to have these tragedies until a few centuries down the line somebody wises up and bans it.