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Editorial - Rinsing Off The Mouthpiece
By this time of year, the happy horseshit of the holidays has usually
driven the Ol' Spit Bucket into his habitual, Festivus O' Funk ... But this
year is different. Even though the Repug-Lick-Cans have committed the first
(of many to come) Heists Of The New Millennium - & NFL Football has devolved
into a parody of parity & CNN announced that former
midshipman, Heisman Award winner & Dallas Cowboy quarterback, Roger Staubach,
is somehow being seriously considered by Shrub & his cadre of "Compassionate
Conservatism" cronies, as Secretary Of The Navy (???) - & crap music for
twisted teenage mutants rules the airwaves - & I still owe more money than I
own ... at least in a fistic sense, things be not that bad.
Y2K, year 2000, anno Domini, has been the best year that the sweet science
has had in decades. Not since the salad days of Muhammad's second reign in
the 70's & later, the early to mid-80's troika of Leonard-Hagler-Hearns, has
the squared circle been in such good shape.
Think about it - the universally recognized, Heavyweight Champion Of The
World, successfully defended his title three times, twice against consensus
#1 challengers. Can anybody tell me when that last time a heavyweight champ
did that? Yeah, well ... Off the top of what's left of my brain pan, I can't
come up with that answer either ...
Erik Morales & Marco Antonio Barrera engaged in one of the epic bouts in
the history of boxing. In The Bucket's view, their fight was not only the
fight of the year, but may very well end up being the fight of the decade.
Felix Trinidad rebounded from his tainted victory over Oscar De La Hoya,
to firmly establish himself as a flat out Hall Of Fame bound fighter.
Shane Mosley, with his immaculately impressive surgical strike against
Oscar De La Hoya, also established himself as a more than possible future
Down in the delta of the feather/jr. lightweight divisions, there is
heavy leather being slung by a consortium of ready-for-prime-time players
ranging from the aforementioned Marco Antonio Barrera & Erik Morales, to such
satisfying & intriguing warriors as The Prince, Acelino Freitas, Floyd
Mayweather, Diego Corrales & Joel Casamayor. Better yet, just a notch below
these stellar luminaries resides a solid stable of contenders, pretenders &
Until the over-hyped, early 90's heyday of Michael Carbajal, any division
below featherweight (unless it was an exceptional Mexican or Mexican-American
bantamweight fighting out of the Left Coast), existed in a black hole as far
as the media was concerned.
Today, we have lower division fighters like Johnny
Tapia, Paulie Ayala, Mark Johnson, Ricardo Lopez, Rosendo Alvarez & Mauricio
Pastrana, among others, who can mainline anybody's jones for a good fight.
All this & we may finally see the long needed (&
criminally neglected), resurgence of the middleweight divisions. With Roy
Jones dropping down to super-middle & a plethora of willing name opponents
ready to sacrifice their health & dignity for one damn good payday.
Isn't it about time that a flagship division of boxing reestablish itself?
S'anyways, The Manly Art ain't doing too bad. Starting in '99, us fans
have finally been thrown some real red meat fights, instead of the bonemeal
scraps we have grown wearily accustomed to. Unfortunately, in '99, all the
mega-fights landed with a resounding thud.
Eagerly anticipated matches like, Holyfield-Lewis & De La Hoya-Trinidad,
crash landed as financially burdensome wastes of time & the sport suffered,
despite years of "Big Fight" neglect.
But 2000 was a fight fans dream. All the BIG FIGHTS ('ceptin Lewis-Tua),
panned out, Big Time!
We be talking a fistic bonanza here, people. Even 2nd tier fights like,
Vargas-Quartey & Ayala-Tapia II, were sensational bouts. Yeah, we still got
the Leg-Iron Mike carnival & seamy sideshows like the Feds vs. IBF farce; but
hey, nobody, no institution, political movement, network, or your own
personal life, is within a long distance call of perfect ...
Perhaps the best & most important thing that has happened in 2000 for
boxing, is USA Today's surprisingly firm commitment to cover the sport this
year. & the choice of reporter for this task couldn't have been better. Dan
Rafael, the new guy on the beat, has been a marvel. His clear, concise views
& his obvious enthusiasm for the fight game has been a monsoon of fresh air,
compared to the cynical reportage that is par for the course for most major
dailys. Dan Rafael & USA Today's coverage are good indicators of the interest
& surprising health of our beloved sport.
Despite my own bad self & my less than inspirational
attitudes, Ya know, The Ol' Spit Bucket, can't complain - & y'all know, I
would if I could - but Boxing exists in this noir nether world that's all
about darkness ... & all the nefarious complications that can bring.
But this year was, boy howdy, sure different. The stars collided. Space
expanded. & a sliver of hope was carved out for the sweet science ... A
happenstance that all serious observers of the squared circle know occurs
only about every other generation or so ...
It's all good.
Or at least as good as something as basic, brutal & unforgiving as boxing
In closing I would like to turn on our readers to an excellent website &
a couple of books.
The website is IrishBoxingNews.com. This site is
sort of an Irish boxing version of the CBZ. Not only does it cover news but
has profiles on all the major Irish boxers in history. This is one great
site, check it out!
Finally there are two books by CBZ scribes that would make great stuffing
stuffers for tardy Christmas shoppers. Tom Gerbasi, my stalwart associate
editor has published a boxing book entitled, "Ring Ramblings", that is a must read for any serious fight fan.
Joe Bruno, our iracible pit bull of a reporter, has written a noir serial
killer mystery, "Angel Of Death", a chilling book that should please any
So that's all folks, stay healthy & enjoy the New Year! Wail! is going to
take a hiatus but we'll be back in February.