There are those who call boxing "The Sweet Science." It's a martial art, and it was a big deal all over again this past weekend. Mayweather versus Pacquiao? You may have heard something about it. Kids at school were talking about it. Fellow teachers and parents were talking about it. It was a great big deal. The anticipation was not unlike that before a Super Bowl or World Series. It was for the championship, after all. I was asked by any number of people what I thought the outcome would be. I said I wouldn't know. I don't follow boxing. Or rather I don't actively follow any of the martial arts. I am aware of Ultimate Fighters like Mac Danzig and Diego Sanchez. Not because I have watched any of their bouts, but because they are available on Al Gore's Internet. There are people beating each other up for the paying public to watch and cheer on most every night of the week. I find myself drawn to sporting events of most every stripe, but I don't watch mixed martial arts or boxing. Not anymore.
There was a time, way back when. The kids in my neighborhood would gather in the basement of the family that lived across the street from us to watch the heavyweights: Frazier, Foreman, and The Greatest. The Greatest was Muhammad Ali. The former Cassius Clay, whom my mother and father met years before on the streets of Denver when he was an up and comer. In the fight game, that is. It was on one particular Saturday afternoon when ABC Sports brought yet another title defense by Heavyweight Champion of the World Ali against someone not nearly as indomitable or verbose as he was. It was this portion of his career that he developed the "rope-a-dope" strategy, in which he would wait out his opponent by covering up and hanging on the edge of the ring. It made for very boring fights, especially from a guy who used to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Now it wasn't so much floating and stinging as standing around and waiting for the other guy to get real tired. Tired enough to let his guard down and get popped a couple times in the head. It was sometime during the late rounds that Mrs. Across the street neighbor leaned forward in her seat, adjacent to the TV and spoke for one of the few times I could remember: "That Muhammad Ali is one good looking man." Stunned silence from the rest of the room, no one more silent than Mr. Across the street neighbor, save for the steam coming out of his ears.
I wasn't invited back for any more heavyweight fights. Or bantam or fly. Or middle. Somewhere in there, Ali retired. So did Sugar Ray Leonard. And a great many more. I didn't watch them, either. I know some of their names. I just don't know enough to talk about it. Or write this blog.