Sometimes a great fighter gets in the ring with an opponent with one hundredth of his skills. Sometimes that great fighter totally dominates the fight, hitting his hapless opponent with everything but the proverbial kitchen sink. And sometimes the overmatched fighter absorbs so much excessive punishment, he dies from the cumulative punches he absorbed that night in that ring.
Luckily, the later did not happen last night at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. But no thanks to a soiled laundry list of brave people, all of whom are unfit to serve in the sordid sport of boxing.
Itís was a typical HBO fight card. Two great champions against two guys who didnít belong on the same planet with them talent-wise, let alone in the same ring. The first fight was middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins again Syd Vanderpool, a southpaw stinkeroo with little or no boxing skills. The fight, a one-sided twelve round decision win by Hopkins, was a joke and an embarrassment. And thatís the nicest thing one can say about it.
The second "fight" matched Roy Jones Jr. -- selected by the Boxing Writers Association as the Fighter of the "Nineties" -- against under-talented and overly-brave Richard Hall. How Hall ever came to be ranked number one light heavyweight by the WBA became apparent when HBOís cameras ventured into Hallís dressing room before the fight. There in living color was Carl "Crud" King, the stepson of Don "Dung" King, and the bastard stepson of all boxing, standing in Hallís dressing room, obviously running the show. All that was missing was the stool and whip in Son of Dungís hand.
Crud King led Hall out of his dressing room toward the ring like the Romanís led the Christians out to the lions. Only the lions were infinitely more kind to the Christians than Roy Jones would be to Hall last night in the ring.
In the first round, Jones dropped the gangly Hall twice, and only the bell saved Hall from a quick knockout. Then a strange thing happened. Jones stopped fighting. Instead of ending the fight like a true champion should, Jones toyed with Hall for the next nine rounds; inflicting cruel and inhuman punishment, instead of knocking Hall out and saving Hallís brain cells from being irreversibly scrambled.
Round after round Hall went back to his corner, his face progressively more swollen and his heart progressively getting bigger. Aaron Snowdell, Hallís chief cornerman and trainer and Dung Kingís handpicked house trainer, kept exhorting Hall on, like Hall had a real chance of winning this fight. Then with an extreme amount of bravery, Snowdell would push Hall out for the next round, right into another three minutes of fistic mayhem.
From the fifth round on, HBOís threesome of George Foreman, Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant repeatedly said the fight should be stopped before Hall got injured badly, and possibly permanently. One time between rounds, Foreman spotted Snowdell with a towel in his hands. Foreman quipped, "Throw the damn towel in, will ya?"
Referee Wayne Kelly looks like the typical Blarney Stone bartender, whose most important decision in life is whether to serve his customerís scotch straight up or on the rocks. Kelly had ample opportunities to stop this slaughter himself. But like a bartender serving another drink to an intoxicated customer, Kelly let the fight continue, way past the point of human cruelty.
In the 11th round, Hall was taking such a beating, Merchant said, "The ref Kelly should be pistol whipped for letting this fight continue."
Seconds later, Jones cornered Hall against the ropes and unleashed a bombardment of punches that forced Kelly to save Hallís life.
After the fight, Merchantís first interview was with Kelly. Merchant said, Why didnít you stop the fight sooner?
Kelly answered with a straight face, "He (Hall) was in the fight. He was very resilient. He was clearly losing the fight so that's why I stopped it when I did. He was in the fight by throwing punches back and when I did stop the fight he objected. His corner didn't but he did."
Hall was in last nightís fight, like General Custer was in that nasty squabble with those pesky Indians. And with that answer alone, Kelly should be banned for life from refereeing a boxing match. Kellyís more suited being the third man in a fight-to-the-death Toughman Tournament.
As for Crud and Dung King, and their unholy marriage with the WBA, WBC, IBF and Showtime and HBO, may a pox befall them all, lest we again be forced to witness another person being slaughtered the way Roy Jones slaughtered Richard Hall last night on HBO.