I remember that when I was a kid, my family never missed the Friday Night Fights. They were sponsored by Gillette and by Brylcreem. I can still sing the jingles. I have no idea why my family, myself included, was so enamored of such a brutal sport, or why—even to this day—I still enjoy watching two guys beat each other senseless. I stopped questioning it a long time ago; I’ve accepted the dichotomy of the Peacenik Boxing Fan.
Every time I see a good fight (if any fight can be good) I think about my mother. After I moved to Vermont, I used to drive over to her place on Friday nights to watch the fights with her. Coffee. Cigarettes. Boxing.
I have a photograph of her in a shadowbox in my office at home. Every once in a while, if there’s a particularly hard-fought bout on the TV, I get up and angle it toward the screen so she can have a better view.
Last week there was a re-broadcast of a vicious clash between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo. I guess it was a good thing that the referee stopped it in the middle of the 10th round, although the crowd was angry because, even though he stood no chance of winning and was taking quite a beating, Angulo was still putting up a pretty good fight.
I think that if I’d been at my mother’s place we might have debated a little, but I’m reasonably sure we would have agreed it was a great fight while it lasted.
She’s been gone quite a long time now. It’s funny what you miss.