I am The Boxing Fan Man. Just a normal guy who got sucked into this savage sport and became an avid watcher and reader of the sweet science. Like many other hardcore fans I have spent an almost unhealthy amount of time pondering fights and fighters and forming opinions on them. Sometimes I have really passionate opinions on what’s going on in the sport but no one to share my opinions with. My friends are casual followers but prefer football (soccer to any american readers) and my wife does her best to stay interested but after the initial 30 seconds of conversation I see her eyes glaze over and her attention focusing towards the cute kitten videos on her Facebook. So this is the reason for this blog; to share my thoughts on boxing with people who are just as absorbed by this sport as I am.
I was introduced to boxing at a young and impressionable age, during a golden age for British boxing watching wacky, colourful and wonderful characters such as Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Frank Bruno and Naseem Hamed all of which were shown FREE on ITV’s ‘The Big Fight’. For a 6 year old kid, the tension, build up and clash of ego’s that preceded the ‘Eubank-Benn’ rivalry was an example of two polar opposites with Benn as the tough guy man of the people fighting against Eubank the arrogant, monocle wearing snob that turned his nose up at the man he deemed beneath his lofty stature. It was engaging, exciting and enthralling and when they entered the ring what unfolded was combustible, edge of your seat, entertainment. This was reality television at it’s best. The judges involved weren’t the preening, posing, self serving ego-maniacs half wits that we are now so used to watching on Saturday nights. No! This was reality television where men step into the squared circle willing to give their lives so that the public could have a small slice of Saturday entertainment. The type of reality TV where the judges can be made redundant by a split second moment of brutal brilliance.
During my teenage years my interest in boxing waned and my focus was aimed more towards the opposite sex. I spent more time back then bursting the acne on my face and creating “cool hairstyles” to impress which ever girl I had a crush on at the time. But as I started university and made new friends I started to have a passing interest in it again. Ricky Hatton really captured my imagination as someone who lived in the next town to me, he had an endearing and interesting personality but was also someone that would lay it all on the line in the ring and wore his heart on his sleave both in and out of the ring. Joe Calzaghe was beginning to become recognised as the real deal in his division and the popularity and super-stardom of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was snowballing at a rapid rate. This was a really great time to follow boxing again. I began reading various blogs and websites for news and journalistic pieces and have done so religiously ever since.
Boxing is not perfect and has it’s fair share of bad press. It can be described as the wild west of sport and if it was a movie it would be ‘The Good The Bad and The Ugly’. If there was ever a fight that typifies this, it was Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan. The momentum of the fight switched to and from each fighter, both exchanging heavy, hurtful punches whilst bringing anxiety and excitement to disbelieving fans. Then there was the dramatic and tragic ending to the fight which reminded people of the risks that these warriors place themselves under every time they get into the ring, as McClellan fell unconscious at the end of the fight with the injuries leading to him being disabled and requiring 24 hour care for the rest of his life. Don King’s behaviour brought back the reality that boxing is a business and as his cash cow fell to his knees, blinking hard and looking disoriented, Don can be seen yelling “FUCKING GET UP”
This sport is not perfect it can be good, bad and ugly all at the same time but you know what? I bloody love it!