I-Berg childhood pal and No Mas regular Kopper gets a few things off his chest in this report from Ringside (err…300 level) at the Garden last night. Photo by our man Ben Younger who actually was up in the foldings.
I have been to 2 or 3 other notable fights live in my life. Of those I had been to, the Calzaghe/Jones fight was certainly the most tenuous of importance or relative significance. In the grand scheme of things, did anyone other than the nation of Wales really care who won this fight? My overwhelming dislike of Roy Jones Jr. and the way he conducted his career, full of pansy-assed mandatory challengers and a general uwillingness to fight anyone who could hurt him made my loyalties in this fight a foregone conclusion. It also exposed to me for the first time how someone’s seat really influences how one sees a fight. I was sitting in a relatively crappy seat. Row B of Section 334 in the Garden. It was pretty high up, and watching the ring and the jumbo screen pretty much showed the fighters at an even size, so there was little advantage to watching the screen. I soon appreciated Kellerman commentary and found myself believing Calzage up by 3 rounds with 2 to go. Turns out all 3 judges scored it a blowout and I felt stupid. What I felt walking out of there was that I pretty much wasted $250 and boxing as a whole needs to do something to get people like me back into the arenas.
This undercard was awful. I was rooting hard for No Mas fav Dmitriy Saliita, but he ended up looking like some boxer who was looking to outpoint from the very beginning. I hate watching fights and in the 3rd round realize that there’s no way we’ll see a knockout. Sorry Dmitriy, but you didn’t win me with your ring savvy tonight. The 2nd undercard had a dude fighting who had lost 19 effing times. I don’t care that he’s fighting some New Yorker who is 19-2, but I didn’t pay to see some schlub with a 35-19 record step into the ring. That’s not even an ESPN fight, let alone a HBO PPV fight. The fact that I thought the 19 loss dude should have won, but ended up losing a split decision didn’t even matter. Those were 50 minutes of my life HBO can’t give back to me. The last undercard was a Zab Judah fight. I will never root for him, as I had tickets to the Moseley/Judah fight in Vegas that was cancelled bedause Judah fell through a shower glass pane, obivously training hard in the shower for the fight. While I wouldn’t want to go so far to say he wasn’t alone in the shower, as I don’t know that, how many people injure themselves alone in the shower?
No one in the arena cared much for the 3 undercard fights either, as it was easily a 70/30 crowd favoring Calzaghe. I personally was rooting for him. After a shaky first round, I had him winning most of the rounds in the fight as it seemed Jones was phoning it in. But it was difficult to tell how many of Calzaghe’s punches were landing from Section 334. There’s nothing I can say about the fight that someone more qualified or learned will say themselves in some other forum. What I will say was that 4 guys in kilts got arrested in the mens room halfway through the Judah fight for smoking in the handicapped stall in the men’s room off gate 76 onto the 300 level. I wonder what it was like to travel from Wales to see your hero fight, then end up getting arrested before the 1st round begins. Sucks for them. The Welsh were in fine voice, similar to a footie match, where every 15 seconds there was either a Calzaghe chant or a Wales chant beginning somewhere in the arena. The few Jones fans must have felt somewhat emasculated by the display, by both the opposing fans as well as their fighter. It was pretty sad. They also stopped serving beer halfway through the Judah fight. I felt ripped off. I needed a bit more anesthetic towards what I was seeing that night.
I’m glad that I can one day say I saw Roy Jones Jr. fight in person to my grandchildren, but from someone who paid the price, tonight wasn’t a great day for boxing. I had a good time but I would certainly think twice about forking over any serious dough for a non-title fight with such an iffy undercard. No wonder I showered when I got home at 1AM.